Bike injuries can happen on any part of the body from head to toe and from externally on the skin to inside the body. Second only to contact sports, bike injuries are the leading cause for pediatric hospital visits every year - over 100 of them are fatal injuries.
Safety Precautions for Children on Bikes
Helmet use is the number one safety measure. A helmet protects children from striking hard objects after a fall, and due to their short height, contact with vehicles usually results in head injuries for children.
Helmets must fit properly.
- Eyes: No more than two fingers above the eyebrows
- Ears: Straps form a “V” under the ears
- Mouth: No more than one to two fingers between the chin and buckled strap
You should replace a helmet immediately if it has any cracks, the straps are broken, or if your child has been in a crash while wearing the helmet.
Bike Safety by Age
- Babies (0-12 months)
- Little kids (1-4 years)
- Big kids (5-9 years)
- Pre-teens (10-14 years)
- Teens (15-19 years)
Other Safety Measures
- Do not ride a bike at night
- Ride with traffic
- Use hand signals
- Obey traffic signs
- Use designated bike lanes
- Use a flashing light
WATCH: How To Be Safe On Your Bike
LEARN: Myths and facts
One skill parents and caregivers need to learn is how to deal with stress. This is especially important when there seems to be no end to a baby's crying. When a parent or caregiver loses control the results can be harmful or deadly.
The following information from the American Academy of Pediatrics aims to help parents and caregivers cope with crying babies. Also included is information about injuries that could happen when parents and caregivers lose control of their tempers.
When Your Baby Cries, Take a Break!
If you have tried to calm your crying baby but nothing seems to work, it is important to stay in control of your temper. Remember, it is never OK to shake, throw, hit, slam, or jerk any child—and it never solves the problem!
If you feel like you are getting angry and might lose control, try the following:
- Take a deep breath and count to 10.
- Place your baby in a safe place, leave the room, and let your baby cry alone for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Call someone close to you for emotional support.
- Call your child's doctor. There may be a medical reason why your baby is crying.
- Be patient. Colicky and fussy babies eventually grow out of their crying phase. Keeping your baby safe is the most important thing you can do. Even if you feel frustrated, stay in control and handle your baby with care.
An Important Reminder for All Caregivers:
Anyone who cares for your children should know about the dangers of shaking or striking a baby's head. This includes anyone who cares for your children: child care providers, boyfriends, girlfriends, older siblings, grandparents, and neighbors. Make sure they know it is never OK to shake, throw, hit, slam, or jerk any child.
If your children are being cared for by others, take some time to observe the caregiver-child interaction. Do they enjoy talking or playing with your children? How would they calm a crying baby? Other important things to keep in mind when choosing a caregiver are the caregiver's personality and habits. For example, people who are patient, responsible, and trustworthy are ideal caregivers while people who are easily angered or heavily drink alcohol or use other drugs are not ideal caregivers. Before selecting a child care provider, make certain the program is licensed or certified.
What to Do When a Baby Cries:
It is not always easy to figure out why babies cry. They may be hungry or overtired. They may be cold or need their diapers changed. Crying is their only way of expressing their needs, and it's not because they dislike their parents. Sometimes it seems like they cry for no reason.
The following are some ways to help calm a crying baby:
- Check to see if your baby's diaper needs changing.
- Swaddle your baby in a large, thin blanket (ask your nurse or child's doctor to show you how to do it correctly) to help her feel secure.
- Feed your baby slowly, stopping to burp often.
- Offer your baby a pacifier.
- Hold your baby against bare skin, like on your chest, or cheek-to-cheek
- Rock your baby using slow, rhythmic movements.
- Sing to your baby or play soft, soothing music.
- Take your baby for a walk in a stroller.
- Go for a ride with your baby in the car (remember to always use a car seat).
If you have tried all of these and your baby continues to cry, go back and try them again. Most babies get tired after crying for a long time and eventually will fall asleep. If all else fails, call your child's doctor and share your concerns and your stress.
What is Abusive Head Trauma?
Abusive head trauma, including shaken baby syndrome, is a serious type of head injury. It is caused by shaking, throwing, hitting, slamming, or jerking.
Abusive head trauma can lead to the death of a baby or child. It also can lead to:
- Bleeding around the brain
- Hearing loss
- Speech or learning disabilities
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Intellectual disability (formally called mental retardation)
Babies are not able to fully support their heavy heads. As a result, violent and forceful shaking or impact causes a baby's brain to be injured.
Signs and Symptoms of Abusive Head Trauma
Victims of abusive head trauma may show one or all of the following signs and symptoms:
- Lethargy (trouble staying awake)
- Trouble breathing
- Coma (unable to be awakened)
Abusive head trauma often occurs when a parent or other caregiver reacts impulsively in anger or frustration, often because the baby will not stop crying. Abusive head trauma is a serious form of child abuse.
Additional Information & Resources:
- Children who are too young to have a driver’s license should not be allowed to operate or ride off-road vehicles. Children are involved in about 30 percent of all ATV-related deaths and emergency room-treated injuries.
- Because their nervous systems and judgment have not fully developed, off-road vehicles are particularly dangerous for children younger than 16 years.
