Protect Kids From Unintentional Injuries

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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As the school year ends and children have more free time for outdoor activities, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and Safe Kids Florida advise parents and caregivers to watch for safety hazards and ensure that children have full supervision. In Florida during 2007, approximately 444 children age 14 and under died of unintentional injuries. Approximately, another 6,000 were hospitalized because of unintentional injuries. That translates to approximately 16 injuries per day. Injuries are also the leading killer of Floridians ages 1-44.

“Serious injuries, such as spinal cord injuries and brain damage, can have lasting impacts well into adulthood,” said Deputy Secretary for Health Jean Kline, R.N., B.S.N., M.P.H. “These injuries can be prevented if parents and caregivers take the right steps, especially if those steps are based on a child's cognitive, behavioral and physical abilities at the time.”

To help reduce unintentional injury, Safe Kids USA recently released “Raising Safe Kids: One Stage at a Time,“ a child development and unintentional injury study which is the first to link age-appropriate safety tips to an extensive analysis of research on children's cognitive, behavioral and physical development.

In Florida, the unintentional injury death rate for children ages 14 and under is 10.8 (per 100,000 population). Florida has a Safe Kids presence in 29 of the 67 counties. These counties with a Safe Kids Chapter (or Coalition) have a lower unintentional injury rate than counties without a Safe Kids presence (9.6 compared to 13.6 per 100,000).

The Office of Injury Prevention is the lead agency for Safe Kids Florida. Safe Kids Chapters and Coalitions work to reduce childhood injuries through various safety activities that involve children and parents.

DOH and Safe Kids Florida remind parents and caregivers to:

* Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.

* Always lock a vehicle's doors and trunk. Keep keys and remote entry devices out of children's reach.

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* Ensure playground equipment is inspected frequently and kept in good repair.

* Always actively supervise children in and around water. Do not leave, even for a moment. Stay where you can see, hear and reach a child in the water. Avoid talking on the phone, preparing a meal, reading and other distractions.

* Do not leave toys in or near the pool, where they could attract unsupervised children. For extra protection, consider a pool alarm and alarms on the doors, windows and gates leading to the pool.

* Lock up potential poisons out of sight and reach of children. These include makeup, medicine, plants, cleaning products, pesticides, art supplies, and beer, wine and liquor.

* Choose medicines and products that have child-resistant caps. When you give medicine to your children, follow dosage directions carefully.

* Before signing up for a sport, your child should get a general physical exam.

* Always have children do warm-ups and cool-downs. If it's important before and after a game, it's important before and after practice too.

* Ensure that bicycle helmets fit and your child knows how to put them on correctly. A helmet should sit on top of the head in a level position and should not rock forward and backward or side to side.

Model and teach proper bicyclist behavior. Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible.

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