According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death and disability for children in the U.S. Fortunately, there are a few habits we as parents can get into that can help reduce our children’s risk of falling into this tragic category.
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of accidental death for children. While you can’t prevent everything with 100 percent assurance, making sure your child is restrained safely and properly can boost his or her chances big time of surviving in case the unthinkable happens. If your child is still in a car seat, whether it’s an infant bucket-style seat, a convertible car seat or a booster seat, get it checked out at a car seat inspection station. It’s easy, it’s free and they can not only check to make sure your installation is correct, but they can verify that you have your child buckled in the right way — you may be surprised to find that your child is not.
Children are more at risk during a house fire because they depend on another person to get them out safely. To ensure that you get the most notice in case of a fire, make sure you have smoke alarms installed on each floor of your home and in each bedroom if possible. Test them monthly, and change the batteries when recommended (many families do this twice a year, when daylight savings time begins and ends).
It’s easy to rely on childproof caps, right? Unfortunately, however, some children can master them from an early age, rendering the caps useless — and suddenly your kids are in danger. Poisoning is another lead cause of unintentional death and injury among children. But if you can get into the habit of keeping your medication stored high out of reach, it can really cut down on the risks your child is exposed to. For those with skilled climbers, a locked cabinet is the way to go. Also, don’t let your babies or toddlers play with empty medication containers — while it may seem harmless, it may lead them to think that they are toys.
Suffocation is the leading cause of unintentional death in the under-1 age group. Although it’s hard to distinguish a suffocation death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, it’s still imperative to make sure your baby’s sleep space is free from stuffed animals, bumper pads, pillows and blankets. Store these types of items until your child is bigger, and this will not only help keep him or her safe when really young, but will ensure that your little one has “new” items to love on and play with when older.
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