It has become a cliché of modern life, but parents are willing to do anything to keep their children safe from harm. We go to great lengths to “baby-proof” our homes and surroundings so that our children can be safe. But there are three areas that parents may feel like they have less control than in their own homes. So, in honor of Baby Safety Month, here are tips and ideas on how to keep your baby safe in the car, in the water, and at daycare.
Buckle Them Up
When it comes to children and car safety, relative age seems to be no guarantee of safety. Here are some disturbing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Child_Passenger_Safety/CPS-Factsheet.html).
- In 2013, over 600 children (12 and under) died from car accidents including 38% of whom were not buckled or restrained in safety seats;
- Over 127,000 children (12 and under) were injured in car accidents; and
- In one year of a CDC study, over 618,000 children (12 and under) rode in a vehicle without a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt.
When it comes to keeping your little one safe in the car, child safety seats are an absolute must. But it is not enough to just have a car seat. You have to use it and you have to use it correctly. Make sure that you always use a rear-facing car seat until your child weighs at least 20 pounds (35 pounds if your car seat will allow).
In addition, make sure that the car seat is in the back seat of the car. A car seat in the front seat can lead to serious injury if the air bag deploys. You also want to make sure that the car seat is installed securely and properly harnessed. Your local police department, public safety office, or children’s hospital will be happy to help you in making sure that your car seat is installed correctly.
Make a Splash with Water Safety
One of the areas that parents may not realize is a risk is in water safety. They assume that their child won’t be swimming, so why worry. However, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has noted that about 240 children (under 5 years old) drown each year in pools and about 110 children drown in other water sources such as “bathtubs, hot tubs, spas, buckets, and other containers” (http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/consumerawareness/a/homedrowning.htm).
In order to avoid the horrific risk of losing a child in such a manner, be sure to never leave a child unsupervised during bath time. It just takes a few seconds for a child who is unsupported to slip and fall underneath the water. In addition, be sure to baby-proof and close toilet lids. This may seem harmless, but inquisitive children just learning how to walk and explore have been known to fall in and drown.
When it comes to spas and pools, make sure that you have a security fence around these areas to keep unsupervised children out. You’ll also want to install motion-detecting alarms that will alert you if a child tries to go into the yard and play in the pool without you. Doing all of this will help teach your child the importance of water safety as they grow up and see these precautions.
What About When You Can’t Be There? Daycare Safety
Daycares have become a necessity for many working families trying to handle careers to make ends meet. But how do you know you can trust your child to be safe when they are with strangers? It seems like every week there is a new horror story about an accident or incident in a school or daycare. A survey of the National Institute of Child Health Development revealed that the majority of daycares in the United States are only rated “fair” or “poor” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/15/five-shocking-facts-about-child-care-in-the-united-states/).
In fact, only ten percent of them are deemed to be “high-quality,” despite the exorbitant prices that they charge. There are a couple of ways to ensure that your child is safe and healthy at daycare include making sure you stay involved and active at the daycare. Call to check on your child or stop by when you can to see if everything appears to be going well. Also, make sure that you get written reports from the daycare on your child’s activities such as naps and feeding and behavior. If they will not provide these or if you don’t get full information, you might want to shop around for another center.
In addition, you can also look for daycares that have embraced technology. Some daycares have video cameras installed so that you can remotely view what is going on with your child. This will provide you with peace of mind when it comes to your child’s safety.
It is every parent’s worst nightmare: seeing your child injured or worse because of an accident. Although you can’t wrap your child in bubble-wrap and protect them from all of the dangers of the world, it is possible to care for them and take proactive measures to protect them. If you feel that your child has been hurt due to negligence, leading to suffering or further injury, then you should contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato and learn about your rights regarding child safety.