With one of the busiest pediatric emergency medicine programs in the nation and more than 90,000 ER visits annually, you can trust that we've treated just about everything. We love kids here at Children's. But we'd rather see them safe at home. That's why we've gathered safety and injury-prevention tips from our very own experts. Share these tips with your kids and print them to share at their schools or with your friends. Together, we can make safe simple.

100 Days

What You Should Know

atvsafety2Simple steps to prevent ATV injuries

With proper training, safety equipment, and an appropriately-sized ATV, children and teens can protect themselves from serious injury while riding ATVs.

ATV Injury Facts

  • ATV injuries commonly occur from rollover crashes, collisions with stationary objects and falling off the ATV. 
  • The majority of fatalities result from injuries to the head and neck. 
  • Non-fatal injuries commonly include broken bones and head injuries.
  • ATVs are designed for off-road use. Paved roads can seriously hamper the machine's handling ability, causing the driver to easily lose control.

Keys to ATV Safety

  • Always wear a helmet with eye protection and other protective clothing, including long-sleeve shirts, long pants, ankle boots and gloves. 
  • Chose the ATV that is the right size for the operator’s age.
  • Always follow the ATV manufacturer’s minimum age requirements warning labels.

Reduce the risk of ATV injury to children.

  • Be aware of and enforce manufacturer’s warning labels including minimum age requirements and single rider.
  • Never allow anyone under 16 years old to operate a full size ATV. 
  • Always supervise children under 16 years old on ATVs. 
  • Operate ATVs on only trails and at an appropriate speed. 
  • Be a good example -- always demonstrate safe riding behavior and always wear proper protective equipment and clothing.

Every rider should take a hands-on rider safety course.

What You Should Know

Car Seat SafetyHow to use your car seat correctly

An estimated 75% of car seats are installed improperly (SafeKids USA). Correctly and safety securing children in vehicles can greatly reduce injury. Caregivers should always serve as role models and rule-setters when it comes to vehicle safety restraints.

Child Safety Seats - Infants and Young Toddlers

Children should remain rear-facing as long as possible, or until they exceed the height or weight limit specified by the child restraint manufacturer. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children ride rear-facing until at least two years of age.

Rear-facing Car Seat Tips

  • Read the car seat and vehicle owners’ manuals to ensure the seat is installed properly. 
  • Position the harness straps so they are at or below the child’s shoulders. 
  • Make sure the harness straps are buckled, properly positioned, and snug. 
  • Make sure the chest clip is at armpit level. 
  • If installed properly, the car seat should not move more than one inch in any direction. 
  • Never put a rear-facing car seat in front of an active airbag. 
  • Children are always safest in the back seat.

Child Safety Seats - Preschoolers and Young Schoolchildren

Five-point restraints provide more protection to children in motor vehicle accidents because they spread the crash forces over a larger area of their body. Many car seats have five point restraints with high weight limits. Don't be in a rush to move a child from a forward-facing child restraint into a booster seat.

Forward-facing Car Seat Tips

  • Forward-facing car seats should be used once a child has reached the maximum weight or height limit of a rear-facing seat. 
  • Use a forward-facing carseat with a harness until the child reaches the height or weight limits specified by the seat’s manufacturer before transitioning into a booster seat. 
  • Read the car seat and vehicle owners’ manuals to ensure the seat is installed properly. 
  • Position harness straps so they are at or above the child’s shoulders. 
  • Some convertible seats require the use of top slots when the seat is forward-facing; be sure to read the car seat manual carefully. 
  • Make sure the harness straps are buckled, properly positioned, and snug. 
  • Make sure the chest clip is at armpit level. 
  • If installed properly, the car seat should not move more than one inch in any direction. 

Child Safety Seats - Young Schoolchildren

Booster seats provide additional height and support for children to help ensure that vehicle seat belts fit appropriately. Most seat seats were designed so people 4'9" or taller would fit properly using the seat belt.

