One of the hardest parts of working in pediatric medicine are the tragic stories. A small child losing their battle with cancer, or a child suffering from the complications of a complex medical condition. By far, the worst tragedies are the ones we call, “in the blink of an eye” tragedy- the near fatal or fatal accidents that occur within minutes, sometimes seconds, of turning your head. Within a blink of an eye, your life can change forever. Stories of these types of accidents make your heartache and cause you to hug your children a little tighter.
As parents, we all get distracted, whether we are trying to answer a quick text or change your baby’s diaper, we have all taken our eyes off of our children. It would be unrealistic to never get distracted, but unfortunately some of the most dangerous accidents can occur within seconds. That is why I am so passionate about safety, education and prevention. As parents, there are important and necessary measures that we can take to help prevent these horrible “in the blink of an eye” tragedies from occurring. Let’s discuss some of the safety and prevention measures you can take to avoid these types of tragedies from occurring with your own children.
Drowning Prevention. Growing up and practicing medicine in South Florida, drowning prevention is a true passion of mine. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1-4 nationwide. A child can drown is less than 2 inches of water and within minutes.
- Never overestimate your child’s swimming skills. It is important to understand that no matter how well they swim, your child can panic and forget their skills within seconds. Any swimming child that is under the age of 4 must be within arms length of an adult at all times.
- Pool Fence. Many drownings occur because a child wanders outside and falls into the pool. A pool fence is the only way to ensure not only that your child is protected, but that other visiting children are as well.
- Never assume someone is watching your child. Never leave your child unsupervised near a unguarded pool. Many drownings occur during social gathers such as BBQs and swim parties. Parents have a false sense of security because there are other adults supervising, but this a very dangerous! Drowning is actually a silent struggle, many times going unnoticed, even with supervision present.
- Alcohol and Swimming Never Mix. It is imperative that who ever is supervising the pool has absolutely no distractions. Even one drink can cause you to become easily distracted.
Crush injuries. Crush injuries can be very serious and possibly fatal. Make sure that all of your furniture is anchored to the ground or wall. As infants start to explore and become more independent, they love to climb on furniture. It is important that you eliminate the possibility of the furniture piece falling onto them.
Burns. We see so many burn injuries in the ER that could have been prevented. When cooking with toddlers in the house, you should never use the front burners. Cooking on the back burners with the handles facing towards the back of the stove almost eliminates the chance of a small child reaching up for the handle and pulling the pot or pan down.
Toxic Ingestions. Over the past few years, we have had the privilege of working with some incredible companies, but my favorite collaborations are the ones that focus on safety prevention. I have worked with KnowYourOTCs over the past year, educating parents on the how to safely use, store, and dispose medicine. Approximately 60,000 kids go to the ER every year because they got into medications that were left within reach (this equals 4 school bus loads of kids every day). In fact, according to SafeKids, “almost every minute of every day there is a call to a poison control center because a young child got into a medicine.” National Poison Prevention Week is March 18-24, 2018. Let us take this time to take the right steps to protecting our children from accidental ingestions.
- Parents must teach their children what medicine is and that only a parent or caregiver should give it to them. Parents should never tell their children that medicine, including vitamins, are candy, even if it encourages your child to take it. It is important to teach children the difference between a fruit snack gummy and medicine/vitamin gummies, and to store the vitamins up and out of the reach of your children.
- Make sure to double check that your medicines are stored safely up, away and out of sight of kids. This isn’t just an important step when you are home, but also when you travel or have medicines in your suitcase or purse. It is also something to consider when staying with friends or family, especially grandparents. I encourage you to have conversations with your guests that they too need to keep their medicines away from your children and pets. Please check out Up & Away for more information and tips.
- I can’t tell you how many parents fail to provide contact information for Poison Control or their pediatrician when they leave their children home with a babysitter. This is especially true when a babysitter is brought in last minute. The Poison Control Centers’ phone number should be easily accessible in your own home and saved into your cell phones: (800)-222-1222
I’m proud to take part as a blogging ambassador with the CHPA (Consumer Healthcare Products Association) Educational Foundation and KnowYourOTCs.org. This is a Sponsored Post! While I Have Received Compensation From The CHPA Educational Foundation, All Opinions Are My Own.