Parent Guide to Safety
As parent or caregiver to a child or children, you fill a very important role. You’re helping to shape the next generation every single day. And while your job may not feel very rewarding when you’re scraping macaroni and cheese off the floor for the third time this week, your role as a parent or caregiver couldn’t be more important.
With your very important role also comes great responsibility. Part of that responsibility is keeping that little person safe. And let’s face it—kids don’t always make that easy. From rambunctious toddler to curious pre-schooler to invincible 8-year-old, children of all ages seemingly enjoy giving us parents miniature heart attacks on a daily basis.
What can you do to make sure you are prepared for any injury your child might face? What can you do to prevent injuries without limiting play and exploration?
CPR & First Aid Certification
Prepare for every scenario by getting yourself CPR and First Aid certified. You’ll learn life-saving techniques that you’ll be so glad you know if the worst ever happens. You’ll also learn what to do with a sprained ankle, a burn, a head wound, and more.
These classes also give you the confidence you’ll need to stay calm in emergency situations. Staying calm and thinking rationally can be the most important tool in your tool box when dealing with an emergency of any kind.
Prevention is Easier Than Treatment
While you can’t be there to catch them every time, there are a few precautions you can take to make sure that your child will walk away with just a scratch from many common childhood injuries.
For babies who are just learning to walk, make sure there are no staircases nearby that aren’t gated. Make sure that any furniture your baby might use to pull herself up is sturdy and doesn’t tip easily. Eliminate area rugs with edges that might trip your newly walking child.
For toddlers, remember that if it can fit in their mouth or nose, there’s a good chance it will end up there. If you’re taking medication, always make sure that you keep the medication somewhere that they can’t possibly reach it. If you’re preparing to take the medication, keep it in your hand at all times. As soon as you turn your back to grab a glass of water, your curious child might seize the opportunity to get a closer look at your medication. And again, if it fits in his mouth, chances are it will end up there.
Whenever your child will be on a scooter, bicycle, skateboard or similar equipment, make sure they have a properly fitting helmet and knee and elbow pads. If you haven’t purchased a new helmet in several years, then it’s time to invest in a new one because the old one most likely doesn’t fit your ever-growing child.
If there is a trampoline in your life, I’ll say a prayer for you. Nothing can stop a parent’s heart quite as fast as their child on a trampoline. Also, in addition to prayer, make sure your trampoline has the safety netting around its perimeter.
If you have a teen in the house, then consider registering him for a CPR and First Aid class as well. It will help him to be more aware of the possibilities of injury and more confident in a course of action if he or a friend is injured away from parental supervision.
And if teen is driving, then consider enrolling him in a defensive driving course. We can help him be on the lookout for potential danger while driving, and give him the tools to respond quickly and safely to any situation.
There are other programs, such as the DARE program, that can help you educate your teens on the danger of drugs and alcohol. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about the effects of these and what to do if they or a friend needs help. If you’re unsure what to say, take a look at these tips from Drugfree.org.
No matter the age of your child, talk to them about being in charge of their own safety. Educate them on the different dangers they may face, and help them by encouraging them to make positive choices before they are in a high-pressure situation.
Bumps & Bruises
Parents, as you know well, you can’t prevent every bump or bruise. So, let’s talk about dealing with the bumps and bruises.
Head bumps from falls are the most common injuries in children under age 9, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If your little one bumps his head and remains fully alert and conscious, then grab an ice pack and a wash cloth. Apply ice to the area if your baby will cooperate. If your baby:
- Won’t stop crying
- Appears sleepy or lethargic
- Pupils change
- Isn’t acting like himself, then
You should get him checked out by a medical professional. A concussion is a concern at any age.
If your child has hit her head and is unconscious, then call 9-1-1. Don’t move her while you wait for medical help.
Burns hurt. If your child burns herself, prevent further damage to the skin by cooling the area as soon as possible. Soak the burned area in cool water, or use a clean cloth by getting it wet and then applying it to the area.
If the burn is severe and the skin is broken, seek immediate treatment. If the skin is intact but the burns cover a large area, seek medical treatment.
Cuts, Scrapes, and Bleeding Wounds
Start by stopping the bleeding. Apply a clean cloth (gauze or other sterile cloth-like medical pads is best if you have it) over the area and hold it firmly to the wound. Applying pressure will slow the blood flow to the area and start the clotting process. Do not keep pulling the cloth away to check for bleeding. Hold it for several minutes before checking.
If the blood has soaked through the cloth and is beginning to soak through a second cloth, call 9-1-1.
For a small cut or scrape that stops bleeding after a minute or two, gently clean the area with an antiseptic and then apply antibiotic ointment before applying gauze held in place with tape. Go get checked out because your child might need stitches.
Parents, kids gets hurt. It’s part of growing up. Be kind to yourself if your child bumps his head jumping on the bed when you weren’t looking, or if she cuts her hand grabbing blindly in a drawer in the kitchen that she only just became tall enough to reach, or any other injury. None of us are perfect. We all do our best.
Part of doing our best is being prepared for situations such as this. Knowing that you are prepared for any event will help you to remain calm in the moment which is important to ensuring that your child receives the care she needs.
I’m Emily Garcia, mom to my own dangerous crew, and if you’d like more tips on keeping your child safe, visit my Facebook page.