Dangers are present for the child around every corner. Many of them are the common hazards most parents protect against; fire hazards, poisonous substances, electrocution, choking hazards. However, there are many others hazards that are equally as dangerous. Parents can’t protect children from all potential hazards, but they have the ability to be resolute in their identification of dangers. Here are some hidden danger areas, places and things that a care giver may not necessarily see as posing an inherent danger. These are not simply limited to the home, but may be found at places children commonly visit or activities in which they may take part.
Shopping Carts. How many ways can a child be injured by a shopping cart? Stop counting or you may be here a while. Every year, tens of thousands (yes, that many) children are treated in emergency rooms for severe lacerations, bone fractures and head or other internal injuries caused by shopping cart accidents. The curiosity and activity of small children cause them to fall from carts, tip them over, get caught in the moving parts and be struck by moving carts. Unless children are properly secured in the cart and continually supervised, accidents will undoubtedly happen.
Automobile Trunks. Children love to play hide and seek. In their minds, what better place to hide than in the trunk of a car? Yet, the trunk is often overlooked as a clear danger in favor of the interior of the vehicle. That may be understandable, after all, the cabin is where the things that set the vehicle in motion are located; however, the trunk can become an oven as quickly as the cabin area. Over exposure to heat is the primary problem when a child becomes trapped inside the trunk. The higher profile cases of parents leaving their helpless children inside scorching-hot vehicles overshadows the area to the rear of the care that is potentially just as deadly. Awareness of your childs surroundings is a key factor in child safety.
Lawn Mowers and Farm Machinery. Many of today’s parents may have photographs of themselves in dad’s lap on the tractor or lawn mower. It made a great picture, but it could also have been a terrible disaster. Due to the terrain on which they operate, mowers and tractors can easily overturn or a passenger, who should not be on the machine in the first place, could fall from the machine and be overrun. Don’t forget the blades. When not in motion, mower blades are dangerous enough. When in motion, they can not only disfigure and maim, but they can launch projectiles at unbelievable speeds. In short, children should be nowhere in the vicinity of a working lawn mower; neither a push-mower nor a riding mower.
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV). Mostly purchased and used for recreational activities, these vehicles are designed for off-road use. The manufacturers of ATVs have clearly posted warnings that children, mostly under the age of 14, sometimes older, should never operate an ATV. They also warn against passengers; however, every year thousands of children are injured. According to Safe Kids, USA, in 2002, 44 children under the age of 15 died from injuries received from ATV accidents. Each one was preventable, because the children should not have been on the machines from the start.
Other dangers are present in the form of swimming pool drains and intakes, refrigerators and freezers (entrapment), the bathtub and the list goes on. Children will be made safer not by removing all dangers that children may face, that being impossible, but by cautious parental viewing of the things they encounter.
Alan Hammond is a criminal justice professional, writer and former educator. He can be reached in care of this publication or at email@example.com.
No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2006