Children are full of life and vibrancy, but their energy and lack of experience can sometimes lead to unfortunate incidents. According to research conducted by Stanford, injuries are the leading cause of children visiting emergency rooms or hospitalization. It is also the leading cause of death of children between the ages of 1 and 19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 12,000 children a year suffer fatal accidental injuries.
For younger children, you home is the primary source of risk since its where they will spend most of their time. Children need and deserve to be safe at home, whether they’re in exuberant play or simply moving around.
What are five of the best ways you can reduce the threat of injury to children in your home.
- Always Have a First Aid Kit
Even if you have training as an EMT or an experienced medical practitioner, you will need a fully stocked first aid kit to provide any sort of help to an injured child during an emergency. Your home should ideally have at least one fully stocked first aid kit within easy reach at all times.
For example, many parents keep this kit in the bathroom. However, you may want to put extra kits with specialized contents in other parts of the house. Your kitchen first-aid kit could contain bandages and disinfectant for cuts as well as aloe or soothing gel in case of burns.
You should also remember to routinely check the medicine and products stored in your kit. Giving your child expired melatonin or any medication past their efficacy can be useless at best and harmful at worst.
- Keep Watch
Children always need supervision, especially those below the age of 8 as they are prone to making mistakes. Their bodies are also not as coordinated as an adult, and they could come into harm simply by walking or moving about. You should always maintain a close eye on children, even if you are busy doing something.
If you are working, move your workplace to where you can observe your kids while still doing your task. Ask your kids to stay in a communal space and monitor them from there. This is especially true if they are playing in water, such as in the bathtub or in a pool. The risk of drowning is especially high for toddlers and you should never leave kids unsupervised when they are around water.
- Beware the Stairs
Many houses in the United States have stairways and staircases, even if they don’t have more than one story. Your home could have steps and stairs because it’s a split-level ranch or it can have steps outdoors because its on a raised platform. These steps pose a significant danger to children, especially if they are steep or long.
A bad tumble down a staircase can lead to bruises or even broken bones. The worst cases can also lead to internal injuries. You can make stairways and steps less dangerous by following safety codes regarding them.
For example, there are plenty of helpful tips you can find on installing stair nosing, which prevents trips and makes it easier to keep your footing. You should also install effective railing that can stop a child from rolling down the steps or falling out of the steps entirely.
- Safety Gear First
When your kids are going to try a strenuous physical activity, always make sure they are wearing the appropriate safety gear. For example, children should be wearing knee pads, elbow pads and helmets when they go out to die their bike.
Children in the pool should have flotation devices if the water is deeper than they are tall, regardless of their swimming ability. Outfitting them in the right safety gear can protect them from the worst injuries should they run into an accident. However, these gear is no guarantee and you should remain vigilant, especially with younger kids.
- Watch Out for Insect Bites
Finally, make sure to protect them from insect bites as much as you can. Although there are venomous insects in the United States, the more common danger is from insects that act as disease vectors. The two most common insects you need to ward children from are mosquitoes and ticks. The former can carry malaria, dengue and West Nile virus.
Ticks are infamous for being breeding grounds for Lyme disease. Trim you yard, fumigate the property and always give your kids bug spray and a thick layer of insect repellent if your yard has lots of plants and underbrush.
Children deserve to spend their days in play and in comfort. Injuries and accidents will happen, even if you are very careful but if you take the proper precautions, your children will walk away from them with a few scrapes and bruises rather than in a cast.