Education Article /  A Pediatric Health and Safety Guide for Infants and Children

A Pediatric Health and Safety Guide for Infants and Children

Posted by National CPR Association |

Jun 06, 2018

Parents, guardians, teachers, and babysitters are usually responsible for the safety and well-being of young children. Infants and young children are not able to make decisions and take necessary actions to keep themselves safe, thus they are highly dependent on the knowledge and skills of their caregivers. Children are often exposed to potential threats in their environment, including the food they eat, the water they bathe in, and the play area that surrounds them. Adults must therefore learn how to keep children safe in all possible situations and environments.

Home Safety

The home is a natural environment where potential hazards exist. Children spend most of their time at home, where the other members of the family assume responsibility for their safety. However, for first-time parents, keeping the home safe for their child may be a priority. Keeping a home safety guide as a valuable tool for instruction may be necessary to create a safe home environment for their child. Home safety guides contain information which includes preparations that should be done before the birth of a new baby and other precautions for the various stages of development in childhood.

Food Allergies

Allergic reactions to food are often unexpected and take parents completely unaware. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that one in thirteen children below seventeen years of age have a food allergy. Common food allergies are caused by eggs, milk, wheat, peanuts, soy, fish, shellfish and nuts. Symptoms include hives, rash, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, swelling of the lips, tongue or face, dizziness, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Severe anaphylaxis, a life-threatening condition, can also lead to a sudden drop in blood pressure, throat swelling, and increased heart rate. Parents of children with severe allergies must know how to use an epinephrine injector pen during such emergencies. Parents must also learn how to check food labels and to notify teachers and other caregivers about their children’s condition.

Poisoning Prevention

Babies and young children tend to put things in their mouth and will ingest anything that looks like food or a drink. To avoid poisoning, parents must keep all potentially poisonous items out of reach, preferably in locked cupboards. These include medications, cleaning products, perfumes, cigarettes, alcohol, and more. Parents must also keep handy emergency phone numbers for poisoning emergencies somewhere within easy reach.

Neighborhood Safety

Older children usually enjoy playing outdoors within their neighborhood. Many parents feel safe with their children playing in a familiar neighborhood, but it is important to make sure it is truly safe. A great way to do this is to become familiar with one’s neighbors, who can help look out for each other’s children. They can also help in identifying suspicious people, and in being aware of their behavior and activities. Rules must be given to children regarding where they are allowed to play. They must be instructed not to talk, go with, or engage with anyone without their parents’ permission. In addition, children should know what to do, and who they should call or go to within their neighborhood, if their care givers are not around and they need immediate help.

School and Bus Safety

Children’s safety in school is the responsibility of both their parents and teachers. Parents must teach their children about proper behavior in school and what they should do when faced with situations such as bullying. School authorities must set rules to prevent and protect the children in their care from injury, including incidents due to violence.

Bus safety is also important, but for children who are not bus riders, pedestrian safety must be taught. Children must learn about safety aboard the school bus, as well as while they are getting on and off the bus.

Travel Safety

Traveling with an infant or a child can be a challenge, especially for a new parent. There are many aspects of health and safety that parents must consider when traveling with young children. For example, they must consult with their pediatricians if they plan to travel by air regarding any recent ear infections or respiratory problems. Before traveling overseas, parents must make sure that their children’s vaccinations are updated. Car seats must be used, and seatbelts must be in place when riding in a car. Parents must also talk to their children about their behavior in unfamiliar places to prevent them from getting hurt or getting lost. In addition, personal hygiene and food safety must be observed at all times to avoid becoming ill while traveling.

Water Safety

Water is a common threat to young children, and many infants and young children drown every year in relatively small amounts of water at home. Keep children safe from drowning by emptying water from buckets and bathtubs and keeping toilet seats closed. Infants and small children must not be left unattended when bathing. Children should never be left near pools or be allowed to swim without supervision. Backyard pools must be fenced off with a self-latching door that is closed at all times. Other outdoor pool safety measures include pool covers, gate alarms, and pool alarms.