As parents, one of our most prominent instincts is to protect our children. We want them to go out and explore – safely. To enjoy all the world has to offer them – safely. And to take risks sometimes – but calculated safe ones. It is a balancing act. From wanting your children to be wild, and enjoy their childhood to the maximum but also avoid all of the most common injuries.
So here is a list that you can use to be vigilant in all the right places, hopefully helping you relax on some things and to take action on others.
It wouldn’t be wise to drop this further down the list when it is probably one of the biggest ones. The amount of times that your child is in the car, of course, adds up. Which is why this ends up on the most common injuries list.
Typically, and rather sadly, it is due to the incorrect use of car seats and seatbelts. The other is that the child has been playing nearby, or on the road and not been seen by a driver.
In the case of the car seat and seat belts, if you aren’t 100% sure you know how to fit the car seat yourself, you should get a professional to do it. Yes, it might cost money, but it will also almost always save a life. Rear-facing seats are safer for as long as you can, even if their legs are a bit scrunched up.
As they learn to crawl, walk, and then run – a lot of minor falls take place. But, children are curious and adventurous – sometimes more significant falls happen too. Sometimes though, it comes down to misuse of baby changing units and forgetting to lock the baby gate. But you shouldn’t feel guilty because mistakes do happen. You need to be able to differentiate between bigger falls and smaller ones. Generally, if there is a head bump, you should take the child to the ER as soon as you can.
For older kids, the risk comes from bikes and playground equipment. The issue here is that you can’t always be around when your older children are playing. You can teach them how to use the equipment carefully, and make sure that they are choosing age appropriate things to play on. Helmets should be worn when using bikes and scooters – no matter how uncool they look.
Interestingly, children are less likely to fall over and hurt themselves if they are well rested.
Even the word is scary here. It might just come under every parent’s worst nightmare. Toys, food, and sleep can all pose issues. That is why many foods and toys will come with age guidelines, and baby sleep safety is talked about commonly from mid-pregnancy and beyond.
Infants are most likely to suffocate when they are sleeping, especially in the early weeks. Keep the crib free from toys, loose blankets, cot bumpers, and puffy pillows. It might look cute, but it will obstruct the airway very quickly.
Bigger kids are more likely to choke on food items. Grapes, for example, should be sliced in half lengthways, as should tomatoes. Popcorn also poses a threat, due to the shape and the texture it can get wedged very quickly.
Drowning is the most common cause of death for children in the age group 1-4. The best thing you can do is to take lessons as a family as soon as you can. Following that, the commonsense approach is the best one to take. Don’t leave children unattended by pools and ponds.
If you have a pool or a pond on your property, then build a fence around it, with a lock that only an adult can reach. It won’t have to be there long, but the safety is unrivaled.
A top tip is that any time a child goes missing, and there is a pool in the area, go there first and check the bottom of the pool. If they have fallen in, every second counts – don’t waste them.
It is worth noting that most children who drown, don’t do so in their pool or pond. It is typically in the bathtub, toilets or when playing with buckets of water. Fitting child safety locks on all cupboards and the toilet seat is a good idea.
We can’t be there every second of the day, but we can implement as many safety mechanisms as possible. Taking first aid classes, and learning how to treat smaller injuries would also be very beneficial.