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Keep kids safe from preventable injuries

By Marilyn C. Arayata

Unaccompanied children who were hit by vehicles and children who ingested a harmful liquid stored in a softdrink bottle. Sounds familiar? Many injuries in children are preventable. Still, preventable injuries is the top cause of death among children in the US, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries. The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 2,000 children die every day as a result of unintentional or accidental injuries. From the WHO website: “Every year tens of millions more worldwide are taken to hospitals with injuries that often leave them with lifelong disabilities, according to a new report by WHO and UNICEF.”

If parents, grandparents, and carers seem “overprotective” and if they seem to prepare “unnecessarily” for any untoward incident, it is understandable. I know one “overprotective” mother whose six children were never seriously injured or hospitalized when they were young – except for the firstborn who accidentally swallowed varnish stored in a softdrink bottle. It probably explains the developed behavior later. Who wants a repeat of the accident? What if a child fails to recover? (Note: This column does not discuss “overprotection” in a wider sense – which may lead to children feeling that they can not do anything by themselves. Today’s column is only related to preventable injuries in children.)

A doctor, Dr. Ramon Arcadio, has previously stressed that injuries in children are more common in families with poor income and those who are under stress, like in homes where parents are separated and where one parent is sick. It is understandable that income and parental availability greatly affect children’s safety. Where these conditions exist, extra precaution is needed.

It takes only a few minutes to put medicines, household chemicals, matches, lighters, ropes, weapons, knives, and other sharp objects out of sight and reach of children and ensure that nobody is left in the car/school bus before leaving it. Accompany children at all times and install good fencing to avoid drowning, falls, electrocution, and road accidents. To parents, grandparents, carers, teachers, school administrators, field trip organizers, school bus drivers and operators: What precautions do you take in order to prevent injuries in children? Better safe than sorry!

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