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Dealing With Injuries and Emergencies
Simple and Sensible Safety Strategies
Doctors and nurses at Children's Memorial Hospital who treat children in the ER every day report that many injuries are preventable. They recommend parents teach their children about safety prevention by modeling safe behavior themselves, setting up their homes in a safe but sensible way, and explaining safety using words children can understand. "It's important to both create a safe environment for your child and then supervise him," relates Dana Wiltsek, project manager, Injury Free Coalition for Kids. "One of those things alone will not do it."
"I tell parents to think about the big picture in terms of prevention and focus on doing things that will help to prevent common and serious injuries," relates Dr. Elizabeth Powell, attending physician in the pediatric emergency department at Children's Memorial Hospital. "However, I don't think you can prevent all minor injuries, so prevent what you can and make sure safety rules are non-negotiable. In this way, you'll prevent the debilitating, life-threatening or serious incidents." Dr. Powell also recommends that parents learn from minor injuries their children experience. "If your baby rolls off a bed and isn't injured, it is not just time to feel relief. This is a reminder to the parent that the baby is moving into a new developmental phase. The lesson from the minor injury is that you should not place your child in any location where her newly learned mobility skills will place her at risk of harm," says Dr. Powell. "And as your child grows into each new stage, you'll have to make some adjustments, both in the safety rules you set and how you enforce them."
The staff at Children's Memorial Hospital hopes the following strategies and communication tips will help parents prevent injuries in a safe and sensible fashion -- and keep parents and children out of the ER. The medical staff also recommends you check out these safety resources for more specific tips on topics relevant to your family.
Safety Strategies
Prevent common injuries by following these simple guidelines.
Safety Talking Tips Age by Age
Teach your kids about safety using words they'll understand.
"Parents need to model appropriate safe behavior. They need to wear their seat belts and own bike helmets, never drink and drive, and to be consistent, every single time. As far as communicating, safety issues are non-negotiable!"
Dana Wiltsek
Project Manager
Injury Free Coalition for Kids