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Age-related Injury Prevention

Every stage of your child’s development will pose new safety concerns. Many dangers are age-related. However, each child develops differently, so consider these recommendations as guidelines when evaluating the safety of your home. We have experts at the Safety Store that can guide you through your decisions and help you purchase products or rearrange your home for every stage of development.

For more detailed information on child development and unintentional injury, visit Safe Kids USA.

Birth to 6 Months (Newborns)

  • Transportation: There is so much to consider when bringing a child home, especially when taking your child home. Make sure you have a NEW rear-facing child passenger seat installed BEFORE you pick him/her up from the hospital. Please consider making an appointment to meet with a child-passenger-safety specialist  four weeks prior to your due date. Never place your infant carrier in the top of a shopping cart, as
  • the cart could fall. Remember, infant seats are for transportation only. When you reach your destination, remove your child from the seat to promote active development.
  • Sleeping: Your child will spend most of their time sleeping at this stage. Make sure that you purchase a crib that has not been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. We encourage every parent to sign up for their free e-mail recall notification service. Remove any bumpers from the crib as these items have been cited for suffocation. ALWAYS put your child to sleep on his/her back. Don’t put him to sleep with a bottle or with plush toys or blankets. To keep your child warm, put her to sleep in a onesie and set the room temperature at a comfortable level. Avoid having your child sleep with adults or other children.
  • Bathing and Water Safety: Set your hot-water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a baby-bath thermometer to test the water, and test using the inside of your forearm BEFORE placing your child in the tub. NEVER leave your child unattended in or near any amount of water for any length of time.
  • Dressing: Never leave your child unattended on a bed or a changing table. Always keep one hand on your child at all times. Most children learn to roll at around three months.
  • Eating: Children under the age of 3 learn by putting everything in their mouth. Use an empty toilet-paper tube to test if an object fits through. If it does, keep it out of the reach of your child.
  • Recommended products: Convertible or infant-only car seat. Choke prevention tube, bath thermometer.

For more on baby safety basics, download this guide (PDF) from SafeKidsUSA.

6 to 12 Months (Infants)

  • Transportation: Your child should remain rear-facing until he/she reaches the weight limitation of the car seat, (usually 30 pounds). Most pediatricians recommend keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible.
  • Sleeping: Same as for previous stage.
  • Water Safety: Your child will begin to sit up with some support at around 6 months. However, we discourage the use of baby rings in the bath tub as it gives a false sense of security. Always keep one hand in the water and never leave your child unattended near the water.
  • Dressing: Same as for previous stage.
  • Eating: Your child will start to eat some solid food during this stage. Do not cut food such as hot dogs and carrots in coin-sized shapes. Cut them length-wise or into very small bit-sized morsels. Never leave your child unattended in a high chair.
  • Mobility: Your child will start to crawl and “cruise” along furniture in preparation for his/her first attempts to walk around the age of 1. Never use a baby walker, as there is a high risk of falling down stairs and the child is not physically ready for these movements. Also avoid “jumpy gyms” and other devices for this reason. Put up barriers such as gates and door-handle locks to secure your child in the room you can supervise. Crawl around the room and look at the room from your child’s perspective. Place outlet covers in all outlets, place corner cushions on tables, and remove any glass furniture. Secure your TV and furniture to the wall. Secure all cabinets and place any potential poisons (this includes lipstick) in the highest possible location. Use cord shorteners to avoid a continuous loop in all draperies to avoid strangulation.
  • Recommended products: Convertible car seat, electrical outlet covers, furniture corner cushions, furniture and TV wall fasteners, cabinet and drawer latches, toilet lock, door-handle cover, safety gate.

1 to 2 years (Toddlers)

  • Transportation: Your child should remain rear-facing until he/she reaches the weight limitation of the car seat (usually up to 30 pounds). Most pediatricians recommend keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible. When you think you are ready to transition your child, make an appointment with one of our child-passenger-safety specialists to ensure the seat is installed correctly forward-facing.
  • Bathing: Your child will have a fascination with water. Make sure you remove any buckets, keep the toilet lid closed and locked, and never leave your child unsupervised around a kiddy pool. Children’s heads are disproportionately large for their size. They will want to play in the water and will not have the strength to pull themselves upright. It is best to keep the bathroom secured with a door-knob cover.
  • Dressing: To avoid trips and falls, use shoes with Velcro closures or use “coilers” instead of shoelaces. Remove the cords from hoodies to avoid strangulation.
  • Eating: Keep the phone number of the Poison Control line handy at all times. Continue to cut your child’s food and avoid coin-sized shapes.
  • Mobility: Your child cannot yet negotiate stairs by himself, so keep gates in place. Always hold his hand when walking outdoors. Keep children inside when clipping shrubs or mowing the lawn. Children at this age attempt to crawl on everything so make sure you secure furniture and the TV to the wall. In the kitchen, place stove-knob covers on the burner switches, turn the handles to all pots inwards, and secure all appliances with appliance latches. Keep cabinet latches on all doors and create secondary barriers by placing items on high shelves in locked cabinets.
  • Recommended Products: Bike or multipurpose helmet for riding on child seat or trailer on parents bike.

