Jennifer Trachtenberg, MD, renowned RealAge expert and author of Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children, has released her Top 5 Summer Safety Tips for Parents in conjunction with the Home Safety Council’s Home Safety Month, June 2007.
Accidents are still the leading cause of death in children. “Most accidents aren’t accidents at all,” explains Dr. Trachtenberg, chief pediatric officer for RealAge.com. “They happen because we overlook, underestimate, or ignore risky situations.” Surprisingly, most accidents happen to kids while under parental supervision, either in the evening or on weekends, and while on vacation – usually when the parent is relaxed.
Her top five tips are:
- Wear a helmet: If there’s one piece of safety equipment to wear, it’s a helmet. Helmets can reduce the risk of head and brain injuries by 88%. Head injuries are the leading cause of bike-related deaths.
- Learn to swim: Never leave a child up to the age of 5 alone by the water. Four-year-olds usually have the mind-body skills needed for formal swimming instruction and water-safety training.
- Beware of balloons: A leading cause of death in children, make sure popped or uninflated balloons are out of children’s reach. If a child swallows an uninflated balloon, it takes the shape of the airway rather than moving down it like a solid object would.
- Choking: For young kids, choking is one of the most common causes of accidental death. Teach your child the universal sign for choking. Common foods that can cause choking are spoonfuls of peanut butter, white bread, nuts, chunks of cheese, hot dogs, whole grapes, and popcorn.
- iPoditis: To keep kids’ hearing sharp for years to come, noise researchers recommend limiting earbud use to no more than an hour a day and keeping the volume no higher than 90 decibels (about the loudness of a vacuum cleaner or lawn mower). You can download free software at apple.com that limits the volume on your child’s iPod.