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According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for those 19 and younger. With children being the majority in this statistic, parents should strongly consider more than just basic injury prevention for their little ones. While teaching your child how to swim and to look both ways important for their safety, other ways they could be injured can go unnoticed for some.
An accident can occur at any time, even when you feel you have done everything to prevent it. Here are 10 things to consider when it comes to the safety of your child this National Childhood Injury Prevention Month.
- Regularly check your smoke detectors and create a fire escape plan: Make sure that you have working batteries in your fire and Carbon Monoxide detectors. Practice your family’s fire escape plan with your children. You can never be too prepared when disaster strikes, so considering all preventative measures can be life-saving for you and your family.
- Keep all medications out of sight and reach: A child’s curiosity can make them drawn to items that are potentially dangerous to them. Medicine or vitamin bottles must be out of sight and reach at all times. This means that they should not be kept in easily accessible spaces such as; purses, countertops, or low cabinets. The safest way to keep your medicine and vitamin bottles is in higher cabinets with child-resistant locks. Be sure to also dispose of your medications correctly. Properly dispose of unwanted and out of date medications by taking them to your local pharmacy.
- Mount your furniture: Often, children enjoy climbing on items such as dressers, tables, and other bulky items in their homes. To prevent injury, all furniture, and bulky items should be mounted and secured. Be sure to never leave curtains or blinds hanging as they can strangle a child who is climbing or jumping nearby.
- Never leave access to any body of water: Child injuries and/or deaths do not stop at swimming pools. A child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water, therefore, other bodies of water around your homes such as the bathtubs, canals/rivers, and even buckets can be dangerous to your child. Be sure to empty water from your bathtub, buckets, inflatable swimming pools, and any other bodies of water immediately after use. Always supervise your child when he/she is around water and consider teaching your child how to swim at a young age. Parents and caregivers can strongly benefit from a first aid course, in case of an emergency.\
- Keep hot pans, liquids, and food out of reach: Never leave hot pans, liquids, or food on the edge of a table. This makes it easy for a child to snag the hot item and burn themselves. All pot handles should be turned in and away from the edge of the stove, where your child could easily grab onto it. You can look into installing a stove guard to prevent scalding your child’s fingers.
- Regularly inspect your child’s car seat: Your child’s car seat should not move more than one inch at the base. If this is the case, it needs to be tightened. As your child grows, their car seat requirements and needs will change. Make sure that your child is in the appropriate car seat for their age and height at all times.
- Be aware of choking hazards: Choking hazards can vary from food such as grapes and nuts to small toys, buttons, jewelry, and much more. If an object can fit through an empty toilet paper tube, it is probably a good indicator that it can be a choking hazard to your child.
- Lock up any potentially harmful weapon(s) in the home: Whether you own a gun, knife, or any other weapon, be sure it is not accessible to your child. To prevent an accidental shooting, keep guns and ammunition in a locked compartment that your child will never be able to access.
- Keep in communication with your child’s coaches: If your child plays sports, be sure to have good communication with their coaches and those involved in their physical activity. Let them know that your child’s safety is of utmost importance and that all injuries and/or concerns regarding your child should be addressed with you at all times.
- Watch your child and make them aware when they are distracted: Pay attention to when your child is distracted and make it a habit to remind them of how to stay safe at all times.