child safetyAs a parent, your primary concern and consideration is for the well-being of your child.  The average parent worries constantly about the possibility that their child may be hurt or in danger—educating them on any names and numbers they would need in an emergency, arming them with real lightsabers when they go out on Halloween, and demanding to know the name, address, and social security number of anyone hosting a slumber party.  Yet, in spite of numerous precautions against unlikely menaces, children are vulnerable to everyday circumstance in ways that are difficult for adults to imagine.  Simply by virtue of their age and diminutive size, a child is more susceptible to threats posed by mundane objects and situations.  Unfortunately, this is a fact that often gets overlooked:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that approximately 9.2 million children go to emergency rooms each year for accidental injuries.

Unfortunately, there are dangers inherent in the process of growing up which parents cannot fend off.  The good news is that many of them are totally preventable.  Awareness of risks, vigilance, and proactivity can go a long way in making sure that children do not become statistics.

1.   Falls

Every year, 2.8 million visits are made to the emergency room by children injured in a fall. This is the leading cause of nonfatal injury for all ages below 15 and among the top three between the ages of 15 and 19.  These accidents occur when toddlers climb on furniture, kids slip in Kool-Aid, etc….but as diverse as they are, many of them can be averted by simple childproofing measures like keeping walkways clear, cleaning up spills immediately, and tying shoelaces securely.

 2.   Burns

Emergency rooms across the country treat 110,00 burns annually for individuals 19-years-old and younger. For smaller patients, the cause of injury was usually a scald from contact with hot liquid or steam.  Contact with flame was more common among the older set.  Simple precautions like turning a pot’s handle inward over the stove or carefully monitoring the temperature of bathtub water can prevent injury in many young children; and proper handling of electrical outlets, fireworks, and cooking surfaces should be taught and modeled conscientiously.

 3.   Bites and Stings

Bites and stings are among three most common injuries for children below the age of nine. To protect children from the dangers posed by animals and renegade insects, be sure to identify aggressive fauna and to teach children how to respond to them in ways that do not flirt with disaster.  (The Humane Society has published tips on avoiding/reacting to dog bites.)

 4.   Projectiles

Every age group between zero and 19 cited “being struck by or against an object” as being among the top three causes of injury. This is, of course, rather vague and not terribly helpful to parents wanting to know how they can protect their own children from this “striking” fate.  However, common sense application of basic principles of caution—keeping children in age-appropriate environments, ascertaining their location before opening the closet full of bowling balls, etc.—are often sufficient.

 5.   Drowning

Between the ages of one through four, drowning is the leading cause of fatal injury, claiming three lives each day and representing 30% of fatal injuries. Such a preventable injury may be so common because it is so easy to underestimate how accessible water is and how quickly it can become deadly.  Even a few inches of water or an unattended bucket can be perilous and should not be left unattended (and neither should children around large bodies of water, particularly before they have learned to swim).

 6.   Poisoning

More than 2.6 million children yearly are given emergency treatment for poison; and 2 children die each day from a fatal dosage. While most parents know to keep their medicines and cleaning chemicals high out of reach, under lock and key, or both, substances that are not dangerous per se can also be harmful to children who either ingest what should not be ingested (tooth paste or mouth wash) or ingest in excess (vitamins, certain spices, etc.).  Make sure that children know how to use common compounds, or that those compounds are accessible to them without supervision.

 7.   Traffic-Related

Over 1 million under the age of 20 receive emergency treatment each year for injuries sustained in a road traffic accident. These, unfortunately, cannot be avoided simply by running a safe household or even by driving carefully.  Fortunately, a broadened standard of “careful” driving, when applied to parents, would greatly reduce these numbers:  Aside from obeying laws against texting at the wheel and driver distraction in general, it’s usually best to simply pull over to tend to a child who has become a diversion.

 8.   Sports Injuries

There probably isn’t any call for children to stop playing sports—the case may be argued that childhood obesity constitutes a far greater risk than sports injuries. However, as many children as are poisoned annually are injured engaging in athletic activities. Therefore, it is important that children playing sports be given proper protective gear, stretched, and warmed up before they head into the fray.

 9.   Choking and Suffocation

About 1,000 children are suffocated annually; the vast majority of these victims are five years old or younger. These tragedies can often be averted by shielding children from small toys, inappropriate food items, and excess bedding.

All best efforts aside, parents cannot always shelter their children from the risks they and all people face simply interacting with the world around them. One cannot guarantee that the actions of other adults will always be conducive to the well being of those who depend on their responsibility.  When others default on their obligations to foster a safe environment for children, extra help may be required in remedying the consequences of negligence.

The caretakers of injured children need not feel they are abusing the system by seeking compensation for needed treatment; and they certainly need not feel that they are alone.  When all hope seems lost, caring and competent personal injury attorneys like           Christensen & Hymas can point the dazed and distraught on the right path…or advocate on their behalf if need be.

For information regarding your own situation and whether a personal injury attorney is right for you, call toll-free at (801) 506-0800.

Image by Amber Kennedy

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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