Child Safety Tips - Childhood Injury Prevention

Author: W. Coleman Allen, Jr., Richmond, VA Personal Injury Attorney

Child Safety Tips - Childhood Injury PreventionFifty-six thousand. That is how many children are injured every day in the United States. Every year 12,000 of those injuries prove fatal.[1] The sad fact is that many of these tragedies could have been prevented, by taking precautions and paying proper attention to safety. The “As Safe As Possible Campaign” works to create awareness and draw attention to these dangers by informing parents and other caregivers of the simple steps they can take to keep the children in their charge safe. The campaign was established to highlight some of the most serious and common forms of childhood injury and to explain how they can be prevented. [2]

Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of injury and death for children between the ages of four and eleven. Their smaller, lighter bodies are in great danger during a collision, and many of the safety features designed to keep adults safe either do not work for children or can actually either cause or aggravate injury to a smaller body. Whenever children ride in an automobile, they should be fully provided with safety equipment appropriate to their size and weight. This is very important even on short trips, as most collisions and injuries happen within two miles of the victim’s home.[3]

There are also certain precautions that any responsible parent should take around the house. In addition to basic steps such as locking any drawers or cabinets containing chemicals and keeping children away from exposed heat sources, parents should be aware of the dangers some modern innovations present. In recent years there have been a number of poisoning cases where children swallowed a laundry detergent pod. The old, heavy jugs of laundry detergent were difficult for children to access, but the new, tiny, brightly colored pods closely resemble candy to a child seeing them for the first time. For this reason, it is important to keep laundry detergent pods well out of reach or secured in a cabinet.[4]

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children between the ages of one and four. During the summer months, children are constantly in and out of the neighborhood or backyard pools, and it is only too easy for supervision to become distracted. Drowning can happen quickly and silently, as the majority of child victims slip beneath the surface without a single splash or call for help. Roughly half of all child drowning deaths occur in the presence of, and in fact less than twenty-five feet from a parent or other adult.[5]  In particular during holidays, it is especially important to be aware that simply being present is not sufficient, the parent or other caregiver must also be vigilant. 

Although these statistics can make the world seem a dangerous place, keeping children safe is essentially a matter of knowledge of the risk, preparation and vigilance.  Keeping children safe represents an obligation and a responsibility that we all share. 

About the Author: Coleman Allen is a trial attorney and partner with the Allen Law Firm. His legal career has spanned over 30 years and has included numerous victories for his clients both in and out of the courtroom. Additionally, Coleman is the author of Sources of Coverage: Insurance Coverage for Personal Injury Actions in Virginia. This book is considered the gold standard for insurance coverage in Virginia and is frequently used by not only plantiff's lawyers but also defense lawyers, legislators, and judges all across the Commonwealth.

[1] http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/Child_Injury_Data.html

[2] http://www.epromos.com/education/calendars/national-childhood-injury-prevention-week/

[3] See Footnote 1.

[4] http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/10/health/laundry-pod-poisonings/index.html

[5] http://www.poolsafely.gov/drowning-deaths-injuries/

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