HCA image for child injuries 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 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)
  • Drowning
  • Burns
  • Choking, suffocation
  • Firearms
  • Falls
  • Poisoning

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.
  • 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 they reaches the age of two or until they meet the highest height and weight limits for the rear-facing seat.
    • A child over two or a child who has outgrown a rear-facing seat should be in a front-facing seat that has a harness. When the child exceeds the height/weight limits for the seat, a booster seat should be used.
    • Continue to place your child in the booster seat until they are 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.