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Protect Your Child from Injury

Content last updated on:
December 02, 2014

The Basics

Children are at high risk for injuries. You can help keep your child from getting hurt by taking action ahead of time.

Leading causes of injury and death for children include:

  • Car crashes
  • Drowning
  • Accidental poisoning
  • Fires
  • Falls
  • Suffocation

The good news is that you can help prevent injuries from events like these by taking simple safety steps.

A few minutes now could save your child’s life.
These simple steps can help prevent injuries inside and outside your home.

  • Use a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt that’s right for your child’s size and age – on every trip.
  • Teach your child to swim and closely watch your child in or near water.
  • Keep medicines, vitamins, and cleaning products where your child can’t see or reach them.
  • Use smoke alarms. Make and practice a fire escape plan for your home.
  • Make sure your child wears the right safety gear (like a helmet or pads) when playing sports or doing other physical activity.
  • Create a safe sleeping area for your baby, without soft objects in the crib. Always put babies to sleep on their back.
Take Action!

Take Action!

Follow these steps to protect your child from injury.

Keep your child safe in the car.
Make sure your child is always buckled in.

Set a good example.

  • Always buckle your seat belt when you drive or ride in a car.
  • Never drive after drinking alcohol or using drugs.

To learn more:

Protect kids in and near water.

  • Never leave young kids alone in the bathtub – not even for a second. If you have to answer the phone or doorbell, take them with you.
  • Teach your kids how to float, and sign them up for swim lessons as soon as they are ready. This can be as early as age 1.
  • If there is a pool where you live, be sure there is a fence around all 4 sides. The fence should separate the pool from the house and yard.
  • Watch your kids closely at the pool and beach. Follow these tips for safe swimming.
  • Make sure your kids wear a life jacket when boating. Use life jackets that fit well and are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. Find out how to choose the right life jacket.

Get more tips to protect your kids from drowning.

Keep medicines and cleaning products out of your child’s reach.

  • Keep medicines, vitamins, cleaning supplies, and other poisons (like batteries and bug spray) out of reach and out of sight.
  • After you use a medicine, make sure to always relock the safety cap.
  • Put things like cleaning products away right after every use.
  • Put the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) on or near every home telephone, and save it in your cell phone. Poison control is always open.

Get more tips to protect your child from poisoning.

Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home.
Use long-life smoke alarms if possible. These alarms use lithium batteries and last longer than regular smoke alarms. They also have a “hush button” so you can stop the alarm quickly if there’s a false alarm.

If you use regular smoke alarms, replace the batteries every year. To help you remember, change your smoke alarm batteries when you change your clock back from Daylight Savings Time.

Follow these other tips on smoke alarms:

  • Test your smoke alarms once a month by pushing the test button.
  • Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home and near places where people sleep.
  • Don’t forget to put a smoke alarm in the basement.
  • Replace your smoke alarm if it doesn’t work when tested or if it’s more than 10 years old.
  • Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when you change the batteries.
  • Never turn off smoke alarms. If an alarm goes off because you are cooking, open a window or fan the alarm with a towel to clear the air.

Get more fire safety tips [PDF - 3 MB].

Make a fire escape plan for your home.
Use a fire escape plan to get out of your home quickly in an emergency. Make sure your plan includes a safe place away from the house where everyone can meet. Practice your escape plan with your kids.

Get more tips on preparing for an emergency.

Play safely.
Make sure your child wears a helmet during active sports, such as riding a bike or skateboarding. Use helmets and other safety gear to help protect your child’s head, face, wrists, and knees.

At the playground, check for soft landing spots made of mulch, sand, or rubber mats under swings, slides, and climbers. Just grass or dirt is not enough to prevent injuries from falling.

Use this playground safety checklist to help make sure your local playground is a safe place to play.

Get more tips to protect your kids from:

Create a safe place for your baby to sleep.
Suffocation is when a person can’t breathe. Babies are most at risk for suffocation when they sleep. To help your baby sleep safely:

  • Always put your baby to sleep on his back, even for naps.
  • Don’t put your baby to sleep on an adult bed, couch, or chair.
  • Keep soft objects, including pillows and loose bedding, out of the crib.
  • Share a room with your baby, but not a bed.
  • Learn more about how to keep your baby safe during sleep.
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