Together, We Can Raise Child Safety Awareness
Child Safety and Protection Awareness Month
November is Child Safety and Protection Awareness Month. A time to raise awareness of the potential dangers that children may face daily.
Did you know that an estimated annually 9.2 million children had an emergency department visit for an unintentional injury? The Center for Disease Control & Prevention Child Injury Report an average of 12,175 children 0 to 19 years old in the United States die from a preventable injury.
Their Safety Starts At Home
To promote national child safety protection month, it is imperative to learn how to lead by example in our own homes.
Household Safety Tips
The CDC reports children between the ages of 1 to 4 years old have the highest rate of poisoning. Each year, thousands of children are treated or hospitalized for accidental poisonings. The American Association of Poison Control Centers suggests these tips to help make your home a safe environment.
- Cleaning supplies, medicines, chemicals, and even toxic art supplies should be locked or put on a high shelf, away from children. Immediately after using these items, they should be safely stored away.
- Make sure all your medicine bottles are childproof caps. Like the cleaning supplies, once you have finished using it, safely store them away in a cabinet or high shelf.
- Vitamins and minerals should also be kept out of reach.
- Nonfood substances should never be stored in food containers.
- The Poison Control phone number should be programmed as a contact in your phone. Having it displayed on a fridge is a plus!
Staying Safe With Infants
Statistics show two-thirds of infant injury deaths are due to suffocation. Placing your baby on their back to sleep is imperative. Remember that “Back is best” and “face up to wake up.” Your infant must not sleep with blankets, stuffed animals, or other items before 1 year of age. Here are 5 tips to protect your baby according to the Safe Kids Worldwide:
- A firm mattress and fitted sheets are the only things you will need in your baby’s crib. This removes any and all items that may result in unintentional injury.
- Before driving off, make sure to use this basic car safety checklist. Learn to use your child’s car seat, booster seat, and seat belt the right way. Find out where to get your car seat installed and inspected.
- For everyone’s overall safety, make sure you have a working smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide alarm in your home and in all sleeping areas. Periodically test your alarms.
- Your baby’s crib and other furniture should be placed away from windows and blinds. Your baby is safer without any strings or cords within reach to prevent a choking hazard.
- Set your water heater to 120F to avoid scalds.
Safety in the outdoors
We all know children playing outside is healthy and important, but it is important to take some extra precautions. Here are some tips for doing exactly that:
- Always supervise our children while outside.
- While your children are riding their tricycles, bicycles, skateboards, etc. ensure they are wearing helmets and safety gear to prevent major injury.
- While in their strollers, secure your child using the safety straps and do not put children who cannot sit up well in wagons that have low sides as they may fall.
- Teach your kids at a young age to not play near the streets.
- Teach your children not to chase their toys into the street or driveway. Make sure they know to ask for help.
- Make sure that all outdoor play areas are fenced, especially when they are near a street, parking lot, pond, or railroad tracks. Keep the gates closed and install childproof latches.
- Remove all trash, sharp objects (including branches or other foliage), tools, lawn equipment, and animal feces that could result in accidental injury. Check it routinely.
- Surround electrical appliances in the play area, such as air conditioners, with fences so children cannot reach them. Also, remove gas grills from outdoor play areas.
- When playing at a park or playground, check to make sure that the equipment isn’t too wet or too hot before use.
CDC reports that drowning has been the leading cause of death or injury for children 1 to 4 years of age. When your child is near water, it is imperative to follow these guidelines:
- All bodies of water, large and small, can be a danger for children. Be sure not to leave them unattended. Don’t forget to empty containers of water of all sizes when finished.
- Enforce safety rules around water. Such as “no running around the pool”, and “no pushing or holding others underwater.”
- Children should always be supervised by an adult (preferably one who knows CPR). The adult should be within arm’s length for older children, and fully touching the infant, toddler, or young child when they are in or around water.
- Lifejackets are essential when children are swimming or riding in a boat. A properly fitted life jacket can’t be lifted over your child’s head after he’s been fastened into it. For children under five, particularly the non-swimmer, it also should have a flotation collar to keep the head upright and the face out of the water. Don’t allow your small child to rely on inflatable toys, pool noodles, or loungers in place of a life jacket. These toys may deflate suddenly, or your child may slip off them into water that is too deep.
- If you have a backyard swimming pool, (or a large, inflatable above-ground pool), it should be completely surrounded with at least a 4-foot (1.2 meters) high fence that completely separates the pool from the house. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that opens away from the pool, with the latch at least 54 inches high and out of the child’s reach. Check the gate frequently to be sure it is in good working order. Keep the gate closed and locked at all times. Be sure your child cannot manipulate the lock or climb the fence. No opening under the fence or between uprights should be more than 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Keep toys out of the pool area when not in use so that children are not tempted to try to get through the fence. Also, if your pool has a cover, be sure to remove it completely before swimming. Also, never allow your small child to walk on the pool cover. Do not use a pool cover in place of a four-sided fence.
- Spas and hot tubs are dangerous for young children, who can easily drown or become overheated in them. Don’t allow young children to use these facilities.
- Have a phone in the pool area with emergency numbers clearly marked. Keep a safety ring with a rope beside the pool at all times.
- Be sure to eliminate distractions while children are in the water. Talking on the phone, working on the computer, and other tasks need to wait until children are out of the water. Additionally, adults should not drink alcohol when they are swimming. It presents a danger for them as well as for any children they might be supervising.
Activities to Raise Awareness at Home
Safe Kids Worldwide has fun online activities for kids. You may print them out and finish at home to educate your child about safety and protection. There are protection-themed books for your kids that you may read to promote safety. Use this opportunity to create a safety plan and emergency preparedness kit with your family, if you don’t have these already! Keep them visible and accessible at all times.
Community Safety Awareness
Safety is a team effort. Promote safety throughout the community. Here are some ways that may help raise awareness of safety and protection:
- Share resources
- Caregivers, educators, child care providers, community members, and parents should all have access to the tools they need to keep the children of the community safe. Print and share these tips within your community. Try to distribute or post these at community activities, farmers markets, schools, child care centers, apartment buildings, and wherever else parents are gathering.
- Find a car seat technician (or become one)
- As mentioned above, car seat safety awareness is a huge issue in our communities. Child Passenger Safety Technicians are trained individuals who can give parents one-on-one personalized instruction in how to properly use and install a child safety seat, as well as information on seat belt guidelines, child restraints, booster seat recommendations, and more. You can host a car seat instructional event, find a local technician to instruct you or your family and friends, or even become trained on child safety seat installation yourself! Imagine what a tremendous asset this would be to your neighborhood! You can find all of the information regarding National Child Passenger Safety Technicians here.
- Creating a cleaner and safer neighborhood
- To continue the commitment and raise awareness for Child Safety Protection Month, initiate a Community Clean-Up Day! Invite your family, friends, and neighbors to join you in keeping your community clean and safe for kids to learn and play, by removing litter and other hazards! Working to improve the lighting on your street or in your apartment complex is so important for child safety. While advocating for more streetlights is one way to do this, you can also ask your neighbors to turn on their porch lights in the evenings or to install motion-sensor lights in the backs or sides of the house. This helps ensure that kids stay visible when they are outside at night, and also deters potential intruders.
- Know your neighbors
- Promote safety within the community by getting to know your neighborhood. Working in your yard, going on walks together, and letting the kids play safely together helps you learn about each other. A good idea would be to organize a neighborhood cookout, block party, or safety awareness event to encourage people to get acquainted and feel more comfortable spending time out in the neighborhood.
As you can see, Child Safety and Protection month is a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness, in the community, and at home.