Looking at recent (2010) statistics compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, provided by the Kids Count program, it is clear that accidental deaths occurring to children ages 1 – 14 are reducing in number–and are currently lower than in the ten years preceding 2010. This is good news for kids, parents and for our Country. But what does it mean for us that the numbers are still stunning–and that in certain states the numbers are proportionately higher? How do we keep kids safe in a world burgeoning with ever-increasing safety challenges?
There is much we can do to keep our children safe and many efforts toward safety require simply focusing on the child and what a child is or is not able to do at a particular age or stage of development. We want to make sure that children who can climb are nowhere near a TV that is placed on a stand which is not hooked to a wall; we make sure adult medicines are locked up, and that if we use button batteries for a hearing aid or wristwatch that they are not left where a young child can pick up and swallow them. We make sure kids are buckled up in the car and that their restraint seats are in good condition. We make sure a baby who is beginning to roll over is in a proper crib with a safe mattress and away from a window or window blinds. There are many things we can do to keep children safe, the least of which is simply watching a child to make sure they don’t get into difficulty. Staying focused on the child in our care seems to be the minimal we can do, but in reality checking on a child in our care makes a huge difference in whether our children survive well.
This week the first death due to “vehicular heat stroke” for the year 2014 was sadly reported. An infant child in San Jose’, California, was left in a car by a father who drove to work and forgot the child was in the car and that he was to have dropped the child at the babysitter’s on the way to work. There are no words to repair the sorrow these parents and family members must be experiencing. There is no do-over for this circumstance… and the saddest thing is, that with all the distractions in our world today, this can happen to any parent, family member or caregiver of a child.
Without launching on a treatise about distracted driving at this time, there is one simple thing a parent can do when a child is riding in the car and that is to place a stuffed animal in the front seat to remind the caregiver that there’s a child (maybe a child who does not yet speak) in the car… Train yourself, as a caregiver, to check the car before you shut the doors and windows and click the key fob… and walk away to the next thing–whatever that is, however important the next thing may seem, nothing is as important as the care of your child. Child care means just that.