Thursday, November 13, 2008

Childhood Safety: Preventing Falls

Children, with their excess energy and natural curiosity, have plenty of opportunities to fall down. It can be as simple as trying to reach that cookie jar while using an unstable object as footstool or running down the stairs in their socks. Balancing on curbs is also a popular accident. As it is, accidents involving falls can seem as much part of childhood as a PB and J sandwich and morning cartoons. Even so, there are some things you can do to prevent the worst accidents from happening and minimizing the risks of those you cannot stop. Below are some tips on preventing falls:

1. Beware of heights.

Not to encourage a fear of heights but it would be sensible of you to teach your children not to play in places that are too high off the ground. Fire escapes, high porches, and balconies are certainly not places to play tag or jump around. If you have small children around, it is better to keep these places off-limits or accessible only to adults by means of locks placed on the higher parts of the entrances. Having a rule that clearly expresses your dislike of having young children play in these areas is also a good idea. Windows should also be locked if no adult is supervising playtime since children can easily climb and fell from one.

2. Keep stairs free from clutter.

As convenient as it is, the stairs is hardly a good place to keep shoes. Clutter on the stairs increases the risk of tripping and falling. Keep your stairs free from clutter such as books, magazines, toys, or other home ornaments. In fact, the less cluttered your stairs are, the safer it will be. It is also a good idea to keep yourself from polishing stair steps as waxes can make them slippery. Spills on the stairs should be wiped and dried as soon as possible to avoid possible mishaps.

3. Install safety gates and handrails.

If you have a toddler who has just learned to walk and is itching to try his newfound skills, installing safety gates along entrances to rooms and handrails along short steps is a good idea. Safety gates can prevent your kid from wandering from room to room – particularly rooms that lead to stairs or have low windows. Just make sure that there are no objects around that he can use to climb over the safety gates as those will sadly defeat the purpose of installing the gates in the first place. If you have short flights of stairs or steps around in your house, it will help if you install handrails just in case your toddler finds an opportunity to climb these without your supervision.

4. Keep floors free of debris and clutter.

There are a number of floor-based objects that can contribute to falls in children. Loose area rugs, carpeting, mats, and cords can slid and trip you and your child. Secure rugs and carpets by using a double-sided adhesive or by sliding under them a rubber mat. Cords should be put tied with plastic binders that keep excess lengths out of the way. It is also a good idea to keep appliances near the power outlets to avoid using extension cords that can cause trips and short circuits.

5. Equip your home and child against falls.

For those accidents you cannot avoid, it is best to keep your home and child with materials that can minimize the pain and injury. At home, it is best if you keep a medicine cabinet or first aid kit filled with discount drugs like antiseptics for possible wounds and painkillers for sprains and fractures. If your child bikes to school or engages in sports, it is best if you invest in protective gear like helmets and elbow pads.

Resource Box:

Kristine Anne Gonzaga is a content writer and researcher who specializes in health topics and health-related issues. She delights in finding tips and ideas on simple and practical healthcare and sharing them through her writing.

No comments: