Keep Kids Safe


1. Smoking while pregnant is a risk factor for premature birth and many other health problems later. Never allow anyone to smoke in the presence of a pregnant woman. Drinking alcohol is a risk for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Do not drink any amount of alcohol when you are pregnant.

2. The most common causes of death and serious injury in childhood are car crashes, and most car crashes happen while driving under 40km/hour (25mph) within 8km (5 miles) from home. Many child deaths could be prevented by using an infant carrier or child seat in the back seat of the car, not in front of an airbag. Your child should always be properly restrained in every vehicle, not just your own.

3. The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is highest before 13 weeks of age, and can be reduced dramatically by always putting your baby to sleep on his back, not on his stomach. Avoid fluffy blankets and soft, stuffed dolls where your baby sleeps. A cool mist humidifier aids breathing.

4. Shaking a baby can cause bone fractures, brain damage, or death. When your baby cries uncontrollably, use ear plugs to reduce your stress, or call someone for help if you feel like you want to shake your baby.

5. Another common cause of child death and serious injury is drowning, even in your backyard pool. Children should always be supervised by adults around water, and all pools should be fenced off to prevent access by children when adults are not present. Babies and toddlers have even drowned in bathtubs and toilets. Never lose sight and physical contact with a baby in the bathroom.



6. Falls on stairs are also a frequent cause of very serious child injuries. Accompany small children on stairs, and block all stairs with a safety gate. The best safety gates are those that swing open, not accordion-style gates. Safety gates should be present not only in your own home, but in any home where small children spend time (e.g. grandparents' homes, babysitter's home, childcare centers, etc.).

7. Small objects such as two-piece pacifiers are choking hazards. All medicines, cleaning chemicals, and other potentially poisonous substances should be kept in cabinets with a child-proof safety latch. If a child swallows a potentially poisonous substance do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a doctor or poison specialist in your specific case. Your local poison emergency number should be prominently posted in every home or other place your child visits. (In the U.S.: 1-800-222-1222.)

8. All knives and other sharp instruments should be kept in drawers or cabinets with a child-proof safety latch.  Also keep small toxic objects out of children's reach: batteries, nails, screws, etc., which are easily swallowed.

9. Electrical wires are tripping hazards as well as electrocution hazards. Keep electrical cords out of children's path, and cover all electrical outlets with a safety cover the child can't remove. Any hanging cords (e.g. for drapes) are potential strangulation hazards.

10. Children should always wear helmets when riding a bicycle. Falls from bicycles while not wearing a helmet may cause brain injury. Children should also wear eye protection whenever riding in an open vehicle or standing near anyone using power tools.



Foundation for Research and Education on Child Safety