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:
|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||Supervise children near all roadways and model safe behavior297|
In this chapter we looked at:
The physical characteristics of preschoolers.
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.