7.10 Safety in Early Childhood

Child injuries are preventable, yet more than 9,000 children (from 0-19 years) died from injuries in the US in 2009. Car crashes, suffocation, drowning, poisoning, fires, and falls are some of the most common ways children are hurt or killed. The number of children dying from injury dropped nearly 30% over the last decade. However, injury is still the number 1 cause of death among children.291

Children during early childhood are more at risk for certain injuries. Using data from 2000-2006, the CDC determined that:

  • Drowning was the leading cause of injury death between 1 and 4 years of age.

  • Falls were the leading cause of nonfatal injury for all age groups less than 15.

  • For children ages 0 to 9, the next two leading causes were being struck by or against an object and animal bites or insect stings.

  • Rates for fires or burns, and drowning were highest for children 4 years and younger.292

Here is a table summarizing some tips from the CDC to protect children from these injuries:

Table 7.4: Preventing Injuries
Type of Injury Prevention Tips
Burns Have smoke alarms on every floor and in all rooms people sleep in
Burns Involve children in creating and practicing an escape plan
Burns Never leave food cooking on the stove unattended; supervise any use of microwave
Burns Make sure the water heater is set to 120 degrees or lower293
Drowning Make sure caregivers are trained in CPR
Drowning Fence off pools; gates should be self-closing and self-latching
Drowning Have children wear life jackets in and around natural bodies of water
Drowning Supervise children in or near water (including the bathtub)294
Falls Make sure playground surfaces are safe, soft, and made of impact absorbing material (such as wood chips or sand) at an appropriate depth and are well maintained
Falls Use safety devices (such as window guards)
Falls Make sure children are wearing protective gear during sports and recreation (such as bicycle helmets)
Falls Supervise children around fall hazards at all times
Poisoning Lock up all medications and toxic products (such as cleaning solutions and detergents) in original packaging out of sight and reach of children
Poisoning Know the number to poison control (1-800-222-1222)
Poisoning Read and follow labels of all medications
Poisoning Safely dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs and over the counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements295
Motor-accident, in vehicle Children should still be safely restrained in a five point harnessed car seat
Motor-accident, in vehicle Children should be in back seat
Motor-accident, in vehicle Children should not be seated in front of an airbag296
Motor-accident, pedestrian Teach children about safety including:
Motor-accident, pedestrian
  • Walking on the sidewalk
Motor-accident, pedestrian
  • Not assuming vehicles see you or will stop
Motor-accident, pedestrian
  • Crossing only in crosswalks
Motor-accident, pedestrian
  • Looking both ways before crossing
Motor-accident, pedestrian
  • Never playing in the road
Motor-accident, pedestrian
  • Not crossing a road without an adult
Motor-accident, pedestrian Supervise children near all roadways and model safe behavior297
Children playing on a jungle gym at a park.^[[Image](https://www.maxpixel.net/Children-Web-Playground-Game-Device-3698745) is in the public domain]

Figure 7.13: Children playing on a jungle gym at a park.298

In this chapter we looked at:

  • The physical characteristics of preschoolers.

  • Healthy nutrition.

  • The changes in the brain.

  • The progression of motor skills and developmentally appropriate ways to support that development.

  • Sleep and sleep disorders.

  • Toilet training and elimination disorders

  • Sexual development in early childhood.

  • And ways to keep children healthy and safe.

In the next chapter we’ll investigate how children understand the world and their communication abilities.

  1. Child Injury by the CDC is in the public domain↩︎

  2. CDC Childhood Injury Report by the CDC is in the public domain↩︎

  3. Burn Prevention by the CDC is in the public domain↩︎

  4. Drowning Prevention by the CDC is in the public domain↩︎

  5. Poisoning Prevention by the CDC is in the public domain↩︎

  6. Road Traffic Safety by the CDC is in the public domain↩︎

  7. Safety Tips for Pedestrians by the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center is in the public domain↩︎

  8. Image is in the public domain↩︎