- Don't ride double. Passengers are frequently injured when riding ATVs. Most ATVs are designed to carry only one person: the driver. Passengers can make ATVs unstable and difficult to control.
- All ATV riders should take a hands-on safety training course.
- All riders should wear helmets, eye protection, sturdy shoes (no flip-flops), and protective, reflective clothing. Appropriate helmets are those designed for motorcycle (not bicycle) use, and should include safety visors/face shields for eye protection. Wearing a helmet may prevent or reduce the severity of injuries.
- ATVs lack the common safety equipment found on all cars and trucks that are designed for street use. ATV tires are not designed to grip on pavement, so operators should not ride on paved roads. Parents should never permit nighttime riding or street use of off-road vehicles.
- Flags, reflectors and lights should be used to make vehicles more visible.
- Drivers of recreational vehicles should not drive while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or even some prescription medicines. Parents should set an example for their children in this regard.
- Young drivers should be discouraged from on-road riding of any 2-wheeled motorized cycle, even when they are licensed to do so, because they are inherently more dangerous than passenger cars.
- Only use a mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.
- Children younger than 16 years should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers. Children younger than 12 years should not use walk-behind mowers.
- Make sure that sturdy shoes are worn while mowing.
- Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Have anyone who uses a mower wear hearing and eye protection.
- Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
- Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
- Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers.
- Keep children out of the yard while mowing.
- Drive up and down slopes, not across to prevent mower rollover.
- Keep guards, shields, switches, and safety devices in proper working order at all times.
- If children must be in the vicinity of running lawnmowers, they should wear polycarbonate protective eye wear at all times.
According to CDC statistics in the Northeast Region of the U.S. from 2010-2016 there were 2033 deaths in children between the ages of one and 19 attributed to guns.
Despite the majority being from homicide the rate by suicide was a staggering 544 and unintentional fatalities being 57. Although, any number greater than one is too many, there are steps parents can take to ensure avoidable incidents involving firearms do not happen.
Should there be firearms in the home of a child of any age there are ways to secure firearms and measures to render them useless should they fall into a young one’s hands.
- Keep all guns UNLOADED
- Keep all guns LOCKED in a safe with the key that is on your person or in place where a child cannot obtain it. Keep lock combinations to yourself or with another trusted adult outside of the home
- Trigger locks or chain/wire locks that make it impossible to load or close a gun’s action.
- For pistols and bolt action rifles the most effective way to make them safe is to disassemble them and separate the parts in different safes or hidden areas out of the reach of children.
Should there be a history of mental illness in the home, family member or guest, it is suggested that all weapons be removed from the residence.
There are free resources available to assist you in making your gun as safe as possible in your home with your children and family.
Teens & Guns
It is not a secret that adolescents and teenagers are prone to suicide attempts and studies show that upwards of 90% of suicides with a firearm are fatal. This only increases our concern for these children and young adults as they maneuver their way through emotional maturity and the pressures of their world.
It is also shown that parents who have teenagers tend to be more liberal with gun storage once their children reach the teen years. Please keep all guns in your home in a safe and secure location despite your child’s age.
Toy Guns, BB Guns, Airsoft Guns and other Variations
Despite the fact these types of guns may simply be toys or a less powerful version of actual weapons they still shoot a projectile which can cause serious physical injury. Treat them as if you would a real weapon in safe and secure area and distance free from wanderers or other people not participating in the activity. Same goes for sling shots, archery and hard balls.
The Four Basic Rules of Gun Use
- Treat every gun as if it is loaded
- Always point it in a safe direction
- Never have your finger on the trigger unless you are going to shoot
- Always know what is in front of and behind your target
Although most parents would like to believe that if their child encountered a gun they would run for help but social experiment after another tells the exact opposite story. Children are curious! It is their job to explore their environment and learn through play. This makes it paramount to keep ammunition separate and in a secure location away from the weapon.
If your child spends time at a friend’s house ASK if there are weapons in the home. When kids get together they compound their curiosity and risk taking ability. Make sure your children are in a safe environment even when they are not under your watchful eye.
GUNS & KIDS DO NOT MIX! PREVENT THAT AT ALL COSTS!
According to the AHA over 90% deaths due to foreign body obstruction occur in children less than 5 years of age and 65% of that group is infants. Awareness of what can lead to choking and some behaviors to prevent choking are a great way to minimize the risk of a near-fatal or, even worse, fatal episode.
Here are some tips to avoid choking and how to manage a choking incident.
TAKE AN APPROVED CPR CLASS FOR ADULTS AND CHILDREN
- Safe proof your house before your child starts to crawl. Actually get on your floor and look for anything that may be picked up and put in the mouth of a child
- Do not feed children in the car. This increases the risk of choking due to position and a car seat eliminates the child’s ability to instinctively position themselves in the event of a choking incident
- Limit food portion sizes to less than ½” and supervise your child when eating. Choking can happen in an instant and could be silent
- Always follow age restrictions and guidelines on toys
- Use a small parts tester or “choke tube” for children less than 3 years old. If an object fits in the tester it is a choking hazard. Or the child’s nostril is another gauge. DO NOT put anything in your child’s nostril. Measure it!
