As parents, grandparents, caregivers, and loved ones, we would do anything we can to protect the children in our lives. Unfortunately, accidents can and do occur every day. Some of these accidents are avoidable, and there are ways you can reduce the risk of childhood injury. Implement these tips in your home, classroom, or anywhere children are present.
Avoid the “Scary Seven”
The CDC has identified the top reasons for childhood injury and treatment in local emergency departments. These include:
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of childhood injury. While defensive driving can help reduce your risk of being in an accident, there are also ways you can reduce the risk of injury should an accident occur. One of these is knowing how to install and use your child’s car seat – and make sure that they’re using the right model for their height and weight. Children should be in a rear-facing car seat until their second birthday and should remain in a five-point harness until they reach the maximum height or weight for their seat, whichever comes first. Kids aged four and over can use a high back booster seat.
Incorrect car seat installation can also lead to injury – visit your local police department and see if they can help you check your work.
Suffocation is still a leading cause of infant death in the United States. Advocacy groups recommend that parents follow the ABCs of putting their babies to sleep:
- Alone, without any bedding or crib bumpers
- On their backs, not on their tummies
- In a crib or bassinet with a firm mattress
A recent report found that kids get into their parent’s medicine cabinet around 500,000 times a year, mostly due to inattention. Lock any medicines far away from your child’s reach and seek immediate medical attention if you notice any missing pills or medicines.
Drowning is a leading cause of death in children under the age of five, as these tots do not understand their capabilities and limitations. Teach your children how to swim at a young age, and make sure they are always wearing a vest, but remember there is no replacement for parental supervision.
Fires and Burns
Children are naturally curious, and unsupervised children can cause fires and other accidents. Keep the batteries in your smoke alarm fully charged at all times. Review a fire safety plan with your family and practice it periodically.
Whether it’s from a bike or playground equipment, falls can lead to serious injuries. Take your kids to playgrounds with soft landing surfaces and actively supervise their play. Always have your kids wear a helmet to avoid serious injuries when riding.
Being involved in contact sports will likely result in a bump or scrape or two. However, they can also lead to more serious injuries like concussions. Talk to your child’s coach about safety equipment and rules about safe contact.
Some injuries are just part of being a kid, while others are more serious. Know how to reduce your child’s risk of injury and follow basic safety practices.