Children thrive in their home environment – it’s where they feel protected, it’s where they can explore without fear, and it’s where the best memories are created. But home is also frequently the place where young children sustain injuries which are sometimes fatal.
The CDC reports that every year more than 9,000 children under the age of 19 die from unintentional injuries such as motor vehicle crashes, drowning, poisoning, falls, fires, and suffocation. Even though the death rate from childhood injuries has continued to decline steadily, they are still the leading cause of death in children and teens. Childhood injuries are preventable, and as a parent, you should do your best to keep children, especially young children, safe in your home. Here are some lifesaving home safety tips that you simply cannot afford to ignore.
Fire and Burn Injuries
On average, one child dies every day in America from fire and burn injuries. You can ensure your kids are safe by:
- Making sure the smoke alarms in your home are working properly
- Practicing safety drills with your kids (fires spread rapidly through a home and can leave a family less than 5 minutes to escape from danger)
- Using cooking equipment carefully as this is leading cause of home fires
- Educating yourself and your kids on fire safety with programs such as Start Safe: Fire
Mistaking a live electricity wire for a utility cable or using an electrical appliance near a sink or bathtub can have devastating consequences. Following a thunderstorm or high winds, remain vigilant for any downed power lines near your home. Kids should receive basic information about electrical shocks and safety precautions regarding electricity. All children, regardless of age, should know these dangers of electricity.
You may think your driveway is a safe haven, but children can sustain injuries as a result of an adult reversing a vehicle over a child in the driveway or from a child shifting a vehicle out of parking gear. Young and small children are particularly at risk. Large sports utility vehicles reversing out of the driveway are the most frequent culprits. Even with a reversing camera and parking sensors in place, parents should remember that small children can move unpredictably and may be impossible to see. Before reversing out of your driveway, make sure you know where your children are, especially children under the age of 6.
Drowning kills more than 1,000 American children every year. Yet, come summer, it’s impossible to keep the kids away from water. Who can blame them? Pools are what make summer so much fun. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 are the highest risk of drowning. Swimming pools are considered the safest place for recreational swimming, but parents with pools in their homes must take some basic water safety precautions:
- Fence the pool area but ensure the pool is visible from outside the fence
- Limit access to the pool with a safety cover
- Empty inflatable pools after use
- Learn CPR and keep emergency equipment (life ring, rope) on hand
- Teach your kids to swim
- Never leave children unsupervised near a pool
About 80 percent of the 2 million calls to poison centers in the U.S. every year are for children under the age of 5. Death and injury from exposure to household poisons are predictable and preventable. The CDC’s Up and Away campaign offer some easy-to-implement tips for parents to ensure medications are stored safely in the home. Here are some additional tips to prevent poisoning in the home:
- Install child-proof locks on cabinets
- Store chemicals and medications out of sight and out of reach
- Never transfer potential poisons from their original containers to food containers such as soda bottles or milk jugs
- Never store food and potential poisons in the same cabinet (children may mistake lookalike products or reach for a poisonous substance in a hurry)
- Keep the product in sight when using it