Learn How to Prevent an Injury
Childhood should be a time of exploration, growth, and joy. Yet, every year, millions of children worldwide face preventable injuries that can sometimes have lifelong consequences or, in the worst cases, be fatal. Understanding the common causes of these injuries is the first step toward prevention.
Top Causes of Injuries to Children and How to Prevent Them
Motor Vehicle Crashes
Prevention: Make sure your child is always buckled in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt for their age and size. Ensure your teen gets as much driving practice with you in the car at different times of day, in different kinds of weather, and in heavy and light traffic before allowing them to drive alone.
Prevention: Install age-appropriate safety equipment in the home (e.g., gates for stairs and furniture safety straps). Make sure kids are wearing helmets and other necessary safety equipment when playing. Always supervise children during play.
Burns and Scalds
Prevention: Set your water heater to 120°F or lower. Keep hot foods, drinks, and appliances out of reach. Teach kids about the dangers of touching hot surfaces or playing with matches and lighters. Always supervise children while cooking.
Choking and Suffocation
Prevention: Keep small objects, including toys with detachable parts, out of reach of children under 3. Learn the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. Use appropriate crib bedding and avoid using blankets, soft toys, pillows or bumpers in an infant’s crib.
Prevention: Never leave children unsupervised near water. Install fences around pools with self-latching gates. Enroll kids in swimming lessons from an early age. Always have them wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water.
Prevention: Store all medications, cleaning products, and chemicals out of reach and in locked cabinets. Teach children about the dangers of ingesting unknown substances. Keep the number of the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) easily accessible.
Prevention: Always store firearms in a locked cabinet, gun vault, or storage case. Firearms should be stored unloaded, with the ammunition securely stored separately. Educate your children on the dangers of firearms and safety rules: Stop! Don’t touch. Run away. Tell an adult.
The key to safeguarding our children lies not just in understanding the risks but also in implementing preventive measures and creating environments that allow them to thrive without fear. The Injury Free Coalition for Kids and partners across the country are coming together again on November 18th to provide our county’s families with information about the dangers of child injury.
Join the Injury Free Coalition for Kids during their one hour twitter chat on Friday, November 17th, at 1:00 pm EST to help increase awareness and education on how the roles we play in preventing injuries. More information here.
What Miami is doing to protect its children:
- BikeSafe: BikeSafe is a program from the University of Miami KiDZ Neuroscience Center, part of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Dedicated to preventing brain and spinal cord injuries as a result of bicycle-related accidents, BikeSafe provides educational curriculums in schools and parks. Click here for more information. Programs are offered in English, Spanish, and Creole.
- WalkSafe: WalkSafe is another program from the University of Miami KiDZ Neuroscience Center, part of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. They provide educational curriculums to schools and also promote safe physical activity for children in Miami. Find more information here. Programs are offered in English, Spanish, and Creole.
- Get the facts: Miami Dade Matters has a lot of great information for parents, including a State-by-State Injury Prevention Report for those interested in learning more.
For more information about how to keep your child safe, call us at the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a program of the Children’s Trust at 305-243-9080 or visit www.injuryfree.org.
Written by Adriana Baez, M.D./J.D. candidate at the Miller School of Medicine,
with Julie Belkowitz, M.D., M.P.H.,
and Lyse Deus, Oneith Cadiz, M.D.
Originally published on: November 15, 2021