Unintentional injuries are the number one cause of death to children ages 14 and under in the US.
Running, biking, skipping and jumping are all activities children are frequently involved in, and for most parents, keeping up with them—and keeping them safe—is a primary focus throughout their children’s lives.
But, are there ways parents can prevent accidents and ER visits before they happen?
“Every year, one out of every four children needs medical attention for accidental injury,” says Vickie Fisher, coordinator for Safe Kids Washoe County. “Sometimes even small things–properly using a car seat, installing window guards, making sure kids wear helmets when they bike or ride their skateboards–can pay huge dividends in preventing a life-threatening injury.”
Here are 12 simple tips to keep your kids safe at home and on the road:
Keep coin lithium battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children because they pose a choking hazard. These include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, t-light candles, or decorations all contain these so-called button batteries.
- Bike, skating, skateboarding
Can’t stress it enough – wear a helmet! Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent, yet only 45 percent of children 14 and under usually wear a bike helmet.
- Boating, swimming and water
Always have your children wear a life jacket approved by the U.S. Coast Guard while on boats, around open bodies of water or when participating in water sports. A responsible adult should always be supervising children in or around water.
- Booster seat/car seats/seat belts
Make sure your child is in the proper safety seat for their age/weight in the car. If you’re unsure of which seat/booster they should be in, visit safekids.org. And always buckle up your kids in the car. You can also make an appointment with an expert at the Nevada Fitting Station at 775-815-0981.
- Burns and scalds
Never carry or hold a child when you’re near the stove. Use the back burner of your stove when possible and turn pot handles away from the edge. Also, store matches, gasoline or lighters in a safe place out of their reach.
- Carbon monoxide and fire alarms
Install a carbon monoxide alarm and a fire alarm, on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- Driveway safety/ in and around cars/ pedestrian safety
Do a safety check around your car before you get in. Walk all the way around to check for children. Teach your kids to look left, right and left again when crossing the street. Also, “distracted walking” is all too real – remind your teens to put down their cell phone!
Install window guards to keep kids from falling out. Screens alone won’t do the trick. Secure TVs or other furniture to the wall to prevent dangerous tip-overs.
Store guns in a locked location, unloaded, safely out of the reach of children.
All medications (including vitamins) and household products should be stored up and away from children.
- Sleep safety
Babies should be placed on their backs every time they sleep. Learn the ABCs and 123s of safe sleep practices.
- Toy safety
Routinely check toys for loose parts or choking hazards. In 2011, an estimated 262,300 children were treated in an emergency room for a toy-related injury. That’s 718 kids every day; more than one- third of those injured were children under four.
For further safety tips and information, visit our partner, Safe Kids Washoe County.