Children face many potential dangers that could cause harm or injury every day. Unintentional injury is the #1 cause of death in children and teens, but this can be prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12,175 children aged 0 to 19 die each year due to an unintentional injury. National Child Safety and Protection Month encourages the recognition of potential dangers and taking preventive steps against the dangers children face each day.
Here are some ways you can prevent unintentional injury in your child care facility.
When a child first enrolls in your program, keep a list of any and all food allergies that are present in your classroom. This list should also appear in the food prep area of the building for easy reference. when preparing food for the children in your classroom or center, follow all guidelines to avoid cross contamination. Even the slightest contamination, may trigger an allergic reaction from a student. Be prepared in case an allergic reaction occurs. Have easy access to emergency contacts and a plan in place in case of emergency will make it easier to get the student the help they need quickly.
Odds are that in your child care facility, there are a lot of toys. Toys need to be inspected for missing components as well as cleaned so they prevent the spread of illness. Toys can also be recalled due to a problem during manufacturing. Safe Kids USA lists reported items having been recalled as they relate to childhood. The monthly lists of recalled items can be found here. Safe Kids USA also offers a way to receive notifications when new items are added to the recall list.
Always supervise children as they play on the playground. Before playtime, the playground should also be cool and dry. If equipment gets too hot or too wet, it can be an unintentional injury just waiting to happen. Inspect the playground frequently for broken or damaged equipment.
One of the leading causes of unintentional injury is from motor vehicle crashes. Ensure the safety of children in the car before it is too late. Never continue using a car seat after it is damaged in an accident, if there are missing or broken pieces, if it is passed the car seats “expiration date”, or if it is recalled. As children get older, their type of car seat should also change. Car seats can also be dangerous if they are not installed properly. Consult a car seat technician for the car seats in your center’s vehicle, or for a community wide car seat check.
By practicing these safe behaviors in children’s everyday lives, together we can work to reduce unintentional injury!