National Safety Month
Adults play a key role in helping our children grow into a healthy adulthood. Preventable injuries, however, lead to unwanted Emergency Department visits, long-lasting injuries, and even death for many children each year in North Carolina. There are many ways in which children and teens can get injured, whether it is outside playing in the driveway, or inside the medicine cabinet. Some of the most common causes of childhood injury are from motor vehicle accidents, falls, poisoning, and pedestrian-related accidents. These injuries are avoidable if precautions are put into place and parents and children exercise proper communication about these serious topics.
Motor vehicle crashes are a main source of childhood injury, whether the child is a pedestrian struck by the car or a passenger in the vehicle. While sometimes vehicle accidents are not a specific driver’s fault, many accidents occur due to the distractions encountered while driving. Teens and adults are susceptible to these distractions such as texting or talking on the phone, driving under the influence, or doing other things like applying makeup or eating. Many of these childhood motor vehicle-related injuries could be prevented if drivers would simply take more time to focus on the road and not other things. Keep away from alcohol, and put away the cell phone. These are the proper steps to preventing childhood motor vehicle (occupant) and pedestrian injuries.
Preventing pedestrian injuries is not only the responsibility of the drivers, but also the responsibility of community leaders, children and parents. Putting in place sidewalks and crosswalks improves the safety of our streets for our children and youth. Parents and children can take steps to prevent pedestrian-related injuries by making sure to be aware of cars and other people around while playing near the streets or on the sidewalk. Also, it is especially important for children to wear the proper safety gear while playing outside. Be sure to always wear a helmet and proper knee and elbow pads while riding a bike, skateboard, or scooter. It is the responsibility of community leaders, drivers, as well as pedestrians to make sure everybody is safe.
While many of the causes of childhood injuries occur outside the home and on the road, injuries can also occur at home. Often, children are injured unintentionally from easily accessible items under the sink and in the medicine cabinet. Younger children are especially susceptible to being poisoned or harmed from these products, simply due to the fact that many medications look, and sometimes taste, like candy. The main way to prevent these injuries from occurring is for parents to talk to their children about prescription drug safety, and to also make sure to keep medications and harmful substances like cleaners away and out of reach of children. Children are extremely curious. We need to take extra precautions to keep them safe and these items out of their hands.
There are many causes for childhood injury, from poisoning to falling down playing. However, the majority of childhood injuries can be prevented or minimized if parents and adults would communicate with children and teens about the proper precautions to take in each activity. Put down the cell phone when driving; wear a helmet when riding a bike; and keep potentially harmful medications and chemicals out of the reach of children.