Childhood Injury Prevention
Childhood injuries are common. Kids explore, experiment, and test their limits, so it’s only natural that they’ll get some bumps and bruises along the way. Accidents will happen, but preventing catastrophic injury is essential.
Childhood injury is the leading cause of death in children, so we want to prevent injury as much as we can. While it’s impossible to prevent every injury, with a few child injury prevention precautions and some education, we can keep our kids as safe as possible.
What Are the Most Common Childhood Injuries?
Below are some of the most common childhood injuries with some child injury prevention tips
about how to prevent and treat each injury.
For kids from 0-19, falls are the top cause of injuries that don’t end in fatalities. Kids fall all the time. They can fall from playground equipment, their bed, furniture, stairs, and more. Essentially, if kids can climb on it, then they can fall from it.
How to Prevent Kids Falling
It’s impossible to prevent all falls, but you can safeguard your home. If you have small children, use gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Put safety devices on the edges of tables, chairs, and other objects where your toddler could fall and strike his or her head.
Discourage your children from climbing on the furniture, and keep all upstairs windows all safely locked. Since kids have a natural inclination to climb, provide your kids with age-appropriate climbing toys and encourage your kids to use them safely with soft, supportive material available to cushion tumbles.
A yoga mat or two is fine, however there are more options like interlocking baby mats which are created specifically for helping your toddler avoid tumbles. You can even use toddler-friendly fencing (aka a baby gate) and place that around the mats).
How to Treat falls
Use basic first aid for most falls. However, if something looks broken or if there’s bad bleeding or swelling, you need to seek medical help. If your child bumps their head, be sure to check for concussion symptoms and call their doctor.
Kids can get burned in several ways. They may be involved in a cooking accident, a house fire, or playing with fire while unattended. Burns can range from minor to disfiguring to even fatal.
How to Prevent Burns in Kids
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, 75% of all burns are preventable. Always monitor kids when you have food cooking in the kitchen. Keep all hot pots and pans out of reach of kids and turn handles sideways to facing away from grabby hands.
Monitor children when filling the bathtub. Make sure the water is at the right temperature before your child gets in by testing it on yourself several times.
Keep matches and lighters out of reach. Older kids, especially boys, are often fascinated with fire and will try to experiment.
How to Treat Minor Burns
All you need to do for a minor burn is run cool water over it and wrap it in gauze. Unless a burn is small and superficial, you should call your child’s doctor or potentially head to the ER.
Choking in Children
Choking is one of the most frightening things a child and parent can experience. Kids can choke on just about anything, so it’s important to
How to Prevent Choking in Children
While you can’t completely prevent choking, you can reduce the risk by not offering younger kids foods that are choking hazards. Avoid foods like grapes, hot dogs, nuts, popcorn, and other foods that are difficult to chew and swallow.
Never leave your kids unattended while eating. Teach them good eating habits like taking small bites, chewing thoroughly, and sitting up straight.
How to Treat Choking
It’s always a good idea to take a CPR class if you aren’t already certified. These classes are the best way to make sure you’re prepared if your child chokes. Don’t try to get the object out with your fingers.
For kids older than one, you can do the conventional Heimlich maneuver. For babies, you’ll need to place them face-down on your arm and hit between their shoulders.
Sports are a common cause of injuries – one-third of all childhood injuries are sports-related. Most kids get sprains, but more serious injuries like fractures are common.
Sports are becoming a leading cause of childhood injuries because kids are specializing in a sport at younger and younger ages. The intensity and frequency of practices can lead to injuries.
How to Prevent Sports-Related Injuries in Kids
One of the best ways to prevent injuries in children is to encourage them to play multiple sports, because this incorporates a variety of muscle groups and avoids repeated stress on certain body parts over and over again. You can also encourage them to always warm-up and play using the proper form. Diet, hydration, rest, and common sense go very far here with regards to the health of your child.
Avoid trying to “tough it out” if there is obvious discomfort.
How to Treat Sports-Related Injuries in Kids
Most sports injuries can be treated with basic first aid, ice, rest, and proper diet, but if you suspect your child has a break or concussion, be sure to seek immediate medical help.
When people think of drowning, they typically imagine it happening in a pool or the ocean. However, kids can drown in the bath, or even a bucket of water.
How to Prevent
Never let your kids swim unattended. Small children shouldn’t be left alone in the bath. If you have toddlers, never leave standing water inside or outside the house. Small children can drown in as little as two inches of water.
If you live in an area with a lot of water or have a swimming pool, baby swimming lessons can be administered earlier than you think – at 6 months for some!
How to Treat
Get your child out of the water as quickly as possible. Have someone call 911 while you check their breathing. If they’re not breathing or coughing, start doing CPR until help arrives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a few of the most common questions about injury prevention.
How Can I Prevent Childhood Injuries at Home?
While you can’t prevent all injuries, you can make your home safe for your child. Be sure to babyproof while they’re small. Since many accidents can happen in the kitchen, make sure you’re always especially vigilant in there.
Teach your kids basic safety rules. Make sure that they understand that safe behavior is important to your family.
How Can Schools and Childcare Settings Prevent Injuries?
Schools need to be properly maintained and checked periodically for safety. They should have rules in place to keep kids safe in all spaces. Schools should also educate students on basic safety expectations.
What Are the Three Es of Injury Prevention?
The three Es of injury prevention are Educate, Engineer, and Enforce. You should educate kids on how to stay safe, engineer safe spaces for them to play and learn, and enforce safety rules and expectations.