November 20th is Universal Children's Day, a day instituted by the United Nations' General Assembly to be observed around the world. The U.N.'s goal was to set aside a day to remember the welfare of children across the globe. In honor of Universal Children's Day, Fox Goldblatt & Singer PC wanted to address child safety on today's blog.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 12,000 children (ages 0-18) die in the United States every year due to unintentional injuries. Many more are injured- approximately 9.2 million. This statistic is staggering, but thankfully there are steps everyone can take to dramatically reduce these numbers. Below are some of the top causes of child injury and death in the United States and preventative steps parents and guardians can take.

1. TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS

Statistically, the leading cause of avoidable child death in the United States is transportation accidents.

Although we can't control the way other people drive, there are certain steps we can take to make traveling in the car with children safer. For example,

  • Make sure children only ride in vehicles if they have the proper safety restraints such as car seats or booster seats. The proper child restraints will differ depending on the age, height and weight of your child. Also make sure you stay abreast of child restraint recalls so your child isn't riding in a defective car seat.
  • Keep young/small children in the back seat, even if they are old enough (or weigh enough) to ride in a vehicle without a child restraint. Air bags, while meant to keep passengers safe in the event of a collision, can actually harm young children upon force of impact.
  • Many children are also injured and killed every year by vehicles while they are walking along the street or riding their bicycles, scooters, etc. Make sure your children wear safety helmets at all times while riding a bike and that they do not walk in the street, even in seemingly quiet, residential areas.

2. SUFFOCATION

The CDC reports that suffocation is the leading cause of death among children under the age of 1.

Children zero to eleven months are still learning how to control their extremities, which is why suffocation is the cause of two-thirds of child deaths in this age group.

  • Parents and guardians should avoid leaving their infants unattended, especially if they can crawl. At this age, children are extremely curious and can put things in or over their mouths that can quickly cause suffocation. This can happen even when parents leave their children unattended for "just a minute."
  • Infants zero to eleven months may not be able to hold themselves up yet. Infants can roll onto their stomachs, causing breathing through their nose and/or mouth to become blocked. Infants should be monitored at all times.

3. DROWNING

Accidental drowning is the number one cause of death among children aged 1 to 4 years old.

It doesn't take a large body of water to cause a drowning accident. In fact, many child drowning incidents occur in bathtubs and other shallow pools of water.

  • Even young children can benefit from swimming lessons. Formal or informal swimming lessons can be an effective way to teach children how to stay afloat.
  • Equip young children with the proper floatation devices such as arm floaties, life jackets or inter-tubes. This way, they have something to grab to stay afloat.
  • Always monitor young children during bath time, in wade pools or any body of water. Most drowning incidents happen because parents assume "it wouldn't happen to my child."

4. POISONING

Among children aged 1 to 4 years old, poisoning is one of the leading causes of nonfatal injuries.

Infants, toddlers and young children are prone to put things in their mouth that don't belong there. Below are some tips for keeping dangerous products out of your child's reach.

  • Keep household cleaning chemicals in cabinets and drawers with child-proof latches/locks or up high where your children cannot reach them.
  • Medications, painkillers and other drugs should also be kept out of reach of children. Most of these pill bottles come equipped with child-proof lids, but some children are still able to get inside of them.
  • Children are more susceptible to lead poisoning. Have your home checked for lead paint (especially if your home was build prior to 1975), lead pipes and some older toys which could contain lead paint.

5. FALLS

Nonfatal falls are the leading cause of child injury among all age groups under 19 in the United States.

The CDC reports that about 2.8 million children across the U.S. make a trip to the emergency room because of a fall. Below are some tips for preventing avoidable falls.

  • When children are first learning to walk, accompany them or even hold their hands to give them more stability.
  • Children are playful and like to run, but make sure they know not to run on slippery surfaces, on stairs or in other areas where there are potential trip hazards.

At Fox Goldblatt & Singer PC, we are just as passionate about preventing injuries as we are about representing victims after accidents have occurred. To learn more about how our firm helps accident victims, contact us today!