Safety and Protection
The biggest threats to safety are very close to home – motor vehicle accidents, falls, accidental poisoning or drowning, cyber issues, and natural disasters.
Being prepared and setting ground rules are the best things you can do to protect your family. Establishing a system of "family rules" about personal safety is a good way to teach children the difference between safe and unsafe situations.
If you are in danger, call 911.
Keep your home clear of tripping hazards, such as electrical cords, throw rugs, and toys on the floor. Keep stairs free of clutter and place handrails on both sides of all stairs. Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and shower. Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower.
The main substances that cause accidental death are medicines, poisonous houseplants, cleaning products, and pesticides. Keep your medications locked away from inquisitive young fingers and always tighten child-resistant caps properly. Move your cleaning products to cabinets with safety latches. Keep your local poison control center phone number close to the phone.
Food poisoning, also called foodborne illness, is illness caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms — including bacteria, viruses and parasites — or their toxins are the most common causes of food poisoning. Food poisoning symptoms, which can start within hours of eating contaminated food, often include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Water-related activities are popular for getting physical activity and have many health benefits.
- Always supervise children when in or around water. A responsible adult should constantly watch young children.
- Teach kids to swim. Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning.
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Your CPR skills could save someone’s life.
- Install a four-sided fence around home pools.
Be sure you use safety when bathing your child.
- Never, ever leave your baby or toddler unsupervised, even for a minute.
- Make sure the bathroom is comfortably warm, around 75 degrees F.
- Make the bathwater comfortably warm. Test it with your wrist or the inside of your elbow to make sure it's not too hot. Babies and toddlers generally prefer a much cooler tub than you probably do.
- Fill the tub with only 2 to 4 inches of water for babies and no more than waist-high (when sitting) for toddlers and older children.
The most important thing you can do is be prepared.
Fire: Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers can help prevent injury and death if a fire breaks out in your home. Test smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries twice a year. Make sure that everyone knows where to meet outside the house and teach children their last name, address, and how to call 911 in case of an emergency. To help prevent fires at home, make sure all electrical appliances, electrical cords, and outlets are in good condition; keep children, pets, and combustible materials away from space heaters; if you smoke, don't smoke in bed or on upholstered furniture.
Disaster Master Quiz - interactive
Tornadoes: Prepare a plan and an emergency kit, stay aware of weather conditions during thunderstorms, know the best places to shelter both indoors and outdoors, and always protect your head.
Most American children have access to the Internet. Internet technology allows children access to vast amounts of valuable information and endless sources of entertainment. However, it also exposes children to certain dangers. Kids can use electronic media to embarrass, harass, or threaten their peers. Teach kids about suspicious activity online and encourage them to ask for help if something seems unusual. Install security software that helps keep kids from clicking on the wrong links and visiting the wrong sites.
Sunburns: May lead to skin cancer later in life.
- Cover up. Clothing that covers your and your child’s skin helps protect against UV rays.
- Use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 and UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) protection every time you and your child go outside.
Cosmetics: The FDA works to ensure that cosmetic companies follow regulations to keep cosmetics and personal care products as safe as possible. But although the FDA recommends that cosmetic manufacturers test their products, they aren’t required to do so. You can tell what's been tested by looking for a product label that says: “WARNING - The safety of this product has not been determined.” If a product hasn't been tested for safety, it must display that labeling.
Motor Vehicle Safety
Accidents happen. You can help minimize the risk with some simple actions. If you need help installing a car seat, go to your local police or fire station.
- Wear a seatbelt.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol or when sleepy.
- Never text and drive.
- Put fresh batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months.
Enforce strict rules with your kids—no helmet, no playing the sport or biking. Set a good example by wearing your own helmet when biking.
- Wear a helmet when cycling, skateboarding or similar activities.
- Sports Safety
Family violence: When someone uses abusive behavior to control and/or harm a member of their family, or someone with whom they have an intimate relationship. Family violence includes many different forms of physical and emotional abuse, as well as neglect carried out by family members or intimate partners. It may include a single act of violence, or a number of acts that form a pattern of abuse.
Dating violence: As teens develop emotionally, they are heavily influenced by their relationship experiences, including teen dating. Protect your children from teen dating violence.