Tricounty News

Biggest risks to kids' safety

No parent wants to think about a child being hurt in any way. But despite a 45 percent drop in the accidental injury death rate of children ages 14 and younger since 1987, accidental injury remains the number one killer of kids ages one to 14 in the United States. Three of the leading causes of accidental injury death to children one to 14 are motor vehicle collisons, drowning and fire/burns. Safe Kids USA has come up with the following suggestions to help parents identify and avoid the top risks to their children's safety: • Child passenger safety-Motor vehicle collisions can cause serious injuries, including damage to the head, spine and internal organs. Make sure your child is riding safely in the car by checking the car or booster seat instructions to ensure it has been installed properly. Make sure your child is using the right restraint for his or her height, weight and age. Most children will not be the right size to be in a seat belt by itself until between ages 8-12. Also, make sure children always ride in a back seat of the car on all rides. • Drowning prevention-For children ages one to four, drowning is one of the leading causes of injury-related death, and occurs most commonly in swimming pools. Actively supervise children when they are in or near water and stay right beside children until they can swim, even if they are just playing near water. Install four-sided fencing at home swimming pools with a self-closing, self-latching gate. • Fire/burn-To help prevent burns, Safe Kids USA urges caregivers to: 1. Set water heaters to 120 degrees F. or lower. Consider putting an anti-scald device (about $30) on each water tap and shower head, and check the temperature of a baby's bath water before putting the baby in. 2. Prevent spills. If possible, cook on a back burner. Don't let pot handles stick out where they can snag loose clothing, and avoid wearing long sleeves or baggy clothes in the kitchen. Don't place containers of hot food or liquor near the edge of a counter, and don't pick up anything hot while holding a baby. 3. Keep electrical cords out of reach-especially extension cords and cords connected to heating appliances. Make sure electrical cords can't be pulled or snagged into a bathtub or sink. Don't leave a hot iron sitting on an ironing board unattended. Metro Editorial Services