U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Protect Your Child from Injury

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 the right child safety seat in the car 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 to prevent suffocation. Suffocation is when a person can’t breathe.
Take Action!

Take Action!

Follow these steps to protect your child.

Keep your child safe in the car.

  • Always buckle your child’s seatbelt.
  • Choose a safety seat that’s right for your child’s size and age – and for the car.
  • Have your child’s safety seat inspected to be sure it’s put in the car the right way.
  • Make sure that kids under age 12 ride in the back seat.
  • 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.

Get tips on how to keep your child safe in and around a car.

Protect kids in and near water.

  • Never leave your 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. As soon as your kids are ready, sign them up for swim lessons.
  • 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 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 medicine 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.
  • Put away medicines and cleaning products away right after every use.
  • After you use a medicine, make sure to always relock the safety cap.
  • Put the poison control number (1-800-222-1222) on or near every home telephone, and save it in your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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 tips on smoke alarms.

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 safe.
Make sure your child wears a helmet during active sports, such as riding a bike or skateboarding. Helmets and other safety gear help protect the head, face, wrists, and knees.

Watch your children 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. Use this playground safety checklist.

Get more tips to protect your kids from:

Create a safe place for your baby to sleep.
Babies are most at risk for suffocation when they sleep. Suffocation is when a person can’t breathe. Get tips on how to create a safe sleep area for your baby

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