The world is a jungle gym to little ones. Anything — and everything — can be a mountain to hike, a vine to swing on, or a river to dive into … at least through their eager eyes. But these fun adventures can quickly turn dangerous, even in your own home. Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for children in the United States, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Although you may joke about keeping your kids in a plastic bubble to keep them from harm, there are more practical ways to make sure they’re safe, inside and outside your home.
May is National Trauma Awareness Month, and Safe Kids Worldwide offers these fall prevention tips to keep your kids safe.
1. Inside the Home
- Use approved safety gates at the tops and bottoms of all staircases. Not all safety gates are intended for use at the tops of stairs, so make sure to find one that is.
- Secure all furniture and TVs to the wall if possible. Use baby gates to keep your children out of rooms with potentially dangerous furniture that can’t be secured.
- Purchase anti-slip mats and rugs for bathrooms, hallways and other hard floor surfaces.
- Keep hallways and stairs clutter-free to avoid trips.
- Don’t let your kids horse around or play on stairs, balconies, elevated porches or decks.
- Keep baby walkers away from stairs. Try using stationary activity centers to encourage your child’s growth and development.
- Invest in window guards to protect your children when the windows are open — screens can keep bugs out, but can’t keep children in!
- Install window stops that only allow windows to be opened about four inches.
- Keep all furniture like cribs, beds and chairs away from windows so little climbers aren’t tempted to explore near a window.
- Strap kids securely into all high chairs, carriers, swings and strollers so they can’t climb out.
- Remember that most seats and carriers are only safe on flat, ground-level surfaces. Avoid placing them on counter tops and tables.
3. Outside Play
- Take your children to playgrounds that use rubber, synthetic turf, sand, mulch, wood chips or pea-gravel grounds for a cushioned surface in case they fall.
- Make sure your kids always wears a helmet while biking, rollerblading, skateboarding or engaging in any other activity that could result in a fall and possible head injury.
- Allow play only on appropriate surfaces. Riding bikes down steps or jumping off jungle gyms can be extremely dangerous, especially for older kids who may not be as closely supervised while playing.
- Strap your kids in the shopping cart securely.
- Never leave children unattended in a shopping cart, even if you’re just looking away for a moment.
- Use shopping carts with permanent wheeled attachments (some stores have fun attachments like cars or trucks).
- Only allow your kids to ride in seats intended for children. Keep them out of the cart basket; under the basket; or on the sides, front or back of the cart. Riding in these areas can be dangerous.
We all expect bumps and bruises from our kiddos, but following these simple tips can help protect our little explorers from more serious injuries.