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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2017
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How to keep children of all ages safe

New and experienced parents alike must keep many things in mind when welcoming a child into their homes. Babies do not come with instruction manuals, but kids of all ages need their parents to perform various functions, including keeping them safe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say unintentional injuries, or those that result from burns, falls, poisoning, road traffic, and drowning, are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States. But even injuries that do not result in fatalities can still be serious. An estimated 9.2 million children per year visit hospital emergency rooms for unintentional injuries. For children 12 months old and younger, falls account for more than half of the nonfatal injuries.

Child safety is not an issue to take lightly, and parents and other caregivers must remain up-to-date on the latest guidelines regarding safeguarding children. The following are some safety tips and areas of concern parents may want to pay particular attention to.

Falls

As children learn to move around their world, stumbles are to be expected. However, there are steps parents can take to minimize injuries.

  • Keep babies and young kids strapped and secured when using infant seats, swings, car seats, and strollers. Always keep the devices close to the ground, and not placed on top of a table or other furniture.
  • Install safety gates at the top and bottom of all staircases.
  • Install window guards to prevent window falls.
  • Visit only those playgrounds that have installed shock-absorbing surfaces beneath the play equipment.

Water accidents

A child can drown in mere inches of water. As a result, parents must be extremely diligent to prevent accidents.

  • Never leave a child unattended around any source of water, even for just a few seconds.
  • Empty all tubs, containers, and kiddie pools of water immediately after use.
  • Use locks to seal toilet lids, and keep doors to bathrooms closed.
  • Install fences around home pools. Gates should be self-closing and self-latching.
  • Always test the temperature of bath water to ensure it is comfortable and will not scald a child.

Toys

Toys are a part of a child’s life, and they should bring joy, not danger.

  • Keep a child’s age in mind when purchasing a toy or game.
  • Small toy parts can pose as choking hazards for young children, so inspect toys frequently for chips.
  • Each year in the United States, more than 2,800 kids are treated in emergency rooms after swallowing button batteries. Keep the following away from young children: remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, t-light candles, and flashing holiday jewelry or decorations.

Risks for older kids

As children age, the ways to protect them change. The National Children’s Advocacy Center suggests these guidelines.

  • Parents should learn all they can about their children’s activities and friends.
  • Teach children to refuse anything from strangers.
  • The buddy system is a good idea when walking home from school or other events.
  • Make sure kids know that strangers can be found online, too. Teach kids to avoid sharing personal information with individuals they meet on social media.
  • Develop a family safety plan for meeting up when outside of the home. 

Source: MetroCreative Connection.

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