We all want to keep our kids safe, but how to do that isn’t always common sense. While minor scrapes and bruises are a normal part of childhood, I want to focus on serious injuries that are often preventable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) injuries (burns, falls, poisoning, drowning and road traffic) are the leading cause of death for children.
In this article I’ll highlight some strategies to prevent injuries. I highly recommend you also visit the Safe Kids Kansas website to learn more about injury prevention strategies and resources.
First, be mindful of your child’s developmental milestones. Is he/she rolling over, crawling or walking? Then monitor your child’s play spaces. Get down on your child’s level and look around. Think about what could be a risk or dangerous. Always be aware of where your child is and what he/she is doing.
10 Injury Prevention Tips
- keep the poison help hotline (1-800-222-1222) in your list of contacts and ask your childcare providers to do the same
- secure TVs and heavy furniture to a wall
- store medicine out of reach
- cover electrical outlets
- place safety latches on cabinets and drawers
- prevent access to stairs with a gate
- set your hot water heater to less than 120 degrees
- keep scissors, knives and razors out of reach
- prevent a choking hazard by cutting food into small pieces
- keep children away from a hot stove or grill & turn handles of pots and pans to the inside
As your child grows older, introduce safety rules. Begin with just a handful of rules and add more as your child master’s them. A safety rule may be “you can ONLY cross the street with an adult” or “you can play in the pool ONLY when an adult is with you.” Keep in mind when a young child is excited his/her ability to follow a rule is lessened. Be a good role model for your child by always following the same rules (wearing a bike helmet for example).
Safety Rules Should Be
- simple and clear
- consistent (it is always applicable and no parent is ‘the bad guy’)
- phrased in the positive (tell them what they can do)
- reinforced (“nice job looking both ways”)
- supported by consequences if not followed