Frequently Asked Questions on Child Safety

Frequently Asked Questions on Child Safety

Frequently Asked Questions on Child Safety

When raising children there are so many important things to consider. All aspects of safety are of the highest-ranking importance in life, especially for your children. One of the most normal reactions for a parent is to ask questions. There must be a plethora of inquiries rolling around in your mind on how you can better care for your precious little one.

These questions to follow cover a wide range of concerns that will hopefully bring you peace of mind when it comes to a child safety.

BABY & CHILD SAFETY – FAQ ABOUT KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE

 Are Children more prone to heat stroke?

Heat stroke is typically a result of dehydration, elongated sports practicing or physical exertion, or unfit clothing for the weather conditions. Due to the size of a child’s body and elevated sensitivity levels, they are inclined to experience a more severe reaction to extreme temperatures. This vulnerability can lead children to symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and that can quickly become fatal. Children that have died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States (1998-2020) have ranged from 5 days to 14 years pf age. More than half of the deaths (54%) were children under 2 years of age.

Keep alert in elevated temperatures and keep an eye out for any signs of heat stroke in your child or baby. These include dizziness, rapid heartbeat, excessive thirst, confusion, weakness, cramps in the muscles, quick breathing, severe headache, flushed skin tone, and no sweating. These would require immediate transportation to an ER dept.

Remember, if you are having a rough time in the heat, the effects are most likely to be doubled in that of your child.

What should I do if I spot a child in a car alone?

Under no circumstances should a child be ignored if seen in a car by themselves. Before you consider contacting authorities, however, consider the age of the child or children left unattended in the car. If they appear old enough to speak with you, ask them how long they’ve been left inside the vehicle and if they know their parent’s whereabouts. Trying to find the parent or guardian before contacting the police can be less traumatic for all involved. couple options of positive action would be to search the surrounding area for the parents or call the local authorities. If a baby or small child is unable to communicate making an announcement in the shops nearby may be effective too.

While reports of parents being prosecuted and losing custody of children that have been left in vehicles may discourage people from getting involved, the safety of children must always be the top concern. No one wants to cause unnecessarily pain and disruption to a family unit but children who are left alone in a car are at risk for several dangers, including heatstroke. If you observe a child alone in a car and are unable to easily locate the parent or guardian, you should contact the police.

When can I face my child’s car seat forward?

This is a crucial turning point for both you and your child, so naturally, you will both be itching to move forward through this milestone. However, throwing caution to the wind and making a change too early could reduce to the safety and survival of your little one in a car accident. It’s simply not worth the risk.

 So how do you know? In the U.S. it’s perceived that once your child reaches preschool age they can typically sit in a forward-facing car seat. These seats fit kids from 40 to 60 pounds however when installing these seats, it’s especially important to fasten the top tether of your car seat to the vehicle’s seat. This can reduce head and neck injuries in case of a crash.

All states and territories of the United States have child occupant protection laws in place. Because they are minimum requirements, though, most state laws do not fully represent “best practices” for safely transporting children. Laws vary from state to state, but the laws of physics remain constant. Crashes do not become less violent when we drive across state lines.

Should I replace my child’s car seat if we had an accident?

Depending on the severity of the crash you experienced replacing your child or baby’s car seat is based on NHTSA’s five criteria and what your specific car seat manufacturer says about that specific child restraint.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) policy on replacing child restraints after minor vehicle crashes to the following:

  • NHTSA recommends replacing child safety seats and boosters following a moderate or severe crash to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.
  • NHTSA recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.

If you are insured, you will find most companies will replace your car seat in a crash without reviewing it in case there is unseen damage that has occurred. You can purchase a new car seat right away and receive reimbursement by providing a receipt. They also don’t require you to buy the same seat. 

How and when should I baby proof my home?

Many expectant parents get started on babyproofing their home at least three months before the due date. Why so early? This is because some of the recommended baby proofing preparations may take time such as anchoring furniture or needing to replace items that may not be child friendly.  It also allows you ample time to familiarize yourselves with the nuances of your home to be sure all areas are prepared for the arrival of a newborn.

