Children's injuries can be avoided

Monday, March 22, 2010

Unintentional injuries in children are a serious public health concern.

Not only are "accidents" the leading cause of death in children ages 3-8, they can result in long-term impairments -- such as traumatic brain injury -- as well as short-term impairments -- such as stitches or broken bones.

Spring and summer are generally the busiest season for unintentional injuries: falling off the slide, flying off the swing, tripping over a sprinkler, running into the street, getting struck by a thrown or batted ball, falling off a bicycle or scooter, being stung or bitten by an insect, getting cut climbing on a fence, etc.

The good news is unintentional injuries are all preventable. And the experts say that proper parental supervision -- not just rules -- is the key to reducing injury risk.

Parents, you are the safety net. Your involvement and keen eye on preventative measures effectively decreases injury risk of young children at play. Talk to your children and explain the safety rules they must comply with. They need to know the parameters that will allow them maximum fun at play with minimal hazards.

There are many ways to help reduce children's injuries this spring and summer, and here are some timely preventative tips for parents on the following topics:

* Creating rules (no jumping on the bed, no running by the pool) isn't enough.

* Children do not necessarily understand rules just because they can repeat them.

* Even if a child says they understand rules, it doesn't mean they actually do.

* Around the home, injuries are less likely to occur in the places parents think are more injury prone (e.g., bathroom, kitchen) because these areas tend to be better supervised.

Parents, take the time to preach safety first to your young children as they grow and adapt to new activities that may or may not carry safety issues with them.

And remember, the younger your children are, the more supervision and direction they need!