We want to keep our children safe from harm. Take steps to keep your children safe by
- Installing the right child safety seat in your car
- Teaching children how to cross the street safely
- Making sure they wear the right gear and equipment for sports
- Installing and testing smoke alarms
- Storing medicines, cleaners and other dangerous substances in locked cabinets
- Babyproofing your home
- Not leaving small children unattended
About every twelve minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a motor vehicle crash. Trying to prevent these crashes is one part of motor vehicle safety. Here are some things you can do to be safer on the road.
- Make sure your vehicle is safe and in working order
- Use car seats for children
- Wear your seat belt
- Don’t speed or drive aggressively
- Don’t drive impaired
Impaired driving is dangerous and is the cause of more than half of all car crashes. It means operating a motor vehicle while
- Affected by alcohol
- Affected by illegal or legal drugs
- Too sleepy
- Distracted, such as using a cell phone or texting
- Having a medical condition which affects your driving
For your safety and the safety of others, do not drive while impaired. Have someone else drive you or take public transportation when you cannot drive. If you need to take a call or send a text message, pull over. Safety also involves being aware of others. Share the road with bicycles and motorcycles, and watch for pedestrians.
One-third of all families in America that have children also have guns, and more than 40 percent of them don’t keep their guns locked up. Children younger than eight can’t tell the difference between a real gun and a toy, and 3-year-olds are strong enough to pull the trigger on a real gun. Children and teens commit more than half of all unintentional shootings.
Here are some things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe.
- Teach children that they shouldn’t touch guns and that if they see a gun, to leave it alone and tell an adult.
- If your children play at another home, talk to the parents about gun safety.Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
- Always store guns unloaded.
- Lock guns in a rack or safe, and hide the keys or combination.
- Store ammunition away from guns and keep it locked.
- Don’t keep guns in your home if someone in your family has a mental illness, severe depression, or potential for violence.
Safety At School
Your child spends more time at school than anywhere else except home. Schools can have a major effect on children’s health, by teaching about health and promoting healthy behaviors. The school building and environment should be a safe and healthy place for your child.
Schools work to prevent risky behaviors such as alcohol and tobacco use, inactivity or bullying. They may also deal with specific health problems in students, such as asthma, obesity and infectious diseases.
Bullying is when a person or group repeatedly tries to harm someone who is weaker or who they think is weaker. Sometimes it involves direct attacks such as hitting, name calling, teasing or taunting. Sometimes it is indirect, such as spreading rumors or trying to make others reject someone.
Often people dismiss bullying among kids as a normal part of growing up. But bullying is harmful. It can lead children and teenagers to feel tense and afraid. It may lead them to avoid school. In severe cases, teens who are bullied may feel they need to take drastic measures or react violently. Others even consider suicide. For some, the effects of bullying last a lifetime.
Although no child is injury proof, parents can take some simple steps to keep their children from getting head injuries.
Your child should wear a seatbelt at all times when they are in a car or other motor vehicle.
- Use a child safety seat or booster seat that is best for their age, weight, and height. A seat that fits poorly can be dangerous. Ask your doctor or nurse, or check with your local police station, about where you can have your child’s car seat checked for free.
- Children often move from car seats to booster seats when they weigh 40 pounds. There are car seats that are made for children who weigh more than 40 pounds.
- Car and booster seat laws vary by state. It is a good idea to keep your child in a booster seat until they are at least 4’9.”
Do not drive in a car with a child when you have been drinking alcohol.
Wearing a Helmet
Helmets help to prevent head injuries. Your child should wear a helmet that fits properly for the following sports or activities:
- Playing contact sports, such as lacrosse, ice hockey, football
- Riding a skateboard or in-line skates
- Batting or running on the bases during baseball or softball games
- Riding a horse
- Riding a bike
- Sledding, skiing, or snowboarding
Your local sporting goods store, sports facility or bike shop will be able to help make certain the helmet fits properly. You can also contact the American League of Bicyclists.
Almost all major medical organizations recommend against boxing of any sort, even with a helmet.
Older children should always wear a helmet when riding a snowmobile, motorcycle, scooter, or all-terrain vehicle (ATV). If possible, children should avoid riding on these vehicles.
After having a concussion or mild head injury, your child may need a helmet. Always talk with your doctor or nurse about when to return to activities.
See also: Concussion – children – discharge
Keeping Your Home Safe
Install window guards on all windows that can be opened.
Use a safety gate at the top and the bottom of stairs until your child can safely go up and down. Keep stairs free of any clutter. Do not let your children play on stairs or jump on or from furniture.
Do not leave a young infant alone on a high place such as a bed or sofa.
Store all firearms and bullets in a locked cabinet.
Make sure playground surfaces are safe. They should be made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.
Keep your children away from trampolines, if possible.
Some simple steps can keep your child safe in bed:
- Keep the side rails on a crib up.
- Do NOT buy bunk beds. If your children do have bunk beds, make sure there is a side rail and that the frame is strong.
- Do NOT let your kids jump on beds.
Homeless Health Concerns
Poor health can contribute to being homeless, and being homeless can lead to poor health. Limited access to health care can make it worse. That’s why the health of homeless people in the United States is worse than that of the general population. Common health problems include
- Mental health problems
- Substance abuse problems
- Bronchitis and pneumonia
- Problems caused by being outdoors
- Wound and skin infections
Many homeless women are victims of domestic or sexual abuse. Homeless children have high rates of emotional and behavioral problems, often from having witnessed abuse.
There are many different kinds of families. Some have two parents, while others have a single parent. Sometimes there is no parent and grandparents raise grandchildren. Some children live in foster families, adoptive families, or in stepfamilies.
Families are much more than groups of people who share the same genes or the same address. They should be a source of support and encouragement. This does not mean that everyone gets along all the time. Conflicts are a part of family life. Many issues can lead to conflict, such as illness, disability, addiction, job loss, school difficulties and marital problems. Listening to each other and working to resolve conflicts are important in strengthening the family.
Children’s healthy development depends on safe and positive experiences when they are very young. If you work or go to school, you want to know that your child is in good hands while you are away. You may choose in-home care, where the caregiver comes to your home. Or your child might go to the caregiver’s home. Finally, there are child care centers. You need to choose the one that works for your family.
It is important to get to know your child’s caregivers. They will be a big part of your child’s life. The caregiver’s training should involve
- Knowledge of how young children learn and grow
- Positive, consistent discipline
- Knowledge of the signs that a child is sick
- Cleanliness and safety practices to help keep kids from getting sick or hurt
- Basic first aid
For most kids and teens, technology is an important part of their lives. They browse the Web for information, use social networking sites, text, and chat. But there can also be dangers, and it is important for parents to monitor their children’s use and teach them how to be safe online:
- Never give out personal information, such as your full name, address, phone number, or school name
- Tell an adult if any communication (chat, text, e-mail message) makes you feel threatened or uncomfortable
- Never send sexually explicit photographs or messages
- On social networking sites, use privacy controls and only friend people that you know