Habitot Children's Museum

April 1 - September 30

9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 12:30
9:30 - 4:30
9:30 - 4:30
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Habitot Children's Museum

Habitot Children's Museum
2065 Kittredge Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 647-1111

Parenting Q&A

What you need to know about keeping your child safe!

For over ten years, Habitot has taken a leadership role in training and informing parents and caregivers about some common childhood injuries and how to prevent them during its annual Early Childhood Safety Campaign. Drop-in programming on safety event days now include free admission, thanks to State Farm Insurance, but if you can’t make it to the museum, here’s a rundown of some of what you need to know:

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, unintentional accidents are “the biggest threat to the life and health of children 1 to 6 years old.” Luckily, most of these unintentional accidents are preventable.
    Car Seat Safety. Young children restrained in child safety seats have an 80 percent lower risk of fatal injury than those who are unrestrained, and by law you must restrain all children under 6 years. Typically, more than 80% of inspected car seats are installed incorrectly, leaving children at risk for injury or death in the event of an accident. Even if you read the instructions from your car seat manufacturer thoroughly, you should always have your car seat checked by a professional because every car presents different installation challenges.
    Water Safety. Most drownings or near-drownings occur in residential swimming pools, but the beach, lakes, rivers, wading pools and bathtubs have the potential to drown a child. A child should NEVER – not even for a minute to answer the phone or go to the bathroom – be unsupervised in or near water. Teaching a child to swim early in life will give her more confidence in the water, but know that children who have received swimming lessons have still drowned. Well fitting floatation devices seem like a good idea, but they often give parents a false sense of security about their child’s safety in water. Ultimately, there is no substitute for vigilant supervision of children around water.
    Helmet Safety. All children on wheels (tricycles, bicycles, scooters, etc.) must wear a helmet by California law. There is almost no relationship between a child’s age and the size of the helmet needed so you must have your child’s head fitted to be sure the helmet fits well and will do its job. A helmet must sit comfortably but firmly on the head, sitting at the middle of the forehead, with the side straps making triangles and coming to a point just below the ear. The chin strap should be snug. A bike shop or a Habitot staff member can provide a professional fitting. Throughout the Campaign, Habitot has certified, high quality toddler helmets on sale for $9 ($35 in stores). Teach by example and always wear a helmet yourself. And remember, once a helmet’s been in an accident, you must replace it!
    Choke Saving. Obstructed airways pose a great threat to even the youngest of children, who can choke on anything from a small ball to a piece of food that was a little too big. Avoid foods like carrot circles, hot dogs, whole grapes, popcorn, peanuts, and gummy candy or marshmallows – they are prime offenders in choking incidents. Make sure all food is cut up into small pieces to minimize the risk of choking, rid your home of any toy or object that can fit inside a toilet paper tube, and keep a sharp eye on what children pick up and put in their mouths. Refresh your CPR and Choke Saving skills annually. Habitot will give away choke tubes (for testing toys), limited to supplies on hand, and will provide CPR demonstrations in the Museum throughout the Campaign.
    Poisoning. Poisoning is more common than you think, even in households where chemicals and cleaners are safely stored and baby-proofing locks are in place. Children can mistake dangerous liquids and prescription/over the counter pills, including vitamins, as drinks or candy. Lead contained in imported candy and jewelry (and some toys) and paint (including dust from home remodeling projects) are implicated in lead poisoning. Again, reading labels, checking recall notices, and vigilance are critically important.

Don’t let preventable accidents impact your child’s healthy growth and development. With just a little extra caution, you can keep your kids safe even as they explore and stretch their physical limits. For more information, check out the resources below, pick up free handouts in the Museum and attend Habitot’s Early Childhood Safety Campaign events now through September!

Parenting Resources

Preventing Injuries: at home, at play, and on the go (2009) Safe Kids Web Site: http://safekids.org/

Summer Safety Tips (2010) American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Web Site: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/summertips.cfm

Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute Web Site (2010): http://helmets.org/

Are your kids safe? (2010) Car Safety Web Site: http://www.car-safety.org/

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