Many Accidental Deaths and Injuries Can Be Prevented
Did you know that accidents are the leading cause of death in children in the United States? Even if a child does not die from an injury, many dangerous activities can cause serious physical damage such as whiplash injury, spinal cord injuries in children or traumatic brain injury. In addition if the injury is due to an act of carelessness or negligence, it can also lead to lawsuits over injury claims. Sadly, even if a plaintiff wins their lawsuit, there is no injury compensation that can make up for the loss of a baby or their serious injury. As frightening as this information may seem, there are some actions that we parents can take to reduce the risk to our children.
Death from Auto Accidents
The most common cause of death in children happens when they are a passenger in a motor vehicle during an accident. Although seat belts, infant car seats and booster seats cannot prevent injury in every situation, they do provide a substantial amount of protection. These safety devices are designed not only to save lives, but to prevent whiplash injury, and other causes of spinal cord and brain injuries. Every parent should use age appropriate car seats for their children. Be sure to carefully read the installation instructions to make sure you are using the seat correctly.
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Death and Injuries while Riding Bicycles
Another common cause of death and injury in children occurs when they are hit by a vehicle while they are either traveling as pedestrians or on bicycles. From the time they are young, children should be trained to know the rules of the road. All children, whether they are walking or riding a bicycle should know the proper way to cross a street. They should be taught to use a crosswalk, or get the assistance of crossing guards when one is available. If they are riding a bicycle, make sure that your youngster wears a helmet to prevent brain injury, and let them know that they should not ride at night. If they absolutely must ride after dark, make sure their bicycle has lights, that they wear bright, reflective clothing, and that they know the rules of the road!
Death from Drowning
Open areas of water can also be a hazard for children who do not know how to swim. When children are very young, they should never be left alone around water. Pools and hot tubs should have fences and alarm systems. Older children MUST be taught to swim. I have known of teenagers who drowned despite the fact that they only needed to be able to swim a few feet to reach safety. This is a heartbreaking cause of death that should never happen!
Death and Injury from Accidental Poisoning
Accidental poisoning also causes many deaths every year, especially in young children. Use childproof containers for your medications. Keep cleaning solutions on a high shelf. In addition to using the childproof containers, it is also a good idea to lock up prescription medicine. Children often mistake medicine for candy, so never refer to your child's vitamins or medicine as candy. They may try to get more when you're not looking and could overdose without you even realizing it! Make sure that anything that could harm them is kept out of their reach.
Recently, laundry detergent pods that are colorful and kept in clear plastic containers have been a source of poisoning for a number of children. Do not endanger your children by keeping these items within their reach. Like other cleaning solutions, these laundry detergent pods should be kept on a high shelf out of reach of your children.
Death and Injury from Burns
Burns are a horrible hazard for anyone, including children. In order to prevent your children from being injured, practice turning pan handles toward the back of a stove and, when possible, have children leave the room when you are cooking. A friend of mine with eight children always blocked off the cooking area of her kitchen when she was preparing meals so that the kids would not accidentally get hurt. This is a good habit for anyone!
Death from Mishandling Guns
Unfortunately, a number of children die every year as a result of guns. LOCK UP YOUR GUNS AND AMMUNITION IN SEPARATE AREAS. This does not mean that children should not learn about guns. In fact, teaching them gun safety is one way of protecting children. Children who know how to check if a gun is loaded, and have the experience of handling and shooting guns with supervision are often less likely to discharge a gun by accident, thereby injuring themselves or someone else. However, whether they have been trained or not, the safest decision an adult can make is to keep guns out of the reach of children.
Death and Injury from Climbing
Finally, teach children not to climb on furniture such as bookcases. Let them know that it is far safer to use a step ladder, when necessary, than it is to stand on a chair or table to reach something on a high shelf or top cabinet. Falls can do serious spinal cord and brain injury, as well as cause broken bones and other painful damage to a youngster.
In addition to the risk of falling, many children are injured when they pull a piece of furniture over on themselves. Don't let this happen to your child.
Help your children learn to be independent, responsible and self-confident and, hopefully, they will be well-equipped to keep themselves safe!
If you are interested in keeping yourself and your children safe from harm, you may also be interested in reading these articles:
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