As a result of the social distancing guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic, our homes have become our offices, schools and playgrounds. With children spending more time at home while parents are navigating priorities, it is challenging to stay focused on everything at once which means that injuries for kids may be on the rise.
“It’s important for us all to remain vigilant and focused on safety during this time to not only prevent injuries but to also slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” said Safe Kids North Carolina Chair Mike Causey. “An unwarranted trip to the emergency room can put families at risk and cause a strain on our already overburdened health-care system.”
More than 1.5 million children in North Carolina are out of school and in their homes during this pandemic. Safe Kids N.C. is encouraging all parents and caregivers to be prepared and on the watch for unintentional injuries.
Even before the pandemic, every day in the United States, six children die from an injury in the home, and 10,000 children go to the emergency room.
In addition, as the weather warms, there are two additional concerns: swimming tragedies and hot car deaths.
Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey and the Safe Kids N.C. team recommends the following 10 tips to stay safe during the pandemic:
- Give kids your undivided attention. Actively supervise children throughout this time, whether it’s in the backyard or in and around water. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water. Make sure kids are within arm’s reach when in the bathtub.
- Be extra careful around pool drains. Teach children to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets, which can cause situations where kids can get stuck underwater.
- Never leave your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. While leaving your child in the car alone might seem like an option during these challenging times, it is not worth the risk. Cars can heat up to dangerous levels in just a short amount of time, even on mild, sunny days – and cracking a window doesn’t help. Plus, you can get distracted or delayed in the store, one of the scenarios that has led to too many unintentional tragedies.
- Keep household cleaners/disinfectants locked up, up high and out of reach. This action will avoid accidental poisonings. Keep the poison control hotline in your phone. 1-800-222-1222
- Keep all medicines out of children’s reach and sight. This includes medicines and vitamins you take daily. Children are curious and often think medications are candy.
- Prevent burns when cooking or baking with children. Turn pot handles inward, away from the edge of the stove. Also keep hot foods and liquids away from the edge of the counters. Do not carry a child when cooking.
- Wear a helmet for biking and other wheeled sports. "Use your head, wear a helmet." It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bike crashes. Kids should wear a helmet when riding a scooter, skating, skateboarding or biking.
- Be aware during family walks. Teach children to look left right and left again when crossing the street. Make sure they are also making eye contact with the driver. Put your phones and headphones down when crossing the street.
- Keep your car locked and your fobs and keys out of sight for children. Children love to play hide and seek. Teach them that the car is not a toy nor a hiding place and they are not allowed to play near or around one.
- When leaving your house in your car. Walk all the way around your parked car to check for children. Look for children in your back up camera while backing out of driveways. Slow down and avoid distractions when driving, especially in neighborhoods.
About Safe Kids North Carolina
Safe Kids North Carolina is dedicated to preventing childhood injury, the number one cause of death for children in North Carolina. For more information, contact Safe Kids N.C. Director Shannon Bullock at 919.218.3396 or Shannon.Bullock@ncdoi.gov