Children Health Information
Safety and Accident Prevention
- The back seat is the safest place, especially if there is a front passenger-side airbag. Infants under 20 pounds and 1 year of age should ride in rear-facing seats. Children over 20 pounds and 1 year of age can ride in forward-facing seats. Children over 40 pounds should ride in booster seats until they are bigenough In order to minimize the risk of the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (also known as SIDS or crib death) always place healthy newborns and young infants to sleep on their backs. Remember, "Back to Sleep". Be sure babies sleep on a firm mattress; don't use fluffy blankets or comforters under the baby and don't place stuffed toys or pillows in the crib. Don't smoke during pregnancy or around the baby. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature, but not too warm.
- All 50 states require that children ride in car safety seats or with seat belts. The to use a lap and shoulder belt properly and comfortably.
- Firearms should be removed from homes where children live or play. If this is not possible, then lock them away securely.
- All children should use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. When possible keep children out of the sun when the sun's rays are strongest (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). The risk for malignant melanoma (a frequently fatal form of skin cancer) begins during childhood with the first sunburn.
- If parents smoke they should quit, If that is not possible, do not smoke around children (not in any room indoors or in the car). Children of parents who smoke have more respiratory infections, ear infections and have a greater risk of developing asthma.
- It is unlikely that infants can be made "water safe", therefore there is little reason for infant swimming programs. Parents may develop a false sense of security if they think their infants can "swim" a few strokes. Organized group swimming should be reserved for children older than 4 years. Parents should never - even for a moment - leave children alone near open water in homes (bathtubs, toilets, spas or open buckets) or near open bodies of water, such as lakes or swimming pools.
- Hundreds of thousands of children visit emergency rooms each year because of injuries sustained in playground accidents. To prevent these occurrences, the most important thing a parent can do is to provide close supervision. Preschool age children are at the greatest risk. Since most injuries are due to a fall, be sure that the child's play area is covered with a shock-absorbing surface such as sand, wood chips, gravel or a rubber mat. Also, check for other hazards like broken glass, sharp edges and hot metal sliding boards.
- The best way to prevent poisonings at home is to lock up all toxic substances where children cannot get to them. Most poisonings occur when parents are not paying close attention such as during preparation of dinner. Young children are usually poisoned by toxic substances found in the house. Examples are medications, paints and solvents, pesticides, cleaning products, plants and cosmetics. Keep a bottle of syrup of ipecac on hand at all times. Use it only on the advice of the poison center or your pediatrician. Post the number of the poison center near the telephone.
Preventing accidents and providing safety for children is a full-time job for parents. These issues must be planned for well ahead of time so that the proper measures can be taken before an unfortunate incident occurs.