Parents just can’t imagine it could happen to them, but it happens far too often. Every day, six children die from an injury in the home and 10,000 go to the emergency department because of household injuries. The good news is that we know how to prevent these injuries.
“Report to the Nation: Protecting Children in Your Home,” a report made possible by funding from Nationwide, is based on a survey of 1,010 parents across America. It explores what parents are concerned about and what they do—or don’t do— to keep kids safe in the home. Safe Kids Upstate, a performance team in the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy, part of GHS Children’s Hospital, works to prevent unintentional childhood injuries, which are the No. 1 cause of death for children in the United States.
When asked what parents are concerned about in the home, drowning barely made the list, with only 1 percent listing it as a concern. Yet every week a child dies from drowning in a bathtub. One in eight parents surveyed say they left their young child alone in the bathtub for five minutes or longer. What were the reasons given? Getting towels, checking on other children and cooking are the top reasons parents leave children unattended during bath time.
TIP: Give young children your full and undivided attention when they are in the bathtub or around water.
While parents say they are worried about fire safety and 96 percent report they have a smoke alarm, 14 percent said they never check their smoke alarm battery. Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by half. In a fire, seconds count. You could have less than two minutes to escape a home fire from the time a smoke alarm sounds. Be prepared by drawing a map of your home marking two exits to a path outside.
TIP: Check smoke alarm batteries every six months to make sure they are working.
For children under the age of 1, suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related death. In a separate study among parents of children age 1 and under, Safe Kids learned that 73 percent of parents say they place items in the crib with their baby, including blankets, bumpers and stuffed animals, all of which can be suffocation hazards.
TIP: Keep cribs clear of objects, and make sure babies sleep alone, on their backs, and in a crib every time they sleep.
Only 4 percent of parents expressed concern about poisoning. Poison Control Centers answer more than 1 million calls a year about children 5 and under who have gotten into medicine or other dangerous products such as vitamins, eye drops, diaper rash products and vapor rubs.
TIP: Keep all medicine up and away, even medicine you take every day. Be alert to medicine stored in other locations, like pills in purses, vitamins on counters, and medicine on nightstands.
Learn more at www.safekidsupstate.org!
Daby Snipes, EdS, is a program coordinator with the Bradshaw Institute for Community Child Health & Advocacy Safe Kids Upstate, part of GHS Children’s Hospital. Get more tips at safekidsupstate.org and follow Safe Kids Upstate at facebook.com/safekidsupstate.