Child injury prevention

by Public Health Unit

As spring is upon us, we begin to look forward to enjoying activities with our children. Children are busy and on the move constantly, exploring and encountering potential dangers that can put them at risk of injury. Did you know approximately 25 children die from an injury every month in Canada? Injuries are the leading cause of death for children in Canada and a leading cause of hospitalization. Unintentional injuries including falls, burns/scalds, drownings, poisonings, motor vehicle injuries, and sleep related injuries can often be prevented by creating an environment, inside and outside the home that are safe. Everyday 80 children are hospitalized by unintentional injuries most commonly household injuries, especially in children ages zero to four.

Play and exploration is an important part of early child development. Through play children develop fine and gross motor skills, language and social and emotional skills. Promotion of safe environments for these skills to develop is key. Safety does not have to reduce a child’s physical activity or prevent them from exploring their environment. Being aware of the new skills your child is developing and being able to recognize what they can do based on their stage of development will help minimize the potential risks for injury. There are three questions you can use to think about your child’s safety. What can my child do now? Consider all of the things your child is able to currently do and anticipate what they will soon be doing. Next, ask yourself; so what can hurt my child? Explore the environment the child is in to discover and predict potential hazards. Thirdly, ask; now what can I do to keep my child safe? Knowing how to prevent injuries before they happen is the most important step in keeping children safe.

Injury is one of the largest health problems that has the greatest potential of being prevented. Injury prevention, like immunization, has the potential to be among the greatest public health achievements. The Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit supports families to promote safe environments and reduce risk of injury to children. Contact the Public Health Unit at 519.352.7270 for information on how to learn more about your child’s growth and development stages and common risks for injury. Learn how to make your home safe and prevent injury. You can also go to www.childinjuryprevention.ca to sign up for regular free safety tips.

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