  • Booster seats should be used for children once they have outgrown the forward-facing car seat. 
  • Use a belt positioning booster seat until the child reaches a height of 4 feet 9 inches and is between 8 and 12 years of age. 
  • Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap AND shoulder belt. Be sure the seat belt is properly buckled. 
  • Never place the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. 
  • Use a booster seat correctly in a back seat every time your child rides in a vehicle. 
  • Children should ride in the back seat away from airbags until they are 13 years old

Young Adults and Drivers

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children sit in the back seat until they are at least 13.
  • Young adults who sit in the front seat should be mature enough to sit still with their feet on the floor for the duration of the trip and not provide any additional distractions to the driver.
  • Airbags deploy out of the dashboard at an average of 180-200 miles per hour and are designed to protect full-grown adults. Smaller children and adults can be seriously injured by the force of the airbag.
  • Drivers should be 10-12" away from the airbag/steering wheel when possible, and passengers should be at least 22-24" away.
  • A distraction is anything can take your concentration from driving. A few examples include: texting, checking email, looking or adjusting GPS, loud music, eating, loud or active passengers, adjusting clothing or hair, applying makeup, shaving, and daydreaming. ANY distraction greatly reduces your reaction time and your ability to monitor all areas of the roadway and pedestrian traffic around you.

Hypothermia

  • Never leave children unattended in a car.
  • Place a stuffed animal in the car seat when not in use. When you buckle your child in, put the stuffed animal in the front seat or near/in some personal belongings where you're likely to notice it, thus reminding you to unbuckle your child.
  • The temperature inside a car can rise 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit every 15 minutes.
  • Hyperthermia can occur on days with outside temperatures as low as 70, as the interior of a car can reach 116 degrees F.
  • As children have lower water reserves in their bodies, a child's body temperature raises 3-4 times faster than an adult's.

What You Should Know

Playground SafetyKeep your kids safe at the playground

More than two million emergency department visits a year are related to childhood falls. Thankfully, many falls can be prevented. Prevention is not difficult. It does require your attention and some effort. Supervision is the most important thing you can do to prevent childhood injuries.

General

  • Never leave babies unsupervised on any piece of furniture including changing tables, beds, and sofas. 
  • Use safety straps and other safety features on high chairs, shopping carts, and changing tables. 
  • Use safety covers or install padding on sharp corners. 
  • Use stationary “walkers” instead of wheeled walkers. 
  • Be sure televisions and other heavy furniture are stable and secure to prevent tipping. 
  • Use safety gates to keep young children away from stairs. 
  • Don’t place toys or items that attract children on top of furniture. 
  • Make sure stairs are clear of toys and other objects.

Windows

  • Install window guards on all windows above the first floor. 
  • Do not rely on window screens to keep children from falling out.

Winter Weather

  • Point your feet out slightly like a penguin to increase your center of gravity.
  • Bend your legs and walk flat-footed.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets; your arms can be used to help keep your balance.
  • If you do fall, try land on your side or bottom and don't brace your fall with your knees, wrists, or neck; relax your muscles as you fall to reduce injury.

Playgrounds

  • Always supervise children at playgrounds.
  • Make sure playground equipment is age appropriate. Since 1994, manufacturers are required to have a sticker placed on each piece of equipment indicating the appropriate age group for which it was designed.
  • Be sure surfaces under playground equipment are soft enough to absorb falls.
  • Make sure equipment is specifically designed for playground use.

What You Should Know

household-safetyDid you know that injuries are a leading cause of death in children? Each year 5,000 children die and another six million are hurt as a result of unintentional injuries. One in four children is hurt seriously enough to need medical attention. Most childhood injuries occur at home and many of these injuries could be prevented.

Falls

  • Never leave babies unsupervised on any piece of furniture including changing tables, beds, and sofas.
  • Use safety straps and other safety features on high chairs, shopping carts, and changing tables.
  • Use safety covers or install padding on sharp corners.
  • Install window guards on all windows above the first floor.
  • Do not rely on window screens to keep children from falling out.

Poisoning

  • Review the poison prevention home checklist from the Minnesota Regional Poison Center at www.mnpoison.org.
  • Keep all potential poisons up high and out of the reach of children -- preferably in a locked storage container.
  • Keep medications and vitamins out of the reach of children.
  • Keep products in original containers. Do not use food storage containers to store poisonous substances (i.e. plant food in a drink bottle).
  • Identify all household plants to determine if poisonous.
  • Post the Poison Center phone number, 800-222-1222, near each phone in the home.