2 to 5 Years (Early Childhood)

  • Transportation: Keep your child forward facing in a 5-point harness. It is best to keep them in this type of car seat up to the weight limit of the harness, which can be up to 80 pounds. Your child might be ready to transition into a booster seat at around four years old. Make an appointment with a child passenger specialist to make sure they fit in a booster seat safely. If car pooling to kindergarten make sure they have a booster seat in the alternate vehicle.
  • Water Safety: Never leave your child alone in or near water. Always maintain adult supervision. Start your child in swim classes early and always have your child wear a lifeguard-approved life vest around water. Always keep within arms reach of your child when they are in the water. ** Many Children can learn basic swim skills by the age of 5,  Speak to your pediatrician about the best time to begin swim lessons for your child and be sure to enroll your child in a certified swim class. Click on the link below to find a swim school close to you. Learning to swim is not only an enjoyable physical activity, it is also an important lifesaving skill.
  • Burn Prevention: Children at this age are fascinated by fire. Keep all lighters and matches out of reach. Keep a barrier with the fire place or any open fire.
  • Mobility: Your child can now negotiate stairs, hop, skip and run. Make sure you always supervise play. Your child will start walking to kindergarten. It is important to hold his hand and demonstrate good walking habits, such as crossing at cross walks, looking both ways for traffic, and always obeying traffic signs
  • Sports: Always make sure your child wears a helmet whenever he is on wheels. This includes a bike trailer, bike seat, skateboard, Razor, rollerblades or Heely’s. Recommended Products: Use elbow, wrist and knee pads when skateboarding or rollerblading

6 to 10 Years (Middle Childhood)

  • Transportation: The current California law states that a child needs to be seated a child passenger seat, in the back seat,euntil the age of Eight, unless they are 4 foot nine inches or taller.  Make an appointment with a child passenger specialist to make sure your child is ready to transition to a seat belt. Many children are not tall enough to fit in a lap shoulder belt until they are at least 4 foot nine inches tall.  Children should remain in the back seat until their 13th birthday to avoid injury from front air bags.
  • Burn Prevention: Children at this age will often not wake up to fire alarms, make sure you have a family plan to evacuate and meet up with a house fire.
  • Mobility: Children should walk to school with adult supervision until at least 10 years old. Children cannot judge speed, distance or sound very well, and have minimal peripheral vision. They also can only focus on one task at a time, so if they are playing ball in the yard, they are not paying attention to the cars on the road. They also believe that if they can see a car, the car can see them. Children are small and it is often difficult for cars to see them
  • Sports and Activities: Children at this age will begin playing on sports teams and can be swayed by peer pressure. It is important that parents enforce the use of bike helmets and protective gear. Make sure your child is well hydrated before, during and after sports. Ensure that your child is playing with children of similar size and ability. Get to know the coach and make sure that aggressive play is not tolerated. A child should never play through pain, it is important that your child alternate activities to avoid overuse injury. Make sure your coach knows the warning signs of concussion, overuse and heat related injury and removes a child from play and notifies you with any of these concerns. Children should also ride bikes with adult supervision on bike paths, or low speed roads (less than 30mph). Enroll your child in a bike safety class so they can learn basic biking skills such as avoiding hazards and learning the rules of the road.

10 to 14 Years (Early Adolescence)

  • Transportation: Children at this age are more likely to start taking risks. They are more likely not to use a seat belt at this age. Make sure that they wear a seat belt every time they are in a vehicle.
  • Poisoning: Children at this age will also try to experiment. It is important to warn them of the dangers of inhaling aerosols or taking prescription drugs. It is just as important to keep these items locked and secured as it is for younger children.
  • Burns: Children at this age often can prepare simple meals. Make sure they use oven mits when removing hot items from the oven or microwave. The primary cause of burns in this age group comes from hot fluids from microwave soups and noodles.
  • Sports and Activities: Make sure you enforce the helmet rule with every wheeled activity. Peer pressure is even more evident at this age as is peer pressure to engage in risky activities. Make sure the coach of your child’s team has first aid and CPR certification and maintains a culture of safety with every practice and every game.

For more on how to keep your child safe from birth through adolescence, download this report (PDF) from Safe Kids USA.