Children are naturally curious and can often be injured by falling, touching a hot stove, etc., but there are steps parents and guardians can take to prevent these injuries. Dr. Kathy Monroe, medical director of the Children’s of Alabama Emergency Department and a professor of pediatrics at UAB, shares that injuries are the leading cause of death to children in the U.S. Here is a list of four common injuries and simple ways you can prevent them.
1. Motor vehicle crashes. Dr. Monroe explains that motor vehicle collisions are the number one leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for children, adolescents and teenagers. “Appropriate child passenger safety restraints save so many lives,” she explains. Car seats work, Dr. Monroe stresses, adding, “I’ve said a thousand times, if they made car seats for adults, I would be in one.” As models, adults should wear seatbelts and ensure that all of the passengers are as well.
2. Sleep-related deaths. Roughly 3,500 sleep-related deaths occur among U.S. babies each year. Dr. Monroe suggests following the ABCs of safe sleep: Alone, on his or her Back and in a Crib. The crib should have nothing in it except for a fitted sheet. Sadly, she often sees infants that have suffocated due to pillows or toys in the crib. She adds that it is okay to sleep in the same room as your infant, just be sure that they are not in the same bed as you.
3. Water-related deaths. For ages 1-4, drownings are the number one cause of death. “Drownings can be in a bucket of water, in the tub, in a lake or pool,” Dr. Monroe adds. Swim lessons decrease the chance of drowning. However, there should always be close adult supervision near water. Adding a gate around a pool with a lock also greatly protects children from drowning.
4. Fire-safety. Having working smoke alarms in every room of your house- besides kitchens and bathrooms- is very important, Dr. Monroe says. She suggests teaching children very early what that sound means. Test your smoke alarms every six months while your children are at home so you can discuss and practice exit plans, meeting spots, and more.
Look for a green rooftop at Children’s of Alabama on November 18 as they “help light the way toward child injury prevention” and celebrate Injury Prevention Day. To learn more visit www.childrensofal.org/emergency-department.