A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Your Kids Alive and Safe – Find 14 Safety Tips Below
There is no instruction book for being a parent, but a parent must be provider, caregiver, safety officer, instructor, and sometimes lifesaver. Do you know how to prevent injury? Do you know how to save your child’s life if the need should arise? At ACLS Medical Training, we are committed to providing people with the tools they need to respond to life-threatening situations. Our physicians have compiled a list of the most useful informational links on the web for parents. They provide the steps that parents should take in case of emergency and ways to minimize risk for themselves and their children.
Click items in the image for tips to keep your kids alive and safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die of drowning in non-boating accidents each day in the United States. One in five of these people are children under the age of 14. The risk of drowning is higher for people who cannot swim. Fortunately, children between the ages of one and four who received formal swimming lessons are much less likely to drown. Physical barriers around pools can also help. Likewise, when children are in bathtubs or swimming pools, close supervision by an adult is essential.
Every parent should know cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. ACLS Medical Training provides CPR training as part of its Basic Life Support (BLS) training package. Even if you don't sign up to become BLS certified, we offer all the learning materials you need to perform CPR, free of charge.
The kitchen can be a dangerous place for a child. While every parent knows to keep his or her kids away from stove, do you use the back burners? What temperature is the water in your house? Safe Kids Worldwide provides an excellent overview of steps you can take to prevent burns and scolds in the home.
Poisoning can occur from toxic household chemicals but also from seemingly harmless over-the-counter medications. The main way to keep kids safe is to block access to all potentially poisonous chemicals and drugs in the home. This may mean childproof caps on pill bottles and childproof locks on drawers and cupboards that contain chemicals. If a child is prescribed a medication, the parent (or school nurse) should be in charge of every dose and control pill bottle at all times. The national number for Poison Control is 1-800-222-1222. This number should be memorized and posted everywhere you have medications or household chemicals.
Do you know what to do if your child starts choking? Did you know that the intervention is different, depending on the child's age? For children over the age of one, you can perform the Heimlich maneuver. But for infants less than one, chest thrusts and back blows are the best way to relieve choking. ACLS Medical Training provides detailed information on both of these techniques as part of its Basic Life Support (BLS) training. You can also find additional information on the KidsHealth website.
The CDC estimates that every day in the United States 300 children between birth and age 19 are treated in emergency rooms for burns—two children die each day from their burn-related injuries. Younger children are more often burned by hot liquids and steam (scalds) while older kids sustained burns from flames. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service provides helpful tips to avoid burns and scalds.
First Aid Kits
Do you have a first aid kit? There are many prepackaged first aid kits available for purchase, or you can assemble your own using the American Red Cross’ first aid kit inventory list. They show the supplies that a family of four would need in their first aid kit.
Parents do a good job of protecting their children from strangers in the community, but may fail to realize that the Internet may allow strangers to enter the home, virtually. Keep the family computer in a communal space, such as the living room and not the child's bedroom. There are useful software applications that can restrict a child's access to questionable sites.
Fireplaces and Cigarettes
Do you have working smoke detectors in your home? How do you know for sure? The US Fire Administration, under FEMA, has an excellent informational page on smoke alarms that reviews the different types, the best placement in your home, and routine maintenance.
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can make you and your family sick. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking, according to the CDC. One out of every 15 homes has a radon problem. You can purchase the test kit that will measure the amount of radon in your home. While 2-day test kits are available, the 90-day test kit gives you a better assessment of your radon exposure. You can also have a professional radon tester inspect your home. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development can provide additional information on radon. A flyer on radon, published by HUD, gives the key facts on radon in a one-page summary.
Carbon monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide, like radon, is a colorless, odorless gas that can be toxic to humans. There are several potential sources of carbon monoxide in a home, such as car exhaust, kerosene space heaters, gas powered generators, and even tobacco smoke or gas ranges. Carbon monoxide detectors are available, but are relatively expensive when compared to smoke detectors. Nevertheless, these devices can provide peace of mind and can notify you if carbon monoxide reaches unhealthy levels in your home. Learn more about indoor carbon monoxide by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency's website.
School and Playgrounds
Playgrounds can be dangerous places, but you can teach your child how to stay safe.
There is a right way and a wrong way to use playground equipment. Jungle gyms, slides, and seesaws can be fun but they need to be used properly—no roughhousing. If children are going to be using playground equipment, they should not be wearing clothes that have drawstrings nor should they be wearing necklaces or wristwatches. These items can catch on playground equipment. For more information, see the KidsHealth website on playground safety.