- Objects to avoid having near your child or allowed to play with:
- Hair ties or barrettes
- Toys with detachable small parts
- Pen caps
- Small balls
- Anything that can fit into the child’s mouth
- Plastic bags or baggies
- Stuffed animals with beaded eyes
The Choking Game
Then Choking Game is a game played by grade school and teenage children in which kids choke themselves or each other to obtain a euphoric feeling from hypoxia, the state of starving the body of oxygen. Be aware of this game and signs. See link below from the CDC
Should your child experience a choking episode CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
Take a CPR course
Choking game: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5901a1.htm
Small parts tester: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prb8ThluARQ
Per the CDC statistics between 2001-2006 children between the ages of 0-19 died from injuries due to burns or fires. We all know fire and burns can be fatal but the physical, mental and emotional scars from a fire are lifelong. Here are some facts and tips for fire and burn safety.
Common Fire Hazards
- Open or bare electrical wires including extension or power cords
- Burning candles
- Lighters and matches
- Flammable materials such as clothing on lamps, near furnaces, fireplaces and water & space heaters
- Stoves and cooking with oil & grease
Tips For Fire Safety In Your Home
- Have an appropriately graded fire extinguisher in your home
- Have a working smoke detector on every level of your home or every room if possible
- Secure all lighters and matches in an area children cannot access
- Keep clothing and flammables away from appliances
- Store flammable liquids such as gas & oil in a separate metal locker
In The Event Of A Fire- CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
- Use your fire extinguisher appropriately https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktrv34zW7-A
- Have an evacuation plan, meeting place with your children and practice
- Test your smoke detectors every 6 months and replace the batteries
- Burn candles on a non-flammable surface like ceramic tray or metal plate and keep them clear of a child or pets reach
From 2005-2014 CDC statistics state that 3,536 died from drowning incidents that did not involve a boating accident. With boating accidents included it increased the amount of deaths by 332. Of that total amount it was figured that 1 in 5 was a child 14 years old or younger.
Here are some water safety tips and practices
TAKE AN APPROVED CPR COURSE
- Never leave a child alone in the bathtub
- Never leave a child alone near water especially in hot summer months
- Enroll your children and self in swimming lessons
- When swimming follow the Buddy System and have a partner and fro children a parent or sober adult should always be present
- Have children wear a PFT-personal flotation device even if they can swim
- Never jump in unknown waters or depths. You do not know what is at the bottom or how shallow it may be
- STAY AWAY from moderate to fast moving currents. Children and adults can be swept away in the blink of an eye
- Never swim during a storm
When boating please be with an operator familiar with the vessel and have more than one competent adult onboard. ALWAYS wear a PFT children and adults!
- Follow all USCG regulations and laws
- Never boat or get on a vessel with an intoxicated individual
- Know your location
- Put you phone in a water proof case or plastic baggie. They will work and can give you GPS coordinates if in danger
The majority of dog bite victims are 10 years old and younger. Dogs bite almost 5 million people each year in the U.S. The face is the most frequent target.
Safety around dogs
- Kids less than 6 years of age are at a higher risk for injuries because of their size
- Always know the temperament of animals prior to exposing them to any animal
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog
Teach your child these rules
- Never disturb a dog if it’s eating, sleeping or caring for puppies
- Never tease a dog or jerk toys with dogs
- Secure all lighters and matches in an area children cannot access
- Always ask a dog’s owner if it is OK to pet the dog
- Don’t run past a dog
Teach your child what to do if a dog scares her
- Remain calm. Do not run away. This will trigger a dog’s instinct to chase.
- Act like a tree: stand still, feet together, fists under your chin and elbows into the chest.
- If you are knocked down, act like a log: lie still, face down, legs together, with your hands over your head and neck.
- Pay attention to weather forecasts. Enable severe weather alerts on your phone
- Understand that cold wind can cause skin damage in a very short amount of time so be aware of wind chill temperatures
- Dress warm and in layers. Cover as much area of skin as possible without causing any difficulty in breathing. Wear gloves, scarves, hoods and warm footwear and socks
- For children in carriers cover the entire carrier with a blanket
- Allow vehicles to warm up if possible. WITHOUT a child being left alone in the vehicle; especially in garages
- Preplan your route and have a backup plan should you become disabled or stranded. Have a fully charged phone, charging cable and/or portable charger
- Stay away from water. NEVER WALK ON ICE COVERED WATER such as ponds, streams or rivers
- If you or your child should get wet seek shelter IMMEDIATELY. Once warm remove wet clothing immediately
- Be aware of Frostbite
- A more severe condition, where both the skin and the underlying tissue (fat, muscle, bone) are frozen.
- Skin appears white and waxy and is hard to the touch.
- No sensation - the area is numb or tingling.
What to do:
- Frostbite can be serious, and can result in amputation. Get medical help!
- Do not rub or massage the area.
- Do not warm the area until you can ensure it will stay warm.
- Warm the area gradually; use body heat, or warm water (40°C to 42°C). Avoid direct heat which can burn the skin.