Preparing your home for your child’s safety is best taken from their point of view. Get down low and go from room to room to see what items may be in their grasp and move them to a safer location. Items such as cords, outlets, breakable items, small items that can be swallowed, or sharp edges on coffee tables. If you have a pet it is preferred to keep baby and a potentially jealous pet separated until they are safely introduced and become familiarized. Installing a hard mounted baby gate or child safety barrier can help to keep your pets at bay.

All these items should be taken care of by the time your little one comes into this beautiful world and is on its way home.

What should I look for in a childcare to ensure my child’s safety?

When you’re choosing a child care provider, you want to look for evidence that your child’s health and safety will be their priority. Looking for a licensed program is one step you can take to help choose a safe place for your child.

Ask questions on if their center is licensed and certified under the state’s law. What is their typical daily operation and what is their incident track record like? What manner do the workers interact with the children, how many children are there, are they separated by age, are child care providers screened for past criminal activity? What training do the child care workers have before they begin caring for a child? Also ask if they have an open policy with a parent cam for frequent observance.

One of the best indicators of high-quality child care is positive and engaging interactions with an adult. Caregivers who make eye contact; are responsive and supportive of a child’s emotions; and engage in activities that teach the child new words and concepts create a high-quality early learning environment. Low teacher-child ratios and group size limits help ensure that educators have the bandwidth to give children the kind of careful attention that they require. The National Association for the Education of Young Children—a national organization whose accreditation is regarded as the gold standard in child care—requires a teacher-child ratio of 1-to-3 or 1-to-4 for infants and toddlers and a maximum group size of six to eight children.

The more open and willing the care provider is to share their methods and daily routine of things, the more trustworthy they are to be a part of raising your child. Taking the time to get to know the provider before enlisting your child will be a big help in having more reassurance of trust in their ability to take good care of your child.

How can I protect my child from online strangers?

Communication is one of the most important attributes to build with your child. If they know can come to you safely with questions and concerns of online activity you are more likely to include you into their digital space. Know which apps they are using and use parental controls where possible. Providing your child with a GPS watch or bracelet can track any unexpected meetups or receive alerts if troubles arise. Be alert to potential signs of concern including changes in children’s use of electronic devices, attempts to conceal online activity, withdrawn behavior, angry outbursts, anxiety, and depression. Keeping your child’s electronic device in plain sight when they are active on it discourages secrets and implies that your entire home is a safe space too. It is important not to eliminate teenagers from these safety precautions.

Children need to understand the online risks of strangers contacting them and engaging in conversations. People aren’t always who they seem in online environments and identity is easy to fake. Some advice you can provide them to create a safe space is to only chat with people they know, ensure their online accounts are private, block people they don’t know or trust, and trust their instinct—if something makes them feel uncomfortable, tell a trusted adult about it.

Contacting the local authorities is the ultimate measure if you do encounter suspicious activity or unhealthy conversations between your child and an online stranger.

At what age can children be left alone at home?

Most states don’t have specific regulations or laws on when a child is considered old enough to stay home alone. Some states have guidelines or recommendations, but these often come from child protection services and administered at county or other local levels.

Developmentally, children are generally ready to be left at home unsupervised around the ages of 12 or 13 years old. However, children can develop at such different rates so use so need to use your own discretion, within legal limitations, to determine your child’s maturity and capabilities. 

If they can confidently contact the local authorities, follow through with precautionary safety measures you put in place, and properly care for his/her self then they may be ready and capable of being alone for a short period of time. Some precautions that may be of assistance are smart video cameras, door locks, smoke and CO alarms, doorbells, Home Security Systems, and wearable GPS bracelets to ensure your child’s security. In this case, going the extra mile will only be beneficial.

For information about your specific local regulations and laws, contact your child protective services agency. If you need help locating your state child protection services agency, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s Website. 

Why should children be vaccinated?

