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How to prevent childhood injuries

Your children are a piece of your heart and soul. Thinking about ways they could get hurt out in the world can be a scary thing. Especially with infants and small children, it seems everywhere you turn, there are hazards to their health and safety. The world is not baby-proofed or child-proofed everywhere they go. Fortunately, there are a few things you can keep in mind and take precautions to prevent childhood accidents or injuries inside and outside the home as much as possible.

What is the most common way children get injured?

  • Accidental falls are the number one cause of injury-related emergency room visits for children.
  • Car accidents are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children under the age of 15.
  • Other ways children get injured or killed include drowning, poisoning, burns, choking or an accident with guns.

Here are tips on how to prevent some of the most common childhood injuries:

Accidental falls: keep furniture away from windows to reduce the chance of children climbing up to windows, latch all windows and secure all screens, keep stairways and other hazardous areas gated securely, keep clutter and tripping hazards free from walkways and do not use a baby walker. When you're out and about, make sure your children wear helmets, pads or other protective gear when riding a bicycle or rollerskating, allow them to play in playgrounds with safe surfaces like wood chips, pebbles or rubber flooring, use seat belts in shopping carts and do not place an infant carrier car seat on the front seat area of the shopping cart. If your child was injured on someone else's property, or at a business, a premises liability case could help you recover monetary compensation.

Car accidents: make sure you follow the manufacturer's recommended weight and height restrictions for each car seat you use. Do not purchase a used car seat. Do not use an expired car seat (car seats usually expire about six years from when they were manufactured). Some guidelines on appropriate car seat safety include:

  • Infants should ride in rear-facing car seats
  • Children age two and older (toddlers and pre-schoolers) can transition to a forward-facing car seat
  • School-aged children should ride in booster seats
  • Older children (when they are old enough and large enough for a vehicle seat belt to fit them) should use a lap and shoulder belt at all times
  • Children younger than 13 years old should always ride in the back seat

If your child was injured in a car accident due to someone else's negligence, such as speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving or simply not paying attention, a personal injury attorney can help you with your case.

Poisoning: Keep all hazards like medicines, cleaning supplies and chemicals out of children's reach. This means using latches for cabinets, using child-proof door knobs for rooms or closets that contain hazards (and keeping the door closed at all times) and not storing harmful substances in bottles labeled otherwise, like transferring a cleaner into a juice bottle or food container. Make sure all plants in your home or garden are not poisonous if they are ingested. Keep the phone number for the poison control center in an easy-to-find area in your house, like on the refrigerator. Better yet, you can save the phone number in your cell phone. Call this number anytime you suspect your child may have ingested something that you are not sure could be poisonous, or if you have questions on what could be poisonous to your child. For poisoning, sometimes a product that had inadequate warning labels could be to blame for the injury.

Even if you follow all safety precautions carefully, babies or children can still get accidentally injured. It is an unfortunate reality in today's world. If your child was injured, a personal injury attorney can assess the situation and find out if someone else's negligence caused the injury. An attorney can also help you get compensation for the damages your child has endured.

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