June is National Safety Month, which serves as a wonderful reminder for parents, teachers and caregivers to review important safety steps to keep kids safe. While there's no way to prevent every accident, there are many steps you can take to reduce the chances your kids will get hurt. Here are five areas that are particularly dangerous to young kids and what you can do:
Eliminate poison dangers
Poisonings are the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for all ages combined, according to the National Safety Council. More than 90 percent of all poisonings happen at home, so it's important to keep any dangerous items far away from curious kids. Lock cabinets that contain any toxic products such as cleaners or detergents. Also keep medicine (OTC and prescription) out of reach and ideally locked up. Kids can mistake medicine for candy, which can have serious consequences. Finally, store the Poison Control number (800-222-1222) in your phone and post it in a convenient place at home.
The No. 1 cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 is drowning. If your child is around any source of water it's important they are constantly supervised. It might not seem like a big deal to step away from the tub for a moment, especially if it's only filled with a few inches of water, but in reality it's a huge risk. Whether heading into a bath, pool or lake, gather everything you need before entering the water so you don't have to leave to get something. Take turns supervising with other adults and teach kids about the buddy system. For more smart water-safety tips, visit www.nsc.org.
Secure motor vehicles
Distracted driving is a top cause of accidents, so when you are in the car, put down your phone and stay focused on the road. To keep kids safe, use the appropriate car seat for your child's weight and height. Keep your tots in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible. This can reduce the likelihood of injuries should you get into an accident. For all seats, consider getting a professional car seat installation check, often available at no cost at police stations or hospitals. Check out Safe Kids Worldwide for car seat checkup events near you.
Talk about strangers
Have a talk with children about strangers and why they should never leave with someone they don't know. In addition to having this conversation, parents can be prepared by keeping a SmileSafe photo ID card accessible. If a child goes missing, law enforcement can call the phone number on the card and retrieve a current photo of the missing child, usually within 15 minutes. This photo can be used to help police and the community locate the child as quickly as possible. Lifetouch Portraits supplies SmileSafe cards at no cost to all families who purchase school portraits from them.
Reduce choking risks
Kids are still learning to chew thoroughly and eat without rushing. Choking is a major concern, especially for preschool-age children. Caregivers should always make sure to cut food into small bite-size pieces, especially hot dogs, grapes, cheese and raw vegetables — all foods known to pose a higher choking risk. What's more, consider taking a CPR class that explains the proper procedures for children. Knowing what to do in case of an emergency is very empowering.
Remember, nobody knows it all. If you're unsure about safety steps for your kids, be proactive and ask. Your family doctor, kids' teachers, local law enforcement organizations and even fellow parents are great resources for safety tips for kids.
June is National Safety Month, which serves as a wonderful reminder for parents, teachers and caregivers to review important safety steps to keep kids safe. Check out these five common dangers and how you can keep your kids safe.