A Parent's Guide to Child Safety - NY Requirements Blog
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A Parent's Guide to Child Safety
Posted by Julia Tortorice

Children are some of the most vulnerable people and the least likely to be able to look out for themselves. That's why it's crucial that parents and caregivers do whatever is necessary to minimize the risk of harm to children. This may include changes to the home environment as well as teaching children about how they can stay safe while they are at home, in the water, on the roads, or online.

Safety at Home

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, every minute of every day, one child dies from a preventable injury. There are many ways that parents can prevent injury to children at home, starting as soon as they're born. Babies should be placed on their backs to sleep until they are 1. They need to sleep in their own crib and not beside a parent or guardian. The mattress chosen for an infant should be firm. No accessories should be on the mattress, as this may cause harm if the baby moves.

Children are often at eye level with cleaning items and other household products stored under counters and sinks, so parents should move these items out of the reach of kids to prevent poisoning. All containers with potentially poisonous material should have the original labels left on them, so parents can follow any guidance written on them if a child consumes the contents. Medications should also be moved out of children's reach. If a child ingests something potentially harmful, contact poison control immediately.

Water Safety

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death for young children. Toddlers in particular can be very curious, and they often love the water. This curiosity is probably why the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages that parents childproof bathroom doors and even toilet seats to keep young children out. Inflatable pools, buckets, and bathtubs should be drained immediately after use. Parents should monitor children close to water sources and never leave them in the bathtub unsupervised. If possible, teach children how to swim as early as you can.

Fire Safety

Hundreds of children die in fires every year. Residential fires are the primary cause of fire-related deaths and injuries among children. More than 70% of fire-related deaths are due to smoke inhalation, not the actual flames. It's crucial to teach children what to do in a fire, including how to escape to safety and what to do if their clothes catch fire. Make an escape plan for your home, and practice fire drills to ensure that everyone knows what route to take and where to meet up if there's a fire. Also, be sure to teach children about dialing 911 in an emergency.

  • Be Burn Aware: Follow these tips to prevent a fire at home and be prepared to handle one if it does happen.
  • Children and Fire Safety: Learn statistics about children and fires and find tips to prevent injury on this page.
  • Have Fun With Fire Safety: Give kids this activity book and let them explore the fun activities inside to learn about fire safety.
  • Fire Safety for Children: Read fire facts and fire prevention tips for children on this page.
  • What to Do in a Fire: Fire drills shouldn't just happen at school. Home fire drills can help kids practice what to do in an emergency.

Wheeled Sports Safety

Many kids enjoy wheeled sports like biking or skating, but without the proper protection, these activities can be dangerous. Parents can help their children stay safe by choosing the correct equipment, including helmets and pads. When buying a bicycle, choose the right size for the child: There's no such thing as "growing into it" when it comes to bikes. Ensure that the tires are properly inflated, the brakes work, and the chains are oiled. And make sure that the child always wears a helmet when using a bike, skateboard, scooter, or skates.

Road Safety

A study done in 2015 found that 95% of child safety seats were not being used correctly: The seats were either installed improperly or not adjusted properly to secure the child. It's important to make sure that you're following all of the manufacturer's instructions to properly install the car seat in your vehicle. Parents must also ensure that their child is using the right seat and configuration for their size; do not switch to a forward-facing seat or a booster seat before the child has outgrown the recommended limit for the previous configuration. Keep children buckled up properly at all times when you're on the road to keep them safe.

Pedestrian Safety

According to the NHTSA, in 2010, 7% of all pedestrian fatalities happened to children under 15 years old. Children must be taught to be safe while out walking, including rules like looking both ways before crossing the street and using crosswalks. Educate older children about the dangers of using a cellphone while walking near traffic, and make sure that children who walk to school have a planned safe route to travel. Parents need to do their own part to keep kids safe, too: Many fatalities happen when a car going in reverse hits a child walking behind the vehicle, so drivers must take care to look out for pedestrians, especially when backing up.

Internet Safety

Cybersafety is an awareness of how to protect your computer and your personal information from criminals while on the Internet. The Internet is a great resource for parents and children alike, but it is also rife with dangers. Parents can help to protect their children by using passwords and filters to block potentially damaging websites and content. It is parents' responsibility to know who their children speak with virtually and what they share about themselves.