Families - Injury Prevention
The following information is designed with you, your family's primary caregiver, in mind. The Indian Health Service Head Start Program looks forward to being your family's partner in health. Together we can improve the health of our children and families -- today and in the future.
Although childhood injuries often seem like random, unpreventable accidents, with proper precautions, you can reduce the risk of your children experiencing a potentially fatal injury. Here's a list of the most common types of injuries and what to be aware of to prevent them:
Motor Vehicle Safety
- Children should ride in a child safety seat or a booster seat appropriate to their height, weight and age. Seats should be properly secured, and children should sit in them for every car ride-no exceptions.
- Infants must always ride in the back seat in rear-facing car safety seats until they are 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds.
- Children one year of age and weighing at least 20 pounds can ride in a forward-facing car seat in the back seat.
- Children should ride in safety seats with a harness as long as possible, and then they should ride in belt-positioning booster seats until the age of at least eight years.
- After the age of eight, children should always wear seat belts in the car.
- Drowning is the second leading cause of death among children and youth ages 1 to 14 years.
- Children can drown in the time it takes you to answer the phone.
- Children can drown in less than an inch of liquid.
- Children should always be supervised closely around water. Never leave a child alone near a swimming pool, hot tub, bathtub, water-filled bucket or any standing water.
- Children should always wear US Coast Guard approved life jackets when swimming or boating in open water such as a lake.
- If you have a swimming pool, you must:
- Install four-sided pool fencing that completely encloses the pool.
- Install child-safe locks on doors and gates that lead to the pool area.
- Remember that inflatable water toys are not safety devices.
Water Safety Links:
Home Fire Safety
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and near all rooms where people sleep.
- Test your smoke alarms every month.
- Do not smoke in bed or leave candles burning unattended.
- Prepare a fire escape plan and practice it with your family.
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Children should be supervised during playground time, including before and after school.
- Children should not use playground equipment when wearing clothing with drawstrings, cords, scarves or strings, nor should they take jump ropes to the playground, due to the risk of strangulation and choking.
- Children should play on playground equipment suitable to their size and age.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Infants under 1 year of age should be placed on their backs to sleep.
- Soft bedding materials, such as pillows, stuffed toys, quilts and bumper pads, should be removed from infants' cribs.
- Make sure that infants are always in a smoke-free environment.
- Don't overdress infants.
- Keep the temperature of an infant's room comfortable for a lightly clothed adult.
- Do not put more than one baby in a single crib. Infants should not share a bed with another baby, child or adult.
- Never put a blanket over an infant's face or head.
- If you do cover an infant with a blanket, make it a thin blanket. Place the baby with its feet at the bottom of the crib, and tuck the blanket around the crib mattress, covering the baby only as high as the chest. Consider using a sleep sack or a wearable blanket, though, instead of a traditional blanket. These options are safer.
- Make sure babies have awake, supervised tummy time in order to strengthen the muscles they need to slide on their bellies and crawl.
- Tell other family members and caregivers about these instructions.
- Make sure an infant's crib meets the Consumer Product Safety Commission
Injury Prevention Tips and Resources for Head Start Families
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