Child Safety for Babies and Toddlers
Baby in Appropriate Car Seat
Baby Reaching for Stove
The leading cause of death for children is accidents and most of these deaths are preventable. This year about one in four children (14 million) will suffer an injury that will require medical attention. Of those, 120,000 will be permanently disabled from accidents.
Child safety must be kept first and foremost in your mind at all times. Safety covers many areas of home hazards and it is important as parents to recognize the less obvious hazards. Additionally, it is important to know what to do until medical help arrives if your child has a serious accident. Taking a first aid course through the YMCA or through the Red Cross is helpful so you can learn CPR.
You could put your baby in a protective glass cage and they would probably still find a way to injure themselves. It seems injuries just go along with childhood. Our goal is to make their environment as safe as possible to minimize those injuries.
Many parents do childproof their homes, strictly use proper car seats, keep a well stocked first aid kit for emergencies but that may not be enough to prevent some type of injury requiring medical attention.
Common Types of Injuries
The most common type of childhood injuries are:
Burns are one of the most common accidental injuries. They include sunburns, and burns from stoves, fireplaces, lamps, matches, lit cigarettes, wood stoves, and hot liquid from hot water to coffee. Mayo Clinic recommends that for a minor burn you hold the burned area under cool (not cold) water for 10-15 minutes or until the pain subsides. Use cool compresses if you are unable to immerse the burned area under water. Cover the area with a sterile gauze bandage.
Head injuries are caused primarily by falls from high chairs, beds, furniture, stairs and playground equipment and immediate require medical evaluation.
Choking on food or small objects is a common emergency. Call 911 and use the Heimlich maneuver if the child is turning blue and not coughing.
Strangulation caused by strings, ribbons, ties, cords from drapes or blinds, clothing and sometimes household appliance cords is another thing to avoid.
Nose injuries usually caused by running into stationary objects, falling on a hard surface or from a flying object, or it maybe from the fist or foot of another child. Items stuck in a nostril like small toys, stones, chewable vitamins, pebbles or peas are something children do and this sometimes takes a pediatrician to remove the object.
Cuts and scratches may be caused by almost anything, such as finger nails, pets, any sharp object, scissors and sharp objects in the yard and usually need just a little first aid.
Fractures and sprains may be caused by hard falls as children break bones more easily than adults due to soft areas called growth plates near the ends of the bones. Ofr course, this means a trip to the hospital.
Contusions which are bruises under the skin are caused by bumps and falls. Sometimes a little ice will quickly reduce the swelling.
Insect stings or bites can be a problem and your first aid kit will have some treatment.
Muscle strains may occur after a child starts playing a little rougher or after starting a new sport.
A pulled elbow can occur if you pick your child up by one arm, jerking his arm forcefully or swinging him by one arm. The forearm bone actually slips out of the joint. This is very dangerous for your child and should be avoided.
Eye injuries can be caused by dust, sand or many types of foreign matter that gets into the child’s eye. Rinse the eye gently with tepid water.
Childproof Your Home
For babies and toddlers you home and there are many things to consider. Most of the items listed are inexpensive. Listed below are some of the items for childproofing your home. Covering outlets, keeping electrical cords away from small children, keeping safety locks on windows and doors, keeping all medicine in a high secure place and simply watching your child carefully. When they are the most quiet is sometimes the most important time to check on them.
Child Safety Tips from KinderVision
All electrical outlets should be covered.
Use gates at the top of stair cases.
There are adhesive and screw mounted drawer braces that won’t allow the drawer to open more that an inch or so. Sliding cabinet locks are available for kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
More Safety Equipment
Use a window wedge set to keep toddlers from opening any window.
Use plant protector screens that will keep your child from playing in the dirt.
Use a bi-fold door lock that is easily opened by an adult but keeps the children out of the closet .Use a bath transition baby tub or a big gripper mat for their baths.
There are no tip furniture brackets which are easily installed.
For a crib you will need breathable bumpers so the baby won't get legs or arms caught in the rungs of the crib. These are very important to prevent injuries.
There are child protective light switch covers that are easily installed.
If you have a flat screen TV you will need to install anti-tip straps as the TV’s are top heavy and this is probably a wise move even if your children aren't young.
You can also purchase a hide-away extra long bed rail for a single bed when the child is making that transition from a crib to a bed.
There are clear stove knob covers if you have the type of stove that a child can reach and also oven locks, plus latches for front loading washers and dryers.
There are cord wind-ups for dangling window blinds as the cords can be a danger to your child if they get one wrapped around their throats.
There are corner and edge cushions that you can purchase if you have sharp corners that may hurt them if they fall or run into them.
First Aid Kit
You will want to keep a first aid kit handy as children always have little accidents plus band aids seem to fix most everything. Keep a bottle of Ipecac on hand as a treatment for poison. First call the poison control center if your child eats or drinks anything that might be poisonous, then you have the Ipecac handy if needed.
In summary. I am amazed at the multitude of safety devices for the home. It is not that difficult to childproof your home and knowing it is a safer place for your child allows you to worry less and enjoy your precious children.
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© 2010 Pamela Oglesby