How to Prevent Childhood Injuries: Tips for Families & Caregivers

A father checks his young son's bike helmet before he goes for a bike ride.

On November 18, 2020, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids is holding its first-ever National Childhood Injury Prevention Day. This makes now a great time to take a closer look at what you’re doing to prevent injuries and accidents in your household!

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children aged 19 and younger.

In fact, according to the Injury Free Coalition for Kids, 20 children die each day from preventable injuries.

Parents instinctively keep their children safe from harm by keeping a close eye on them. 

However, monitoring your child’s activities and reacting to any threats or dangers isn’t the only way to prevent childhood injuries — there are proactive measures you can take to help reduce the likelihood of accidents or injuries as well.

Below, you’ll find childhood injury prevention and safety tips for children of all ages, helping you keep them safe at home, in the car, and in the community.

Burn & Fire Safety Tips for Children

  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month. Use the “test” function to ensure that they’re working properly.
  • Make a fire escape plan for your household and practice it with your family.
  • Teach children to “stop, drop, and roll” in the event their clothes catch fire.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach. Store them in a secure location when not in use.
  • Keep hot devices, like irons, straighteners, steamers, and curling irons out of reach, especially immediately after use.

Water Safety Tips for Children

  • Teach your children basic water safety guidelines. Additionally, enroll your children in water safety/swimming lessons at an early age.
  • Be aware of distractions — drowning can happen in a matter of seconds.
  • Never leave a child unattended in or around a swimming pool, bathtub, or any source of water.

Home Safety Tips for Children

  • Never leave the stove unattended while cooking. Turn the handles of any pots toward the center of the cooktop, away from the front of the stove.
  • Keep all electrical outlets covered. 
  • Secure any tall or unsteady furniture to the wall using furniture anchors or wall straps. Pay particularly close attention to tall dressers and entertainment consoles.
  • Keep an eye on any button-sized batteries you may have at home — like the ones used for hearing aids or watches. These batteries can be devastating if swallowed.

Poison Prevention Tips for Children

  • Ensure that all medications are stored in child-proof bottles. Store all bottles safely out of reach.
  • Store all cleaning products securely out of reach, including laundry pods and dishwasher pods.
  • Store the number for Poison Control on your phone in case of emergency: 1-800-222-1222.

Vehicle Safety Tips for Children

  • Always use a proper car seat or booster seat for children. Children under the age of one should always be rear facing.
  • Tug on all seatbelts to ensure that they’re secure, including seatbelts or tethers used to secure car seats or booster seats.
  • Children should ride in the back seat until at least 12 years old.

Sports Safety Tips for Children

  • Make sure children always wear well-fitting helmets while riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards, or while rollerblading.
  • Learn the signs and symptoms of concussions.
  • Check the fit of all of your children’s sports equipment, from helmets to shoulder pads. Properly fitting equipment plays a critical role in preventing or reducing the severity of injuries.

 

Download our printable Childhood Injury Prevention Tips fact sheet.

Lauren Van Luling, BSN, RN is South Shore Health’s Trauma Program Resource Nurse. Learn more about South Shore Health’s Trauma Center.