Children – especially young ones – are extremely fragile. Millions of kids are brought to the emergency room for nonfatal injuries every year. Worse, fatal injuries are the top killer of children in the United States.
Luckily, there are all kinds of things that you can do to make your children just a little bit safer, and most of them are fairly simple and inexpensive.
Simple but Effective Safety Tips for Parents
Take the following steps to reduce the chance of injury and provide your child with the safest home and best care in their first years:
Baby Proof – Whether you’ve been planning to have children for a while or you are just beginning to process the fact that your family is about to grow, you probably didn’t think about baby proofing when you first moved in to your home. Risks are everywhere, and getting your home ready for a newborn can take multiple days.
Baby proofing may include:
- Buying outlet covers or blocking unused outlets with furniture
- Removing furniture with sharp edges or corners
- Cutting or replacing window-blind cords with loops
- Checking the batteries in your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors
- Locking cabinets or cupboards that have dangerous or toxic items
- Installing gates at the bottom and top of stairways
- Purchasing appliance latches for the refrigerator, oven door, etc.
- Adding nonslip mats to the inside and surrounding area of the bathtub
- Removing or tying up other dangling cords
The list goes on and on. Essentially, anything that could potentially hurt your child should be removed, placed on a higher shelf where a baby can’t reach it, or blocked off.
Watch Your Baby During Bath Time – Drowning is a leading cause of death for children ages 1-4, second only to birth defects. Why? It only takes one inch of water and less than four minutes to drown. Even if your baby is able to sit upright, do not leave them unattended in the bath. Toys that slip out of their grasp or a child’s general curiosity could easily send them into the water with no way of getting up.
Assess Playground Safety Before You Visit – If you just had a child, or are still waiting for your bundle of joy to arrive, playgrounds may seem far away, but it’s never too soon to prepare. Neighborhood playgrounds pose a risk to children of all ages, especially if they have not been properly maintained by the property owners or contain broken equipment, rust, or a hard ground for children to fall onto. Pay special attention to the swings and slides at your local playground: children ages 4 and under are most often injured on this type of equipment.
Get the Proper Car Seat – Hundreds of children are brought to the emergency room every day for motor vehicle crash injuries. Getting the proper car seat for your child’s age and weight is the best thing you can do to save them in the event of an accident. Newborns require rear-facing seats, and will not need to switch to a forward facing car seat until they exceed the weight limit recommended by the car seat. (Some newer seats can remain rear-facing – and therefore safer – until your child reaches 50 pounds.) Be sure to properly follow the directions for securing the car seat.
Check All Toys for Choking Hazards – Your friends and family may have filled your home with wonderful gifts for your child’s arrival, but not all of these gifts will be appropriate for a newborn.
Newborns have an increased risk of choking due to their small windpipes and necks. Newborns should not be wearing small scarves or any clothing with drawstrings for the first few months. Buttons that can fall off of your child’s clothing may also pose a choking risk.
When it comes to toys, pay close attention to the warnings on each toy’s label. Keep an eye out for recalls, too.
There’s Still a Risk
As a new or expecting parent, you probably can see dangers in every little part of your home, neighborhood playgrounds, toy stores, and so on. Even if you do you absolute best to keep your child safe, there is still a risk that he or she will get hurt.
If your child suffers an injury, you will likely have to deal with expensive medical bills, and possibly things such as missed work. If another’s negligence is responsible for your kid getting hurt, you do not have to pay for their mistake. File a claim against them to fight for compensation, and to hold them accountable for their actions.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”