Our children are the most valuable and precious things in our lives. Tragedies can happen to our children at any time and any place. The great majority of the tragedies can be prevented. We hope to provide you with some simple, easy-to-follow precautions that may help prevent a tragic, accidental injury to your children.
Clothing: Make sure all clothing is fire resistant. Make sure that there are not any long drawstrings on your young child’s clothes. Infants should not be put to sleep in loose clothing.
Childproof your house. Install childproof latches on your cabinets and cupboards. Keep cleaning supplies and chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep all plastic bags out of the reach of or access to your children.
Secure your pool. Install a fence around your pool that cannot be opened by young children. Make sure the gate to the pool has an automatic, locking gate mechanism. Make sure all exits from your house that can access the pool area are locked by a lock that is not accessible to your children. Install a pool alarm in your pool. Changed the filter cover to eliminate the risk of extreme suction that may lead to possible drowning. Teach all of your children how to float and swim. Never allow children in the pool area without adequate adult supervision.
Child safety seats. Always have proper child safety seats in your vehicles. Have a child safety seat for each and every child in your car. Make sure that all child safety seats are properly installed and secured. Never drive anywhere unless your children are buckled in proper child safety seats. Never allow your children to go in another vehicle that does not have a child safety seat for each of your children.
Inspect your yard. Visually inspect your yard. Remove sharp objects that could impale your child if he or she fell on it. Remove wires and ropes that support trees if a child could trip on it or severely injure him or herself if they did not see it while running and playing in the yard. Make sure that there are no low electrical wires that your child or child’s toy could come into contact with.
Eliminate chocking hazards. For children under five years of age, many types of food are chocking hazards. Food for small children under the age of five should be cut up into small pieces. Small, round, cylindrical foods are the most dangerous. Such foods can easily become lodged in the child’s small throat/windpipe. Take a few extra moments to make sure that your child’s food is adequately cut up into very small pieces.
Garage doors. Make sure that all garage doors with automatic door openers have proper safety devices installed so that the doors stop and reverse if they come into contact with an obstacle. Garage doors without safety devices can crush a child trapped under it. Periodically test your garage door to make sure that the safety devices are working properly.
Dogs. Do not allow your children to approach and attempt to pet strange/unknown dogs. Always ask the owner if it is okay. Even if the owner says it is ok to pet the dog, make sure the owner adequately restrains the dog as your child approaches. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO GO NEAR PIT BULLS. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO GO TO A FRIEND OR NEIGHBOR’S HOUSE IF THEY OWN A PIT BULL. IF YOU OWN A PIT BULL AND HAVE CHILDREN, GET RID OF THE PIT BULL.
Bikes. STOP, LOOK, LISTEN. Those are the basic rules that must always be followed. Make your children wear properly fitting bicycle helmets when they ride their bicycles. I have seen the e-mails stating that we all survived our childhoods without having to wear seatbelts and bicycle helmets, but the statistics are overwhelming regarding the number of serious injuries and deaths that are prevented by these simple precautions. Make sure your children are aware of their surroundings when riding their bicycles. They should assume that drivers of cars do not see them. You should train your children not to dart out into traffic on their bicycles. If your children ride their bikes at night, make sure the bicycles have adequate reflectors and lighting on them. The same rules apply to scooters and skateboards.
Information. Be nosy. Know your kids’ friends. Meet your children’s friends’ parents. Know where your children are, whom they are with, and what they are doing.
Get involved. Volunteer at your children’s school and at their extracurricular activities. Take an interest in what your children are interested in. Get involved in activities you can do with your children. Spend as much time as you can with your kids.
Seatbelts. Never allow your children to get into a vehicle without wearing a seatbelt. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults. Many deaths result from a failure to wear seat belts.
Car safety. Young drivers are dangerous. The statistics prove it. They have limited experience and their friends easily influence them. Emphasize to your kids that they should never get into any vehicle with a driver who has been drinking or is on drugs. Your kids should know that there is always alternate transportation available to them. Do not allow your children to ride with other kids who text and drive at the same time, talk on their cell phones, or pay more attention to the passengers than they do to the road. Set an example for your children so they will know and observe safe and courteous driving manners and habits. Point out examples of unacceptable and bad driving to your kids and use them as teachable moments for your children. The truth is just about every time you are in the car with your kids you could point out dangerous, careless and/or rude driving. Use it as a teaching opportunity and an opportunity to open the lines of discussion with your kids. Do not drive so that you and your driving have to become the subject of discussion.
Curfew. Set limitations on your children. What good things happen to kids after 10 PM? Set routine patterns for your children and require them to meet your guidelines, restrictions and curfews. Children must learn that actions have consequences. Responsibility and obligations come with the freedoms and privileges you grant to your adolescent and teenage children.
Sports. Statistics show that many significant injuries and deaths result from sports related injuries. Up to 20% of brain injuries result from sports and recreational activities. Contact sports have the greatest rate of injury. Baseball has the highest fatality rate of all sports for children 5 to 15 years of age. The rate and severity of injury increases as your child gets older. If your children are going to participate in group sports, make sure that they wear all of the necessary protective gear and equipment. Train them to be observant and aware of their surroundings. Injuries often happen outside of the “normal” area where one would anticipate a certain activity. For example, not everyone swings a baseball bat in the batter’s box or on deck circle. Kids swing golf clubs just about anywhere. Blows to the unprotected head can be life altering or deadly. By being observant, wearing the proper and necessary protective gear and by following the rules, most kids can avoid unnecessary sports injuries.