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Safety tips every parent should know

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Kids' safety

Once you become a parent, you never stop trying to protect your children -- no matter what their age. However, it is important to encourage them to be independent so they have the confidence to experiment with new things such as learning to walk, riding a bike and eventually -- gulp! -- driving. While these experiences can be scary for you and your child, the following tips to ensure their safety will make new adventures a lot of fun for both of you! Below we share several safety tips for kids.

Children Wearing Rollerblades

Outdoor Safety

The great outdoors is a wonderful place for your child to experience the world, whether that means taking your children camping in secluded woods or just to the local park.

Make sure your children are always within your line of sight, and ask them to keep tabs on you, too. This gives them some responsibility yet reminds them that you are right there for them if they need you.

Be sure to slather your kids with sunscreen if you are going to be spending the day outdoors. Bring a hat to shield them from the sun, as well. Keeping your child's skin safe is just as important as keeping the rest of him safe.

Stress the importance of staying connected, whether in a big-city crowd or a hiking trail in a forest. Hold hands with your child at all times or create a signal so you can call him/her back to you if they start to roam a little too far from reach.

Street Safety

It's almost impossible to turn on the nightly news without hearing a report of a child being accidentally hit by a car. This can happen on a busy street, but it can also happen in your neighborhood or even your very own driveway. Make sure your children stay away from cars – parked or not – and never let them walk into the street without you.

Create a buzzword such as "freeze" rather than shouting "no" if your child is about to walk into the street without you (whether or not there are any cars around). Make sure your child knows this word and what to do when you say it.

Bike/Scooter Safety

According to SafeKids USA's web site, 134 children ages 14 and under died in bicycle-related crashes in 2001, and the following year, close to 288,900 were treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries.

The biggest rule here – wear a helmet. Doing so can reduce the risk of head injury by an astounding 85 percent.

When riding a scooter, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suggests following these four rules, which can be applied to bike riding as well:
1. Aside from a helmet, always wear elbow and knee pads.
2. Ride during the daytime.
3. Avoid cars and other vehicles; ride your scooter on the sidewalk or paved off-road paths.
4. Avoid sand, gravel, water and dirt; keep your scooter on smooth surfaces.

Sports Safety

Involvement in a team sport is a great way to teach children discipline, sportsmanship and teamwork. But there should be guidelines as well. The Kids Health website offers the following tips:

  • Make sure your children are using proper equipment (approved by the organization of each sport) and safety gear that fits properly.
  • Team sports leagues should be supervised by qualified adults, and the team coach should have first-aid training and know CPR. Be wary of a coach that puts more emphasis on the team's win than your child's safety.
  • Make sure your child warms up with stretches and training sessions before practices and games; this will reduce the chance of injury.

Water Safety

Water safety is not just about putting up a pool fence or watching your children in the bathtub (though these are two of the most important things you can do for your child's safety). Children can drown in less than two inches of water, according to the Kids Health website. So take extra precaution around all "bodies of water" including sinks, toilets, ornamental ponds and fountains, buckets, lakes and beaches.

Always watch children around any pool of water, and enroll your children in swim lessons. Learning how to administer CPR can literally be a lifesaver.

Resources for kids' safety:

http://www.cpsc.gov/KIDS/KIDSAFETY/scoot.html
http://www.usa.safekids.org/tier2_rl.cfm?folder_id=169
http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/water_safety.html
http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/fitness/sports_safety.html

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