Helping Our Community Raise Curious, Creative, and Confident Children
Keeping Children Safe
Avoiding Common Accidents
Preventable injuries are the #1 killer of kids in the U.S. Every year, 8,000 families lose a child because of a preventable injury. When a child dies, the lives of families are changed forever.
                          Safe Kids Worldwide
Water Safety

Most drownings and near- drownings occur in residential swimming pools, but any body of water, from the beach to the bathtub, poses a danger. A child should never be unsupervised in or near water, not even while the caregiver runs to the bathroom.

Teaching a child to swim early in life will give them more confidence in the water, but please remember that children who have received swimming lessons have still drowned. Also, well-fitting flotation devices seem like a good idea, but they often give parents a false sense of security about their child’s safety in the water. Ultimately, there is no substitute for vigilant supervision of children when they are around water.
Car Seat Safety

By California law, children under 8 years of age must use a safety seat in the car. Children in safety seats have an 80% lower risk of fatal injury than those who are unrestrained. Typically, more than 80% of inspected car seats are installed incorrectly!

Even if you've read the instructions from your car seat manufacturer thoroughly, you should have your child's safety seat checked by a professional. Every car presents different installation challenges.
Helmet Safety
All minors on wheels (tricycles, bicycles, etc.) must wear a helmet by California law. Surprisingly, there is little relationship between a child’s age and the size of the helmet they need. For a helmet to do its job, it should be fitted.
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.
Choke Safety

To minimize the risk of choking, small children should be given food in small pieces. Circular foods, like carrots, hot dogs, and grapes, should be cut so they don't enter your child's mouth as a circle.

Find out what foods are the biggest offenders, and share what you learn. Did you know that popcorn is a leading choke offender? Did you know that foods like peanut butter are a common airway obstruction?

Remember that children, especially babies, discover the world through their mouths. They love to "taste test" everything. A good rule of thumb is to remove from reach toys and objects that can fit inside a toilet paper tube. Keep a sharp eye on what children pick up and put into their mouths! Also, consider refreshing your CPR and choke saving skills annually because you truly can save a child's life.
Poison Safety
Cleaning products can look delicious. Children can mistake dangerous liquids for the kinds of drinks they love. Many cleaning products have pictures of fruit on the label, and are juice colored. If your child doesn't read yet, confusing a cleaning product packaged like this with a yummy drink is an easy and dangerous mistake to make.

Likewise, vitamins and pills can be mistaken for candy. Although the number of poisoning cases seen in hospitals has been on the decline for years, the number of poisoning cases that are the result of mistaking medicine for candy has been increasing. If you look at the bright colors used for medicine, this is not surprising.

Unlike many poisonings, the signs of lead poisoning can be subtle. You might be surprised to learn that there are thousands of cities in the U.S. with "...documented childhood lead poisoning rates double of those found in Flint...," Michigan (Reuters). Lead can come in surprising forms, like imported candy, jewelry, and toys. Paint chips and dust from remodeling also pose a risk in older homes.

It's important for us all to know that poisonings happen, even in households where chemicals and cleaners are safely stored. Again, reading labels, checking recall notices, and vigilance are critical.
Community Safety
Let's prevent accidents and preserve the healthy growth and development of children, both our own, and those in our community! With just a little extra caution, we can keep our kids safe as they explore the world, and stretch their physical limits.
References and Related Reading
1. Getting the Lead Out of U.S. Homes | Safe Kids Worldwide
2. California Helmet Code | California Legislative Information
3. Lead's Hidden Toll  | Reuters Investigates
4. Top 9 Choking Foods | Family Education
5. Child Safety Seats | California Highway Patrol
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Copyright 2018 HABITOT CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
2065 Kittredge St., Berkeley   |   Habitot.org   |   510. 647.1111
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