Automated External Defibrillator (AED)
If you're child suddenly loses consciousness or enters cardiopulmonary arrest,
do you know how to use an automated external defibrillator or AED? Every parent should be aware of the location of AED devices at schools, playgrounds, and other public places. Some cities like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Ottawa, Canada have mobile phone apps that show you where nearby AEDs are located. Parents may find the section on AED use on the ACLS Medical Training website particularly helpful.
Will you be able to perform CPR if needed? Ideally, every parent should know how to perform CPR in case his or her child needs it. ACLS Medical Training provides CPR educational materials as part of its Basic Life Support (BLS) training.
Most kids are naturally trusting, especially at certain ages. KidsHealth.org does an excellent job providing facts about child abduction, some of the misconceptions, and provides practical ways to avoid this uncommon, but tragic occurrence.
The risk of skin cancer increases dramatically after just one blistering sunburn during childhood. Most parents know they should use sunscreen on their kids, but did you know that not all sunscreens are created equal? Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen (both UVA and UVB protection) with an SPF of at least 15 or 30. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more while in the sun. Covering skin with clothing is even better, and children under the age of six months should probably be kept out of direct sunlight for extended periods.
Heat stroke and heat exhaustion
Extended exposure to high heat and high humidity, especially while exercising, may lead to heat related illnesses such as heatstroke or heat exhaustion. The Mayo Clinic provides an excellent overview of heatstroke A body temperature of 104°F after playing in the sun is an ominous sign, and means that a child should be seen by a doctor right away.
Anaphylaxis is a severe, possibly life-threatening allergic reaction. It occurs when a child has a severe allergic response to something they were exposed to at least once in the past. Some of the more common allergies are bee stings, peanuts, or penicillin. Children with a known allergy may be given in EpiPen, or an autoinjector of epinephrine that they can use in the case of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency—if it occurs, call 911. You may also need to perform CPR until emergency medical personnel arrive.
The CDC estimates that about 8000 children are treated in US emergency rooms every day for fall related injuries. Children should have proper supervision at all times when climbing on objects taller than themselves. If you suspect a broken bone, the child will need medical of evaluation. If the bone is broken and sticking out of the skin, don't touch it or move the child and call 911. KidsHealth.org has a great page on broken bones and sprains.
There are many myths surrounding concussions. Separate the myths from the facts by visiting the concussion page on PubMed Health, a service of the US National Library of Medicine.
“Leaves of three? Let it be” is a saying that is easy for children to remember and is also true. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac contain a sticky substance called urushiol. If your child comes in contact with urushiol and is one of the three quarters of Americans who are allergic to it, they will develop a red, itchy rash. Some reactions can be quite severe and may need medical attention. For more information, see the American Academy of Dermatology's website on poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.
Does your child have a helmet? If he or she wants to ride a bike, most states require children to wear helmets. If rollerblading or skateboarding is your child's hobby, they will need elbow and knee pads in addition to our helmet. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has informative website on how to stay safe while riding a bicycle.
Is that dog friendly? We like to assume that man's best friend is always friendly, but some dogs do better with children than others. Children should be taught to ask the owner's permission before they had a dog they don't know. Children should also approach the dog slowly and put out a hand for the dog to smell before starting to pet the animal. Petsource.org provides detailed information on how to approach a strange dog.
Ticks are best known for carrying Lyme disease, but there are many other tick-borne illnesses. The CDC has an excellent page showing the geographical distribution of ticks in the United States along with the diseases that they are known to carry. Some bug sprays can help prevent ticks, but some bug sprays are not suitable for children. The Environmental Protection Agency has a useful search tool that can help parents decide which insect repellent is right for them and their children.
Does your child know how to spot an animal with rabies? The truth is that no one can tell for sure, but any animal that is acting strangely should be avoided. In the United States, raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and bats are known to carry the rabies virus. The CDC has a wonderful page that explains rabies in terms kids can understand.
Seat belt and car seat laws vary from state to state, both in their requirements and in their penalties. In many states, however, car seats are required for all children age 7 and under. After that, adult seatbelts are required. The Governors Highway Safety Association provides a listing of seat belt and child passenger safety laws in all 50 states plus US territories.
Car First Aid Kit
You may have a first aid kit for your home, but you should also have a separate kit that you keeping your automobile. The Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA provides a recommended supplies list of what you should keep in your car and in your home in case a disaster strikes. FEMA recommends you should have enough supplies to completely sustain yourself and your family for 72 hours.