Injury Prevention: Keeping Kids Safe
Each year, more than 2,000 children ages 14 and under die from unintentional home injuries. The primary causes, according to Safe Kids USA ®, are burns, suffocation, drowning, choking, falls, poisoning and firearm accidents. While it may be impossible to protect our children from every possible hazard, parents can help prevent fatalities and limit emergency room visits by taking several basic precautions.
Basic safety measures
To begin injury-proofing your home, experts recommend that you:
- Install smoke alarms in your home and replace the batteries twice a year (a good rule of thumb: change the batteries when setting the clocks forward and back in the spring and fall).
- Install a four-sided fence with a self-closing and self-latching gate around swimming pools and wading ponds.
- Attach safety guards to all non-emergency exit windows.
- Supervise young children around open windows, balconies and decks.
- Avoid placing toys on top of furniture.
- Secure televisions, shelving units, freestanding cabinets and other large pieces of furniture to the wall or floor.
- Make the microwave oven off-limits until children are tall enough to reach in safely.
- Place hot foods and liquids at the center of the table.
- Always supervise children in the kitchen and around electrical appliances.
- Set your water heater to 120 degrees or lower to avoid burns.
- Keep matches, gasoline, lighters and other flammables locked away.
- Place cleaners, medications and beauty products out of reach.
For more information on preventing childhood injuries and fatalities, visit the Home Safety Council or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have specific questions or concerns, talk with your child's pediatrician or your family doctor, or contact St. Luke's Pediatric Associates at 218.249.7870.