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Safety Special

Dear Debi,
There seems to be a lot of new information about keeping young kids safe since I had my children. What are some things I should know to keep my 4-month-old grandson safe?
Rafaela Piņero
Debi's Tips
Debi Gutierrez
Debi Gutierrez
  • Pay attention to where your child is at all times
  • Be sure your child is secured in the right-sized safety seat
  • Make sure there is a protective surface under all playground equipment
  • Create safe spaces for your child to play outside
Expert Advice
Marisol Feliciano
Marisol Feliciano
Injury prevention specialist
True or False?
Approximately 40% of accidental injury-related deaths in children occur in and around the home.
True. In fact, nearly 80% of these deaths occurred among children ages 4 and under.

True or False?
The number one cause of injury on playgrounds is falling onto a hard surface.
True. There should be at least ten inches of loose surfacing like sand, mulch or protective rubber matting below all playground equipment.

True or False?
Children can only drown in large amounts of water, such as in a swimming pool or bathtub.
False. Children can actually drown in as little as two inches of water, making buckets and toilets just as dangerous as pools.

We know much more about children's safety now than we did 20 years ago. We've learned from past incidents and mistakes. For preschoolers, the major causes of accidental injuries are falls, choking, motor vehicle occupant injury, water-related injury, pedestrian injury and fire and burns.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep constant vigilance of kids. Kids are curious by nature. They get into things that may look interesting to them, even if it's dangerous. You should make everyone aware of these risks. If you have a guest in your home and they leave their purse unattended, kids can go into it and find things they shouldn't be playing with, such as medication.

There are many things to keep in mind for child safety. You have to have the correct car seat when traveling in a car - no matter how short the trip may be. Never leave your child in a car alone. Make sure your windows are securely locked. Make sure to never leave your child unattended near water, no matter how little water you think there may be because accidents can happen in a split-second.
Child Care Provider Comments
Bridgette Smith
Bridgette Smith
Mother of two, expecting her third child
I talk to my kids as much as possible so that they know and understand how dangerous things can be. Parents have to make it a priority. My kids always use helmets and pads when they ride their bikes and scooters. My husband and I have explained to them that they should not cross the curb unless walking with Mom and Dad. They know to stop on the curb and they don't go past it. If the ball goes out to the street they know to come and get mommy or daddy.
Silvia Fischer
Silvia Fischer
Grandmother of 20-month-old
As soon as we arrive at the playground, I start checking the area to see what he is going to get onto. He likes to get on slides, swings, and he loves to sit on animal rockers. Making sure he's playing on age-appropriate equipment is very important. When children are preschool-aged, you have to watch them or have them in a contained area. I also look around for children who are within his age range. I have to make sure the older kids won't bump him to get onto a piece of equipment.
Consuelo Ducoing
Consuelo Ducoing
Child care provider for 14 years
When driving with a child in my care, I always put him into his car seat, which is located in the middle of the backseat where it is safest. I double check to make sure that his car seat is secure. I never leave him in the car unattended. If I forget my glasses in the house, I pick him up and take him inside with me. He needs to be in my eyesight at all times. He is my first priority. It's important that the child knows that he is first. I don't use my cell-phone while driving with him in the car. If I need to make a call, I make it before I start driving or I will pull over to the side of the road.

Childproofing Your Home Featured Activity:
Childproofing Your Home
Playground Safety Featured Video:
Playground Safety
Topic: Health & Safety
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