Look carefully and you’ll see dangerous situations for your children almost anywhere you turn – cars whizzing by, knives on the counter, a box of matches, an unlocked car door or pool gate, and untied shoelaces are just a few. Here are some hidden dangers that may not seem so obvious:
The lowdown on escalators. If you’ve ever been to a shopping mall with your children, you know that it’s easier to ride the escalators than to climb the stairs. What you might not know, is that thousands of people are injured on these moving stairs every year. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2007 alone, the final year that the Commission (CPSC) tracked escalator-related injuries, more than 11,000 of these accidents were reported, many involving children. To keep your family safe, the CPSC offers this advice:
• Make sure shoes are tied before getting on an escalator.
• Stand in the center of the step, and be sure to step off of the escalator at the end of your ride.
• Always hold children’s hands on escalators, and do not permit children to sit or play on the steps.
• Do not take children onto escalators in strollers, walkers or carts.
• Always face forward and hold the handrail.
• Learn where the emergency shut-off buttons are located in case you need to stop the escalator.
Shop ‘til you don’t drop. There’s a good reason warnings are printed on many shopping carts—They can be dangerous if not used properly. How many times have you seen children, maybe your own, standing in a shopping cart? This is a big no-no. The CPSC warns parents that falls from shopping carts are a leading cause of head injuries among young children, and that a fall from a cart can be fatal. In 1994, a three-year-old boy died after he stood up in a cart, fell backward out of the cart, and hit his head on the floor. Preventing falls is easy if you follow a few simple family safety rules:
• Always use the shopping cart seat belts to prevent your child from standing up in the cart.
• Never use a cart that doesn’t have a restraining belt.
• Don’t leave your child unattended.
Look before your child leaps. What could possibly be dangerous about a “bounce house” with inflatable walls and a soft floor? Plenty. In 2007, a three-year-old boy died when he was crushed by two adults who were jumping with him. Also, a young girl broke her neck and died when she fell inside a bounce house. How can you avoid these types of accidents? These tips should help:
• Instruct your child to be careful when playing inside a bounce house – no flips, no running, no pushing, no tackling, etc.
• Count the number of children going inside, and make sure that it doesn’t exceed the allowed limit. “The more, the merrier” may be true for some games, but it definitely doesn’t apply to a bounce house.
• Make sure the bounce house is securely tied down. Several incidents in recent years involved a bounce house that was lifted up or toppled by a gust of wind.
By following these family safety precautions, we hope to help keep you – and those most dear to you – safe and secure.