Follow These Tips to Protect Children From Injury

If you follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, you may be able reduce your child’s chance of injury and death from all-terrain vehicle accidents and residential fires. According to two reports in Pediatrics’ June issue, such injuries can often be prevented.

According to the report, fires and burns are the leading cause of accidental death. There are over 1,000 children killed each year by fire-related causes.

However, fire-related injuries are also very serious. Walter Ingram, MD is the director of Grady Memorial Hospital’s burn unit and an assistant professor of surgery at Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta. “Aside from immense pain, burn scars can last forever and affect social interactions permanently,” he says. Ingram told WebMD that scarring can also impact physical function and often requires one or more reconstructive surgery.

The academy recommends the following to prevent fire-related injury and death:

  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Every year, replace smoke alarm batteries.
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
  • Create an escape plan for each room of the house.
  • The escape plan should be practiced twice per year.
  • A ladder is a good idea for homes that have a second story.
  • To avoid toxic gases and smoke, crawl on your knees if you are in a fire.
  • To put out flames, stop, drop and roll your clothes.
  • Cool running water is the best way to start burn treatment.
  • If a fire breaks out in an apartment building, you can use the stairs to get out.

According to Pediatrics’ second report, motorized all-terrain vehicle (ATVs), pose a similar risk as residential fires. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 1,000 children have died from ATVs since 1985. The majority of these deaths resulted from head injuries.

Even minor head injuries can cause long-lasting damage. David Fagin MD, medical director of emergency services at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center, states that head injuries can have short-term learning and concentration problems as well as long-term mental problems. Head injuries can have a significant impact on family life in any way. The academy published an ATV policy statement, in 1987, to reduce the incidences. The industry responded by issuing an ATV policy statement in 1987. It stated that it would no longer produce or sell three-wheel ATVs. It also agreed to include age recommendations and warnings on product labels and provide rider safety training throughout the country.

The academy recommends that three-wheelers used are recalled and that resale is prohibited. Safety enhancements like speed governors and seatbelts, roll bars or day-running headlights, engine covers, and roll bars are also suggested. Pediatricians also urge legislators to require helmets and licensure. They also recommend that passengers be prohibited from using the vehicle at night. The academy also requests that pediatricians support a law banning anyone younger than 16 from using ATVs.

Updated 01/24/22