Spring Into Safety

Monday, April 6, 2015

Author Sally Wilson, RN, BSN, is the Education, Prevention, and Outreach Coordinator for the Division of Trauma and Burns at Children’s National Health System and Safe Kids Worldwide. She specializes in pedestrian safety, window fall prevention, and seasonal safety issues.


Spring is here. With that families are bursting from the confines of their homes. From window falls to hot cars, I would like to offer a few simple safety tips to keep young ones and families safe from some common injuries.

Falls

The number one injury for up to age 15

The cause of falls is influenced by the age of the child. Toddlers are very prone to head injuries because they are top heavy, have no fear or sense of consequence, and are discovering new things every day. When children are young, barriers and supervision are key, but as they grow older, they become more mobile and independent. Teaching them safe behaviors, such as wearing a helmet when riding a bike or scooter, limits risk-taking on playgrounds and will help keep them safe.  Additionally, keep windows closed or only open from the top-down and never leave a child unsupervised on a balcony.

Drowning

Leading cause of injury-related death in children ages 1 to 4 years

Here’s how you can help:

  • Never leave children alone near a pool
  • Fencing should be a minimum of 4 feet tall
  • Have safety equipment available
  • Empty all water sources such as buckets and kiddy pools when not in use 
  • Use only approved devices
  • Learn how to swim

Burn Prevention

We see over 1,200 children a year with burns, and most are under 4 years

Scald and contact burns are the most common types of burn. So, a few simple reminders to prevent burns in children are:
  • Never leave children alone around flames, fire pits, campfires, grills, stoves and candles.
  • Keep matches, gasoline and lighters out of reach
  • Place hot food in center of table
  • Never carry children and hot food or drinks at the same time
  • Keep flammable items such as napkins and paper plates away from heat source
  • Teach children what is hot!
Children also need to be aware of sunburns. The sun’s rays are as hot in the spring as they are in the summer even though the air temperature still remains cool and UV, or ultraviolet, rays penetrate through clouds and fog. In sunny spots the sun can heat playground equipment and surfaces hot enough to burn young children’s skin. Please have children wear shoes and if infants and toddlers are still crawling, long pants will protect their tender skin, which can be burned on hot playground surfaces. Use sunscreen that has “Broad Spectrum” on label. Children on certain medications may require extra care in the sun. 

Car Safety

We are a mobile society and I don’t need to speak about how much time we spend in the car. The sun can heat a car quickly to life threating temperatures even if it is still cool outside. Here are some hints that we probably all know, but need to be mindful of:
  • Never leave a child alone in a car
  • Look before you lock – put your purse or briefcase on backseat next to child
  • Call 911 if you see a child alone and in distress
  • Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area
  • Buckle up every ride, every time
Learn more about safety with attached topical safety sheets or call 202-476-4090.

Wishing you a safe and fun-filled spring! 

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