Child Safety: Accidents Involving Firearms
Every year, there are always children who require medical treatment, days home from school, and/or rest due to accidents. Some children suffer some form of permanent damage due to accidents, such as permanent brain damage from a head injury, long-term breathing problems from smoke inhalation, disfigurement from burns, or liver or kidney damage from poisoning.
Main causes include:
- Motor vehicle accidents (with the injured child as a passenger, pedestrian, or bicycle rider)
- Choking, suffocation
Motor vehicle accidents injure children either when they are riding in a vehicle as a passenger or are hit by a vehicle when they are a pedestrian or a bicycle rider. Children who are not properly secured in car seats or booster seats are at particularly high risk.
Follow these tips to help keep your kids safe:
- Use a properly secured car seat that is appropriate for your child's age, height, and weight. Carefully read the manufacturer's information to make sure that the seat is right for your child.
- Also make sure you know how to adjust and secure the seat. You can go to your local police or fire station or attend a car seat clinic to make sure you are using the seat properly.
Become familiar with the guidelines for safely traveling with your child. In general:
- A baby should be in a rear-facing seat until he reaches the age of two or until he meets the highest height and weight limits for the rear-facing seat.
- A toddler should be in a front-facing seat that has a harness. Once he exceeds the height/weight limits for the seat, a booster seat should be used.
- Continue to place your child in the booster seat until he is large enough to fit correctly into an adult seat belt. This is usually when a child is about 4 feet 9 inches (1.45 meters) tall and is 8-12 years old.
All children younger than 13 years should ride in the rear seat of the vehicle.
- The backseat is the safest place for all children to ride. Never use a rear-facing car seat in a front passenger seat with an airbag.
- Children under 13 should never sit in a passenger seat equipped with an air bag. If it cannot be avoided and your child has to ride in the front seat, turn off the airbag if possible.
- Always use your own seat belt in order to keep yourself safe and provide a good model for children.
- Teach your children how to carefully cross a street.
- Your child should always wear a bike helmet when bicycling, riding a scooter or skateboard, or rollerskating/blading.
Last reviewedMay 2012by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.