3 Leading Causes of Childhood Injuries [and Ways to Avoid Them]

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As a parent you want nothing more than to keep your child safe and secure. And knowing how to prevent the leading causes of child injuries—like falls, motor vehicle injury and poisonings—is a step toward this goal.

Here’s what you need to know.

Falls

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0 to 19. Every day, about 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. That’s about 2.8 million children a year.

Thankfully, many falls can be prevented. Here are three simple, but life-saving tips:

  • Examine playground equipment. Is it properly designed? Properly maintained? Is there a soft landing surface?
  • Install safety guards on all above ground-level windows, stair gates and guard rails.
  • And make sure your child wears proper protective gear when playing active sports, such as a helmet when they are riding a bicycle.

Motor Vehicle Injuries

In the U.S., traffic accident injuries are the leading cause of death among children. In 2005 alone, 1,335 children ages 14 years and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes. Approximately 184,000 were injured.

What’s the cause of all these deaths and injuries? Intoxicated drivers, unrestrained children and improper use of car and boosters seats top the lists. Fortunately, many of these deaths can be prevented. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Place a child in an age- and size-appropriate car seat. This reduces serious and fatal injuries by more than half.
  • Place children under 8 years old and less than 4’9” in a booster seat.
  • Children under 12 years old should always ride in the back seat. Never place a child in front of an air bag.

Poisoning

A poison is any substance that can harm a child if too much is eaten, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin. This includes medications. Sadly, seventy-nine percent of all poison control center cases involve children. Sixty-four percent occur in children under age 5. It’s estimated 70 percent of accidental poisonings are preventable.

So want can you do to keep your child from unintentionally poisoning himself? Here are nine quick tips.

  • Know what products can be dangerous—and keep them out of reach of children.
  • Put the poison control number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone—including your cell phone.
  • Keep all drugs in medicine cabinets.
  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children because they often copy adults.
  • Never call medicine “candy.”
  • Avoid putting your next dose on the counter where children can reach them.
  • Do not leave household, lawn or car products out after using them.
  • Install safety latches to all cabinets.
  • Identify poisonous plants in your house and yard and put them out of reach of children.

By following the simple tips above, you will dramatically reduce the chances that your child will be injured by a fall, motor vehicle accident or poisoning and help him or her develop into an healthy, active person.

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