“Look both ways before crossing the street.” “Don’t run with scissors.” “Stay away from open flames.” You know about those dangers, and most likely you’ve already warned your kids about them. Probably over and over.
However, our world is forever changing, and new ways for children to potentially get hurt appear every single day. Because of this, it can be tough to keep up with all the different possible dangers and warn your kids about them. You have to do your best, though, because about 10% of Florida children have to visit the emergency room for an injury every single year.
In an effort to help you prevent your kids from becoming a part of that 10%, below we have put together a list of (mostly) new safety rules designed to help prevent child injuries and accidents that may not have even occurred to you yet.
Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe in Our Changing World
If You’re Moving, Put Away Your Phone. We all know the dangers of distracted driving. It has quickly become one of the most fatal driving habits among all age groups. However, even if your child walks to school, they should be cautious about using their phone.
Five pedestrian teens are killed every week in the United States, and at least some of those deaths are due to the pedestrians themselves being distracted. What causes kids to be distracted while walking? In most cases, headphones or cell phones. Let your teen know that it is important to put away their phone on the way to and from school if they are going to be walking, and to always make sure that they can hear the traffic around them.
Let Adults In Charge Know About Past Injuries and Allergies. Every child is different. Because of this, they may be subject to different conditions or injuries that can prevent them from participating in sports or other activities.
If any of the following applies to your child, they should be communicating this to the adults who are in charge (camp counselors, teachers, coaches, and so on):
- Your child is unable to swim
- Your child has past concussions or injuries that may prevent them from playing sports
- Your child has allergies to certain foods
- Your child has a history of seizures
Not every adult will know this information unless you or your child communicates it. Knowing these things could be key if, for example, a camp counselor wants to take children to a lake or a parent wants to serve a certain food at a birthday party. Teach your child the value of communicating this information – even if it’s embarrassing.
Buckle Up, No Matter What. No, this isn’t a new rule. So why is it here? Because motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of children. Crashes killed over 600 children in 2014, and injured over 121,000. A big contributing factor in those statistics is the fact that so many kids still don’t wear seat belts or use car seats.
How many? In one year, over 618,000 children under the age of 12 rode in a vehicle without a seat belt or booster seat. Even if your child’s friend’s parents have different rules about car safety, let your child know that they always need to buckle up in every single car they ride in.
Ask a Stranger If Their Dog Is Friendly to Pet. Even if you have the friendliest dog at home, not every dog is okay with children or being approached by strangers. Dogs bite 4.5 million people every year, and around 20% of those bites will become infected.
Make it a habit for your children to ask owners if their dog is friendly before approaching. Moreover, tell them that they should never pet dogs that are not on a leash, and give your child tips for how to deal with a loose, unfriendly dog that is approaching them: stay still, avoid eye contact, and so on. Finally, remind your child that if they are bit, they need to tell you (or another adult) immediately.
Nothing Goes in Your Mouth or Nose Except Food. There’s nothing new about worrying over your kid choking or ingesting a poison, but the phrasing here is great because it covers so much ground. Used correctly, this lesson can teach your child everything from not biting other kids to staying away from drugs.
Even With These 5 Rules, Your Child Is Still at Risk
In the end, you can only do so much to prevent your kid from getting injured. Your child may not obey your rules, the supervisors in charge may not do their job, or your child may be the victim of an accident somebody else causes.
If someone else’s negligence leads to your kid getting hurt, don’t take the situation lying down. Talk to a Florida personal injury lawyer to fight for compensation and to hold them accountable for their actions.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.