Every year at Northland Injury Law we encounter many seriously injured children. While we are able to help those children receive compensation to meet future medical needs and other damages as a result of their injuries, our involvement comes too late to prevent those injuries. Please consider the following safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help prevent serious injury to your children:
Young children must never approach dogs without a grown-up’s supervision.
A child should never touch a dog that is growling, showing his teeth, or barking hysterically.
Never attempt to touch a dog that is eating or in possession of a bone or a treat of some sort.
Never hurt the animal by pulling it’s tail or fur for example.
A child should keep his face away from the dog’s, when approaching or playing with them.
Don’t make loud noises or sudden moves when approaching a dog. Speak softly to it.
Avoid eye contact with an aggressive dog, and back off slowly and non-threateningly.
Do not touch, or attempt to touch, the animal’s eyes.
Do not push your child to ride a 2-wheeled bike until he or she is ready, at about age 5 or 6. Consider the child’s coordination and desire to learn to ride. Stick with coaster (foot) brakes until your child is older and more experienced for hand brakes.
Buy a bike that is the right size, not one your child has to “grow into.” Oversized bikes are especially dangerous.
Your child needs to wear a helmet on every bike ride, no matter how short or how close to home.
When purchasing a helmet, look for a label or sticker that says the helmet meets the CPSC safety standard.
A helmet protects your child from serious injury, and should always be worn. And remember, wearing a helmet at all times helps children develop the helmet habit.
A helmet should be worn so that it is level on the head, not tipped forwards or backwards. The strap should be securely fastened, and you should not be able to move the helmet in any direction. If needed, the helmet’s sizing pads can help improve the fit.
Never leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment. Install a fence at least four-feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings or protrusions that a young child could use to get over, under, or through the fence.
Make sure pool gates open out from the pool, and self-close and self-latch at a height children can’t reach.
Keep rescue equipment (a shepherd’s hook – a long pole with a hook on the end – and life preserver) and a portable telephone near the pool.
Avoid inflatable swimming aids such as “floaties.” They are not a substitute for approved life vests and can give children a false sense of security.
Children may not be developmentally ready for swim lessons until after their fourth birthday. Swim programs for children under 4 should not be seen as a way to decrease the risk of drowning.
Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision.”
Install and maintain a shock-absorbing surface under and around the play equipment. Use at least 9 inches of wood chips, mulch, or shredded rubber for play equipment up to 7 feet high. If sand or pea gravel is used, install at least a 9-inch layer for play equipment up to 5 feet high.
Carefully maintain all equipment. Open “s” hooks or protruding bolt ends can be hazardous.
Swing seats should be made of soft materials such as rubber, plastic or canvas.
Make sure children cannot reach any moving parts that might pinch or trap any body part.
Never attach-or allow children to attach-ropes, jump ropes, leashes, or similar items to play equipment; children can strangle on these.
Make sure metal slides are cool to prevent children’s legs from getting burned.
Parents should never purchase a home trampoline or allow children to use home trampolines.
Parents should supervise children on play equipment to make sure they are safe.
Lawn Mower Safety
Try to use a mower with a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is let go.
Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers. Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.
Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing.
Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.
Fireworks can result in severe burns, scars and disfigurement that can last a lifetime.
Fireworks that are often thought to be safe, i.e. sparklers, can reach temperatures above 1000 degrees F, and can burn users and bystanders.
The AAP recommends prohibiting public sale of all fireworks, including those by mail or Internet, and encourages parents to attend professional fireworks displays instead of using fireworks at home.
Children should wear life jackets at all times when on boats or near bodies of water.
Make sure the life jacket is the right size for your child. The jacket should not be loose. It should always be worn as instructed with all straps belted.
Blow-up water wings, toys, rafts and air mattresses should never be used as life jackets or life preservers.
Adults should wear life jackets for their own protection, and to set a good example.