There are several injuries that children are more prone to than adults. This is due to children’s sense of adventure and lack of fear, and to their undeveloped cognitive skills. They can happen when you least expect it, and in turn, an injury-based lawsuit could sneak up on you. As a teacher, supervisor, guardian, parent or family friend, you want to be proactive in order to prevent some of these common injuries, and learn how to treat them when they occur. Being proactive can avoid injury, and depending on the setting, avoid a lawsuit. Below are some of the most common injuries.
Scrapes and Scratches
Kids are full of energy and they run and leap and play rough which means they will have plenty of scrapes and scratches throughout their childhood. While there is not much you can do to prevent kids being kids, you can have the basic first aid supplies on hand to treat the inevitable as it occurs. All minor scrapes and scratches should be washed with warm soapy water and covered with a band aid or gauze. To prevent infection you can apply an antibacterial ointment. Make sure to take band aids with you and keep a basic first aid kit in the car.
Choking and Suffocation
Because children like to put foreign objects in their mouths it can lead to accidental swallowing, choking, or suffocation. Kids also like to play and put things over their head such as plastic bags which can cause suffocation. Until they have fully developed cognitive skills they will not understand that all they need to do is pull the plastic away from their face so that they can breathe. To reduce the odds of suffocation from plastic keep plastic bags out of reach. To help dislodge an item that can cause choking and suffocation learn the Heimlich maneuver.
Bumps and Bruises
Bumps and bruises often accompany scrapes and scratches. This could be due to falling when running and playing, or falling when climbing on playground toys, playing sports, or jumping and climbing on furniture. To treat bumps and bruises keep ice packs in your freezer, and seek medical attention for any bumps to the head that cause dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, or a temporary loss of consciousness.
Burns are another injury that are common in children. Burns can be quite detrimental and are often caused by children’s curiosity. To help prevent burns do not leave lighters and matches within reach of children. Talk to your kids about the dangers of fire. Make sure that all fireworks, even simple sparklers, are used with adult supervision. Put hot water stops on faucets until your children are old enough to understand the dangers of scalding. When cooking with your children keep a close eye on them when they use the stove and oven, and teach them how to use oven mitts.
Kids like to put things in their mouth anything from buttons to toxic plants, leaves, and a cleaning chemical that may be mistaken for a beverage. To prevent accidental poisoning from chemicals make sure that all cleaning chemicals are kept out of reach or in cabinets and cupboards that have child safety locks. Also put “Mr. Yuk” stickers on all of your household chemicals. Don’t forget that environmentally safe cleaning supplies are still toxic when consumed. Research the type of plants you have in your home to see what kind of reaction they will cause when ingested, and keep toxic plants on out of reach shelves. When your kids are outside playing keep a close eye on them to make sure they are not trying to eat toxic berries or foreign objects. Also keep ipecac in the fridge to induce vomiting when you fear a toxic chemical has been swallowed and seek immediate medical attention.
It is impossible to know what your children are doing every second of every day. It is important that you communicate with them as they age about safety and how to avoid some of the injuries listed above.
This article was contributed by Sandy Wallace, aspiring lawyer and father of three. If your child has been injured as a result of a pedestrian accident, Mike suggests seeking the services of Freeman & Freeman.