Bringing a child into your life is the ultimate responsibility. Tending to their needs to make sure they grow into happy, healthy adults is a 24-hour-a-day task that can often feel like an impossible balancing act. Even when you’re diligently watching out for your child’s safety and wellbeing, things can happen.
November is Child Safety & Prevention Month, and there’s good reason for bringing awareness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were 5.2 million children below the age of five who succumbed to preventable deaths in 2019. However, more than 500,000 children between the ages of five and nine also died, and the leading cause of death was injury. When it comes to protecting kids from child injuries, being vigilant about one’s surroundings is key.
What are the risks to children inside my home?
Small children are curious about things most adults consider benign. They lack the understanding that older children have about things like climbing on furniture to reach something that catches their attention, or putting seemingly harmless items in their mouths that contain natural or manufactured chemicals.
Identifying the things that can attract a child’s attention are the very things that you need to be wary of. New items around the house can quickly turn curiosity into a serious injury. Toys that unknowingly present a danger can potentially end in hefty medical bills and permanent damage to your little one, prompting a toy recall and product liability claim.
Other risks include:
- Loss of a limb from something as simple as a lawn mowing accident
- Premises liability if your child becomes injured while visiting someone else’s home
- Spinal injury from tumbling downstairs or falling from a height your child climbed to
- Traumatic brain injury from a near-drowning or fall
- Burn injuries from hot bathwater or a child pulling a boiling pot off the stove
Steps to take to safeguard your children
Be proactive by limiting your child’s exposure to risk around your home. Here are a few simple steps you can take:
- Install baby gates. If you’re unsure of what your young child might be able to access or reach, the safest thing to do is barricade him or her from certain areas and to limit your child’s reach. These gates can be permanently installed into walls and doorways – or there are temporary versions that lock into place and can be moved around the house.
- Safeguard a child’s bed or crib. Kids are adorable when they’re hugging their favorite stuffed animal from grandma or grandpa, but stuffed animals and other loose bedding can create a suffocation hazard. Anything soft or plush should be removed from the bed or crib of your child during naps and at bedtime.
- Limit choking hazards. Keep small toys and other tiny items locked in cabinets or bins that your child can’t open on their own. Anything from coins to game pieces can potentially be swallowed and cause your child to choke. Anything they can put their mouths on – such as door stops and even clothing decorations like buttons – should be removed from your child’s reach unless your eyes are on them.
- Safety locks. If your child is at the age where he or she is crawling or walking, anything within reach at height level or climbing distance is fair game to get into. Better to be safe than sorry, so put child safety locks and caps on anything accessible. It’s also a good idea to use socket covers to prevent electrocution.
- Furniture safety. Be certain that all furniture against the wall is properly anchored. Children like to climb and hang on shelves, dressers, and drawers. These heavy items tipping over on a small child can mean other items falling on top of them in addition to the furniture itself.
- Burn awareness. Add safety devices to bathtub faucets to monitor the water temperature and prevent your young child from turning on the hot water when you’re not looking.
- Poison ingestion. You need to act quickly if your child swallows a piece of plant, potting soil, or household chemicals. Call the helpline at the Georgia Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or head straight to the emergency room.
Household hazards are a serious concern when it comes to the safety of your kids. Preventing injuries that could leave your child permanently injured or worse are not always predictable, and you have a right to recover for the damages caused. You could be entitled to compensation for your child’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and other damages incurred either by a company’s dangerous or faulty product, or another individual’s negligence.
Let the Georgia child injury lawyers at Harris Lowry Manton LLP help you obtain the resources needed for your child’s recovery. Schedule your free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team by calling our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or by reaching out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.