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Keep Kids Safe! Child Safety Tips

Kids have an uncanny knack for finding ways to hurt themselves. Unintentional injuries kill more than 6,600 children, 14 years old and under, every year. And nearly 120,000 more children suffer permanent disabilities each year from accidental injury.

That means one out of every four children, or more than 14 million annually, sustain injuries that are serious enough to require medical attention. Sadly, it is estimated that nearly 90 percent of all unintentional injures could be prevented.

Here is a ranking of injuries that plague our children:

  1. Motor vehicle accidents with children as occupants, as pedestrians or on bicycles
  2. Drowning
  3. Fire and burns
  4. Suffocation
  5. Choking
  6. Unintentional firearm injuries
  7. Poisoning
  8. Falls

Motor vehicle accidents: public enemy number 1

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of accidental deaths among children ages 14 and under: 1,400 kids each year are killed and 280,000 are injured. Child safety seats and seat belts, when used correctly, are the best line of defense we have against these chilling statistics.

Yet, surveys show that 40 percent of kids 4 years old and under ride unrestrained, doubling their chances of death and injury in an accident, and that nearly 80 percent of children placed in child safety seats are improperly restrained.

What can you do? Here are several prevention tips offered by the National SAFE KIDS campaign:

Always restrain
Always use child safety seats and/or safety belts correctly every time you ride. Restrain children under 12 in the back seat.

Rear-facing seats for infants
Infants, until at least 1 year old and 20 pounds, should be in rear-facing seats. Never put a rear-facing infant or convertible safety seat in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with a a passenger air bad.

Safety seats, boosters for older children
Children over 1 year old and between 20 and 40 pounds should be in forward-facing child safety seats. Children ages 4 to 8 (40 to 80 pounds) should be restrained in a car booster seat every time they ride.

Read the manual
Read your child safety seat instruction manual and your motor vehicle owner's manual for direction on proper installation.

Check out recalls, attend safety clinics
Call the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Auto Safety Hotline (888) 327-4236 to inquire about any recalls or safety notices on your child safety seat. Also keep an eye out for car seat safety clinics that are often sponsored by local law enforcement or other community service organizations.