Keeping your children safe—it’s one of the toughest things about being a parent. The world is full of everyday situations in which children, especially younger ones, are in great danger. Educating yourself and those around you about some of these dangers may help save a life.
- Poisoning. Poisons may be solids (such as plants, batteries, or berries), liquids (such as household cleaners, lamp oil, or gasoline), sprays (such as oven cleaners, furniture polish, or insect sprays), or gases (such as carbon monoxide). Post the National Poison Hotline by your phone: 1-800-222-1222.
- Head Injury. Wear a helmet and protective gear when biking; skating; skateboarding; or riding scooters, horses, or ATVs. Wearing a helmet can help prevent brain injury.
- Drowning. Children are drawn to water and need constant supervision when around places with even a small amount of water. Remember, children can drown in as little as an inch of water in a five-gallon bucket, as well as in a swimming pool.
- Vehicle. Buckle up! Never leave a child unattended in a car. At least 39 children died when left in hot cars in 2016. Even when the outside temperature does not feel hot, the temperature inside a car can reach over a hundred degrees in a matter of minutes. Back up a car carefully; according to Kids ‘N Cars, at least 50 children are backed over every week, causing over 200 fatalities a year and over 10,000 injuries. Most of the children are between 12 and 23 months—the age when they are starting to walk.
- Playground Injuries. Falls cause 80 percent of all injuries, so a safe surface is critical. Limit the height of playground equipment, and install and maintain a resilient surfacing in accordance with current safety guidelines.
- Sun Damage. Sunscreen is not just for the beach! It is important for parents to apply sunscreen to their children regularly when they engage in any outdoor activities—even on overcast days. Because children are outside a lot, they get an average of three times more sun exposure than adults. Overexposure to the sun as a child can lead to skin cancer later in life. Children taking certain types of drugs are at greater risk of sunburn, since the sun combined with the drugs can bring on photosensitive or phototoxic effects.
- Insect Bites. West Nile Virus, Lyme Disease, or allergic reactions are just a few of the complications that can occur from insect bites. Dress your child appropriately—in long sleeves, pants, and light colors—and use insect repellent that contains DEET on their clothing.
- Injuries While Home Alone. At some point, working parents find themselves considering the possibility of having kids take care of themselves. Statistics show that children alone are three times more likely than those under adult care to be involved in incidents where they are injured or harmed in some other way. Make sure your child knows what to do if he/she is injured, if something scares him/her, or if there is an emergency situation.
- Lightning and Thunderstorms. In 2016, 38 people were killed by lightning. Children should be taught to seek safe shelter before a storm begins. If no shelter is available, they should get to an open space and squat low to the ground as quickly as possible. Kneel or crouch with hands on knees.
- Boating and Personal Water Craft Injuries. Life preservers or lifejackets, also known as personal flotation devices (PFDs), are required to be worn on boats by many states and must be present on all bodies of water supervised by the U.S. Coast Guard. Look for lifejackets and life preservers approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Children riding jet skis (also known as personal water craft) are at risk of head trauma, spinal injuries, and trauma to the chest and abdomen.#
This list was adapted from a list by www.SafeChild.net, which is sponsored by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). Updated 2/2017.