Children's Injury Prevention On The Go
Road injuries can often be fatal for children and lack of an age-appropriate restraint such as an infant seat, a booster seat or a seat belt, are often the cause of death in children during a car crash. Follow these basic tips to keep your child safe in a car:
- Choose the right car seat – Check if your car seat is appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Take note of your car seat’s expiration date and don’t use an expired car seat.
- Choose the right direction –
- Infants: Children two years and under should be in a rear-facing car seat.
- Toddlers: Children between the ages of two to four should be kept in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. Once they cross the height-weight limit set by car seat manufacturers, switch them to a forward-facing car seat or convertible seat with a harness.
- Younger children – Children between the ages of four to eight should be kept in a forward-facing car seat for as long as possible. Once they cross the manufacturer’s height-weight limit, move them to a booster seat with a lap and shoulder belt.
- Older children – Children between 8 to 12 years should be kept in a booster seat until they can properly fit in a car’s seat belt. Children should continue to ride in the back seat until they are at least 13 years of age.
- Install your car seat correctly – Ensure that your car seat is installed correctly. For tips, refer to Safe Kids Worldwide’s quick car seat checklist or visit a car seat fitting station near you for a car seat checkup by a certified technician.
- Prevent Heatstroke – Never leave your child unattended in your car. Not only is it against the law in many states, it can pose a serious risk to your child as temperatures in your car can rise quickly and cause heatstroke.
Bike riding is a great physical and mental activity for kids but it is important to follow some basic safety tips that protect your child from injury:
- Wear a helmet – Helmets can greatly reduce the risk of serious head injury; make your child wear a helmet that fits him or her properly. Check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s tips on Fitting a Bike Helmet.
- Check Your Bicycle – Inspect your child’s bicycle regularly to make sure that brakes work and tires are properly inflated. Ensure that the seat is properly adjusted to your child’s height.
- Follow Rules of the Road – Instruct your child to follow traffic rules, be alert and use hand signals, where required. Ride in designated bicycle lanes or on the sidewalk. If none of these are available, ride in the same direction as traffic on the extreme right hand side of the road.
- Avoid Riding at Night – Riding at night can be dangerous, especially on roads that are poorly lit. If you can’t avoid riding at night, make sure that you and your child are using reflectors, a headlight and taillight, and wearing bright, reflective clothing.
For more information, see Safe Kids Worldwide’s Bike Safety Tips
Almost 361,000 children ages five and younger were treated in U.S. emergency rooms between 1990 and 2010 for stroller or carrier-related injuries, according to a recent study in Academic Pediatrics.
While a majority of these injuries were minor, researchers found that a quarter of the stroller injuries — and more than one-third of carrier injuries — resulted in traumatic brain injuries or concussions.
Follow these tips and precautions to avoid stroller or carrier-related injuries:
- Buckle up: Buckle your child properly into a stroller or carrier. Read instructions before using a baby carrier and hold your child carefully while taking them in or out of the carrier.
- Keep stroller handles clear: Avoid hanging heavy bags on stroller handles that could cause them to tip over.
- Buy the right stroller or carrier: Buy a stroller or carrier that is appropriate for your child’s age and size. Check weight limitations on baby carriers and strollers before continuing to use them.
- Check for product recalls: Register your new stroller or carrier with the manufacturer so that you receive alerts, in case the product is recalled.
- Hit the brakes: Lock your stroller’s wheels when it is parked to prevent it from rolling downhill. Keep carriers as close to ground level as possible to minimize injury in case of a fall.