Falling ill as a child is inevitable with environments such as child care and schools being known breeding grounds for viruses and ailments. Vaccinations or immunizations can help to prepare the child’s immune system to fight off unwanted disease and harmful bacteria that their little bodies may not yet be capable of eradicating themselves. It is also a helpful way of preventing them passing on any illness onto others.

Healthcare is expensive and by offering your child an extra level of protection, it may also save you money in the long run from costly hospital visits. This is one of many ways you can keep your child safe from bodily harm that could drastically affect them for many years down the road.

A helpful tip on is to also create a child safety kit that can list which vaccines or immunizations your child has had.  A child safety kit is designed to assist authorities if your child goes missing but can also help if your child becomes unwell where you are not present, such as childcare or school, and can be created at home, or online. The safety kit saves important details such as your child’s name, blood type, eye color, height and weight, fingerprints, emergency contacts, Doctor’s details and even DNA.

Is it safe for children to sleep after receiving a concussion?

If the child seems well after a bump to the head it is OK to let them go to sleep. But if they seem unusually sleepy, or they seem dazed when they wake, they should be seen by a doctor straight away. Symptoms of a concussion usually happen right away, but can show up hours or days after an injury. It is advised you should always seek the advice of your family’s Doctor when head injuries are involved as there are specific symptoms you need to be aware of and these should not be taken lightly as the signs of a severe concussion could be very subtle. In some cases, resting after a head injury could assist in the healing process, but if a concussion is suspected it is advisable to wake them every two to three hours for reassurance.

Are kids more susceptible to infections once their tonsils are removed?

It is not true that children are more vulnerable to illness if their tonsils are removed. Kids become sick for many reasons no matter if they have tonsils or not. Tonsils are a part of the immune system in keeping away infections, however, there is no scientific evidence that the lack of tonsils creates more vulnerability to infection. There have been cases of infection from the incisions from the surgery itself, but not necessarily from the lack of tonsils specifically.

How do I keep my child safe around lakes and pools?

Young children can drown in as little as one inch of water so it's important to always keep a small child within arm's reach of an adult at all times.

Communicating with your children about the importance of safety in and around water is vital. Establish a buddy system with either their siblings or friends and identify safety measures including not running around a pool area, to stay in a lifeguarded area at lakes and beaches, use goggles to see potential hazards under water, and to use other floatation devices to ensure their security as they swim. Exposing your child to water with the proper safety habits will build their confidence in the water and help them mature in responsibility as well.

Supervision at all times is key at ensuring a fun day by the water is had by all.

What should I do if my child goes under water?

If you’re planning a day in the sun with your family it is a must to always be prepared and ready in the event of an unexpected water emergency, whether you're alerting a lifeguard or going to the hospital.

If your child unexpectedly goes under water it is easy to panic, however you need to try and keep a clear head and stay calm.  Acting quickly to reach for your child or to jump in after them would be the best plan of action. In the case that you see your child go underwater at a significant distance from you, alert the nearest lifeguard immediately.

Below are the 3 tips to follow to prepare for possible drowning scenarios. It is also highly recommended you take a water safety course and/or become CPR certified for your child’s additional safety.

  • Alert a lifeguard

If there's a lifeguard on duty, alert them immediately. Lifeguards have the training to rescue children from the water quickly and effectively. A lifeguard can also administer CPR if necessary. 

  • Act quickly

If there aren’t any certified lifeguards on duty, spring into action. Call to a parent or another child who’s closest to where your child went under, or get in there yourself. Once you pull your child out, see if they’re conscious and breathing. If they’re coughing, give them a few good pats on the back to help them clear water from their lungs. If they aren’t breathing, call 911.

  • Go to the hospital

Delayed drowning issues, like secondary and dry drowning, can affect babies and children after rescue—even if the kids seem completely normal. Call your doctor after any incident to ensure your kids are safe, and take them to the hospital if anything seems amiss.

Being a parent is a full-time job and a constant learning experience. Seeking guidance from fellow parents, support groups, or asking family for advice can help you on your journey in the health, safety, and positive upbringing of your precious child. The peace of mind you will have as you seek safe options for your child throughout their life has no price or comparison to the result of your child being safe throughout their daily life.