common childhood injuries

Many of the most common childhood injuries can be prevented with child-proofing and other safety tips.

Most common childhood injuries

Burns

Burns happen in a variety of ways including:

  • Heat/hot surfaces or flames from matches, lit cigarettes, stoves, cookware, space heaters, fireplaces and backyard fires
  • Sunburns
  • Electrical burns/shock from inserting fingers or metal objects into electrical outlets or from biting on electrical cords
  • Hot liquid from pots and pans, cups and baths

Burn safety tips:

  • Always supervise children in the kitchen
  • Do not leave accessible food cooking on the stove (turn handles out of reach)
  • Ensure that your water heater is set to no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Install smoke alarms near the kitchen and every bedroom in the house. There should be at least one fire alarm on every floor of the house. Check batteries twice each year.

Poisoning

More than 300 children are treated for poisonings in US emergency rooms every day. Accidental poisonings happen in different ways including:

  • Accessing and swallowing household products such as perfumes, cleaning chemicals and shampoo
  • Accessing and ingesting medication or vitamins not meant for them
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning from gas stoves or heaters

Poisoning safety tips:

  • Throw out expired medicine
  • Lock-up/keep medicine and household chemicals out of reach
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors
  • Read up on poisoning symptoms and call the American Association of Poison Control Centers if you are worried that your child has been poisoned

Drowning

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of 14. Drownings happen in a variety of ways including:

  • Bathtub
  • Kid pool in the backyard
  • Underground pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Lake swimming
  • Ocean swimming
  • River floating/swimming
  • Falling off of boats
  • Falling though ice on a frozen lake

Drowning safety tips:

  • Always supervise children when they are near water
  • Until children are strong swimmers they should wear life jackets when in or near the water
  • Pools, spas and hot tubs should be surrounded by locked gates and inaccessible to children unless being watched by an adult
  • Avoid walking on frozen lakes unless local authorities have confirmed ice thickness for safety
  • Keep children away from water fountains, wells and irrigation ditches
  • Empty large buckets of liquid when you are done using them
  • Keep the toilet lid down and bathroom doors locked
  • Learn about the signs of drowning

Falls

Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries for children. Children may fall from many different things including:

  • Infant equipment such as highchairs, cribs, beds, unsecured infant seats, baby walkers and changing tables
  • Shopping carts – placing an infant car seat on top of the toddler seating area of a shopping cart is particularly dangerous
  • Playground equipment
  • Stairs
  • Slippery floors
  • Windows without proper guards or stops

Fall safety tips:

  • Parents should install window guards, stair gates and guard rails
  • Only let your child play on age-appropriate playgrounds with soft landing surfaces under the equipment
  • Never leave a baby unattended on a changing table or other piece of furniture
  • Always follow installation and safety instructions for all infant and child equipment and supervise them at all times while in use

Choking, strangulation and suffocation

Children are curious and they explore and learn through their senses. Small children and infants put everything in their mouths and touch with their hands leaving them vulnerable to choking, strangulation and suffocation. Common items that can be dangerous to your children:

  • Small toys, batteries, coins, balloons, marbles, magnets and water beads can lead to choking
  • Necklaces, improperly fastened safety harnesses, scarves, strings, ties, cords on toys and window blinds can lead to strangulation
  • Pillows, loose bedding and bumpers in cribs can lead to suffocation

Choking, strangulation and suffocation safety tips:

  • Keep cribs and beds a safe distance from windows with blinds or cords
  • Check in between sofa cushions and corners of your rooms to ensure no small objects have been left for easy pick up
  • Keep batteries and magnets well out of reach of young children
  • Keep strangulation hazards away from young children
  • Never lay your baby face down on a soft surface and keep loose bedding and stuffed animals out of cribs
  • Learn emergency first aid for choking and CPR and make sure anyone who takes care of your child has also been trained

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