Burns

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Cover any unused outlets.
  • Install barriers around fireplaces and furnaces.
  • Always supervise young children in the kitchen and around electrical appliances and outlets.

Choking, Suffocation, and Strangulation

  • Keep small objects out of reach of young children.
  • Do not let children under age 3 eat small, round, or hard foods including hot dogs, hard candy, nuts, or whole grapes.
  • Buy only age appropriate toys for your toddler.
  • Do not allow infants or toddlers to sleep on sofas, chairs, regular beds or other soft surfaces.
  • Never allow young children to play in poorly ventilated spaces such as laundry machines, car trunks, or toy chests.
  • Install only cordless window coverings.

Pets

Household Pets

  • Dogs typically don't like hugs and kisses, particularly when it's not on their own terms. Teach kids to respect your animal's space.
  • Don't stare at a dog in close proximity to its face as this can be interpreted as an act of aggression.
  • Dogs that are tied up, cooped in or curled up (sleeping or relaxing) may be more agitated if approached – they either want to get out or be left alone.
  • Know that dogs don't only attack when they're angry (growling, barking, hair standing up); they can attack because they're scared; a dog with its mouth closed, eyes wide and ears forward may indicate that it's scared or worried.
  • Recognize these behaviors in your family dog to know it's time to stop playing and give your pet some space.
    • Avoidance – hiding behind something or someone or turning its head away
    • Submission – rolling on its back, licking, or leaving the room; even though the dog is giving up now, it may not some day
    • Body language – tail between legs or low with only the end wagging, ears in a non-neutral position, rapid panting, licking its chops, or shaking out its fur
    • Acting out – tearing up or destroying personal possessions such as toys or other items your family uses frequently, or urinating or defecating in the house; these may be signs that your dog should be seen by a behavioral professional – don't delay!

Pets Outside of the Family*

  • Always ask an adult's permission before approaching or petting a dog. Start by letting the dog sniff you, then gently pet under its chin or on top of its head, but never its tail, back or legs.
  • Never run or scream if a dog comes up to you.
  • Never try to ride a bike away from a dog; they can run faster than you can bike.
  • Always be calm around dogs and don't look them in the eye; they may see this as an act of aggression.
  • Stand still like a tree or rock and let the dog sniff you. If a dog starts biting, put whatever you have (backpack, stick, toy, etc.) in its mouth.
  • Avoid dogs that are eating, playing with toys, tied up in a yard, or behind a fence; also avoid dogs who look ill or angry
  • Never tease a dog by throwing things at it, barking at it, etc.

*Content from Children's Hospital of Michigan


Treating Animal Bites

Has your child suffered an animal bite?  View tips on treating bites here.

What You Should Know

Car Seat SafetyHow to use helmets to keep your kids safe

Each year more than 175,000 children are treated in emergency departments for skating, non-motorized scooter, and skateboarding injuries. Thankfully, proper use of the appropriate helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent.

It is estimated that as many as 75 percent of bicycle-related fatalities among children could be prevented with a bicycle helmet. Prevention is not difficult. It does require your attention and some effort.

Helmet Tips

  • Make it a rule – wear a helmet every time you ride bike, skateboard, ride a scooter, or in-line skate.
  • Always wear the appropriate helmet for the activity. A multi-sport helmet is a good option for children who bike, skateboard, in-line skate, and ride non-motorized scooters.
  • Helmets should be worn every time and everywhere when participating in wheeled sports.
  • To provide proper protection, a helmet should sit level on the head, not tilted back at an angle. Make sure the helmet fits snugly, and the chinstrap is buckled.

Rules of the Road

  • Ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against.
  • Use appropriate hand signals.
  • Obey traffic signals, stop at all stop signs and stop lights.
  • Stop, look left, right, left again before entering a street or crossing an intersection.

Other Safety Tips

  • Children should not ride when it's dark outside.
  • Wear clothes and accessories that have reflective materials to make sure you are seen.
  • Ensure proper bike fit. When seated on the bike, the child's feet should be able to touch the ground.
  • Make sure equipment is properly maintained and in working condition.
  • Always model and teach safe behavior.