November is National Child Safety and Protection Month. And while you may be fretting over where to spend Thanksgiving, don’t forget to protect the little ones in your life you’re most thankful for. Everyday places and occasions can present safety challenges; whether in the car, at school or even at home. To help you protect your children through all childhood stages, Potterton Rule offers these safety and protection tips you may not have considered.
More than 9,000 children are taken to the emergency room each year for injuries that occur while left unattended in and around motor vehicles. Whether you’re taking a road trip to Grandma’s or just dropping your kids off at school, there are plenty of safety precautions when traveling in a car.
• Before you go anywhere, it’s important to make sure everyone is safe and secure inside. If your child requires the use of a car or booster seat, make sure it’s properly installed. Though 73% of car seats aren’t used or installed correctly, they can reduce the risk of death by up to 71% when they are! Likewise, if your child is big enough to sit in a regular seat, make sure they get into a good habit of buckling up every time
o NOTE: Check this Insurance Institute for Highway Safety web site, listing individual state laws on safety belts and children restraints. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/laws/safetybeltuse
• Always make sure your path is clear before backing up. Every week, at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles
• Designate a safe spot for your kids to wait when you load the car, and keep them close by when you’re near other vehicles
• Keep your vehicle locked at all times, even in the garage to reduce the risk of kids playing with the vehicle and potentially harming themselves or others
• Children’s bodies heat up 3-5 times faster than adults’, so it’s critical that you never leave them alone in an unattended vehicle. In just 20 minutes, temperatures in a vehicle can increase 29 degrees. So, if it’s 80 degrees outside and your child is in the car while you run into the store, the car can easily be over 100 degrees upon your return
With kids in the house, it’s important to change your view of everything – literally! Get down on your hands and knees and take a look around from their height and inquisitive perspective; anything that catches your attention will be infinitely more interesting to them. There are a lot of little things you can do to reduce the risk of injury. To start, make sure you secure any heavy furniture and TVs that are prone to tipping over, especially as your child learns to walk, crawl, climb, and explore. In addition, make sure you keep any dangerous items such as medications, firearms, and hazardous chemicals hidden and out of the reach of children. Likewise, be sure to keep small objects and toys away from small children, as they can quickly become choking hazards. Remember, kids are imaginative, even seemingly harmless cords and knick-knacks can be dangerous in the wrong little hands.
When it comes to dangerous places in your home, your kitchen is likely at the top of the list. Make sure you’re aware of these obvious dangers:
• Sharp Cooking Utensils – Make sure your sharp knives are kept out of the reach of small children, and be sure to help and supervise older kids if they’re going to use them. Likewise, never place your sharp knives into a sink full of water, as someone could reach in and get hurt
• Hot Burners – Make sure you teach your kids about the importance of stove safety. Teach them about the dangers of hot stoves, and what they should do in case of a fire or burn. To make sure your children can’t reach for any hot objects, use the back burners of your stove, turn pot handles away from the edge, and keep hot food away from the edge of the counters
• Food Safety – When it comes time to prepare the food, teach your children about the dangers of consuming raw foods and the importance of washing your hands while cooking. In addition, make sure you cut food for toddlers and young children into tiny pieces. Children under five are much more prone to choking on small, round, hard foods, so use great caution with hot dogs, cheese sticks, grapes, candy, and other foods that can easily get stuck in their throats
It’s one thing to keep your children safe from harm in the safety of your own home, but it’s a whole new challenge when they’re out in public. In fact, pedestrian injuries are the fifth leading cause of injury-related death among children in the United States! When you’re out with your kids, make sure you teach them about the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street, how to use traffic signals/crosswalks, and to always pay attention to where they’re walking. With teenagers especially, make sure they’re not distracted by any devices before stepping out into the street. If they’re under the age of 10, make sure you cross the street with them, as it can be hard for children to judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic.
Throughout the lives of your children, there will be countless instances where you need to play the role of guardian angel. Though you won’t be able to protect them at every turn, these tips will certainly help you make an impact. To learn more about how you can protect your children from life’s dangers, contact your local independent insurance agent today!