It is a tragedy when a child is killed or injured in an accident that could have been prevented. Most of the time, it only takes one attentive adult to stop these tragic incidents from happening. The personal injury lawyers at Thomas Law Offices look at what injuries unattended children most commonly suffer and—more importantly—how to avoid an incident that could result in death or injury to a child.
If your child was injured in a preventable accident that should have been averted by an adult caregiver, your family may be entitled to financial recovery. An experienced attorney from Thomas Law Offices can examine your case and advise you of your rights and legal options.
Child Accident Statistics and Common Injuries
Thousands of children lose their lives every year when not properly attended. Unintentional injury is a leading cause of death in children under 19. Approximately 12,000 youth 18 and under die from unintentional injuries each year. Many of these injuries are suffered in the places children spend the most time: at home, school, daycare, preschool, or in the neighborhoods nearest to home.
Teenagers and older children are more likely to be injured or killed in accidents that involve more deliberate behaviors—like unsafe play, violence, risky recreational activities, drunk driving, texting and driving, or substance abuse.
The majority of accidents that injure and kill younger children are unintentional. Children under 15 are particularly susceptible to accidents that easily happen when a responsible adult is not present. Every year in the U.S., about 2,000 children ages 14 and under die from injuries suffered at home. These deaths could have been prevented with proper supervision.
The most common types of fatal accidents among unattended children involve:
- Suffocation (the leading cause of accidental death in children under 1-year-old)
- Falls (every day, about 8,000 children visit an ER for fall injuries)
- Heat, chemical, or electrical burns
- Pedestrian accidents
How To Prevent Injury in Children
It only takes a second for a child to be killed or left permanently disabled by a preventable accident. It is not enough for an adult to simply be nearby. An adult must be attentive, engaged, and mentally present to notice a hazard and prevent the incident before it occurs.
When the attorneys at Thomas Law Offices investigate child injury accidents, we too often find that a babysitter, daycare employee, or preschool teacher was on the phone, watching a video, temporarily out of the room, or in some way distracted at the time the child was injured.
We’ve compiled a few safety tips to help caregivers provide children with the best care under their watch. Remember, attentiveness and involvement are key. Turning your back for even a moment can result in an accident that can never be reversed.
Indoor Safety Tips
One of the top signs of a negligent daycare is an overworked staff. When employees are forced to work long hours and care for more children than a reasonable staff-to-child ratio should allow, accidents happen. The same applies to any caregiving facility or home that supervises any number of children.
For children playing in nurseries, preschools, kindergartens, daycares, or in the home, the following safety recommendations should be applied:
- Keep all bottles out of reach of children, clearly labeled, and secured with child-proof caps. This includes beverages, cleaning supplies, medications, cosmetics, and any other substance that would be hazardous to a child if ingested.
- Keep all sharp or breakable objects well out of reach of children.
- Cover any sharp edges and corners with padding or bumper.
- Check rooms for any choking hazards (even toys) and keep them away from small children.
- Place a barrier at the tops of staircases and in front of any hazardous areas, like kitchens.
- Make sure tall furniture and shelves are safely secured so a child can’t pull them down.
- Secure doors, cabinets, and drawers that can open to areas that contain hazards.
Outdoor Safety Tips
There are infinite dangers a child can encounter outside of the house. Insects and animals, standing water, trees that may look climbable, and neighborhood streets all present significant dangers to children left without adult supervision. Keep the following tips in mind when allowing a child to spend time outside:
- Designate safe play areas and ensure that children stay inside them.
- Never let young children play near the street without supervision. Teach kids proper rules for safely crossing the street.
- Supervise children on bicycles and encourage the use of helmets and pads. About 100 children are killed, and 254,000 are injured in bike accidents every year.
- Educate children about wild animal dangers and where they can be found.
- Make sure children use appropriate bug spray and sunscreen when needed.
Water Safety Tips
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death for children one to four years of age. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water. Swimming pools and open bodies of water like lakes, ponds, streams, and oceans are highly hazardous to young children left unattended. The following safety tips can help protect children from drowning accidents:
- Never leave a child unattended near a body of water.
- If you have a pool at home, make sure it is fenced and in compliance with all local ordinances.
- Teach children how to swim at a young age. However, remember that this does not prevent drownings.
- Do not leave young children alone near sinks, tubs, puddles, toilets, or pans of water. A young child can drown in a matter of seconds in only an inch or more of water.
Playground Safety Tips
Before allowing your child to use playground equipment, make sure the area does not contain perils. Even if the area seems safe, keep children on a playground in your sightline at all times. Falls can happen easily and very quickly. Before and during playground play, remember to:
- Check for dangers like exposed bolts, swings too close to other structures, hot metal, or rusty or broken equipment.
- Make sure there are safe landing areas under swings and climbing equipment.
- Pulls children’s hair back and remove any clothing with string or ties. These can become strangulation hazards if a child falls.
- Make sure the area is clear of litter or debris.
- Only allow children to use equipment appropriate for their age and ability.
Thomas Law Offices Advocates for Victims of Preventable Injuries
We offer experienced legal guidance for families wondering how to put their lives back together after a tragic accident. Our attorneys will carefully investigate your case to determine exactly what occurred and how we may be able to help. Contact Thomas Law Offices by calling our closest office or filling out our online contact form. A personal injury lawyer will be in touch soon to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.