Media Release: National Safe Kids Week is April 26 through May 2

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Safe Kids Greater Dayton offers age-appropriate tips to help keep children safe

04-27-2009 (Dayton, OH) - A study of child development and unintentional injury released today by Safe Kids USA is the first to link age-appropriate safety tips to an extensive analysis of research on children's cognitive, behavioral and physical development. The result, revealed locally by Safe Kids Greater Dayton creates a blueprint of necessary safety recommendations for parents and caregivers to follow as children age.

"We've always taught parents how to keep their kids safe, but this report highlights precisely when and why those precautions are essential," says Jessica Saunders, injury prevention coordinator at Dayton Children's and coordinator of Safe Kids Greater Dayton. "Understanding children's cognitive, behavioral and physical abilities and limitations at various stages is the first step in being able to foresee and prevent serious injuries."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than six million unintentional injuries to children ages 0 to 14 in 2007 that required care in an emergency room. This translates into 12 injuries per minute - nearly all of which are preventable. Although the childhood injury death rate in the U.S. has dropped by 45 percent in the 22 years Safe Kids has been in operation, unintentional injury remains the leading cause of death and disability in children ages 1 to 14 in the U.S.

The release of this report, Raising Safe Kids: One Stage at a Time, coincides with the kick-off to National Safe Kids Week and is based on an extensive literature review of research focusing on child development as it relates to unintentional injury. The report is divided into four stages of development: Infancy (0 to 12 months), Early Childhood (1 to 4 years), Middle Childhood (5 to 9 years) and Early Adolescence (10 to 14 years).

Each stage includes a description of a child's developmental at that age, and easy-to-follow safety tips for the five leading injury risks to children: falls, bicycle-related injuries, motor vehicle occupancy injuries, fire and burns and poisonings.

Safe Kids Greater Dayton, Dayton Children's and the Montgomery County Child Fatality Review Board have taken this data and compared it to local child injury and death data to prioritize the top accidental childhood injuries in the Miami Valley.

Some highlights of the findings:

Did you know that infants...
Have spines that are not fully developed, leaving them vulnerable to injury if they are not correctly positioned in a vehicle. They have a slower digestion rate and a lower tolerance for medication. Their skin is thinner and more sensitive, meaning it can burn more quickly than that of an adult.

Top injury risks for infants in the Miami Valley:
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Use a rear-facing car seat until at least age 1 and 20 lbs.
  • Drowning: Supervise children at all time when they are near water.
  • Unsafe Sleep Practices: Practice the ABCs of Safe Sleep.
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome: Have a plan.

Did you know that children 1 to 4 years old...
Have muscles and bones not yet fully developed. They are also still learning how to balance themselves and adjust their stance to avoid falls. They may wander off unsupervised to explore cupboards and drawers that may contain chemicals and poisons in them. To keep your 1-to 4-year old safer:

Top injury risks for young children in the Miami Valley:
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Use a forward-facing car seat until the harness no longer fits.
  • Drowning: Supervise children at all time when they are near water.
  • Burns: Make the kitchen a child-free zone when someone is cooking.
  • Falls: Install stair and door gates.

Did you know that children 5 to 9 years old...
Have trouble recognizing and avoiding obstacles and lack an adult's hand-eye coordination abilities. They are also at higher risk for cooking-related scald injuries, especially from tableware and microwave ovens. If a child is too small for a seat belt, he/she is at risk for serious injuries to the head, face and internal organs.

Top injury risks for older children in the Miami Valley:
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Keep children in a booster seat with the vehicle lap and shoulder safety belts until the child passes the Safety Belt Fit Test.
  • Burns: Supervise children when they're near or using a microwave or other cooking devices.
  • Pedestrian Accidents: Explain the rules of the road including crossing the street at crosswalks and looking both ways before crossing.
  • Recreational and Wheeled Vehicle Accidents: Make sure children wear a helmet and protective gear on every ride.

Did you know that early adolescents...
Have less defined visual perception than older teens and lack the ability to recognize a specific object from within a busy background. This is an important skill to identify oncoming cars in busy intersections. They are more likely to be completely unrestrained in a car than younger children and participate in risky behavior. They also may want to experiment with substances without adult supervision.

Top injury risks for early adolescents in the Miami Valley:
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Teach your child that all children younger than age 13 should ride in a back seat and use a seat belt on every ride.
  • Falls and recreational safety: Always prepare for playing a sport or doing physical activities.
  • Wheeled Vehicle Accidents: Make sure children wear a helmet and protective gear every time.
  • Poisons: Lock up medications and potential inhalants such as glue and spray paint. Properly dispose of old medications.

Did you know that teens...
Seek increased power and control over their own lives and sometimes think that they are invincible. Teens are also far less likely to use seat belts than any other age group. Teens are at an increased risk for motor vehicle-related crashes that result in injury or death, including the following due to a lack of driving experience and tendency to have risky behavior.

Top injury risks for teens in the Miami Valley:
  • Motor Vehicle Crashes: Teach teens to be responsible drivers and courteous passengers.
  • Gun Injuries: Practice gun safety and if you have a gun store it safely by unloading and locking it up.
  • Sports Injuries: Always prepare for playing a sport by wearing appropriate protective gear for the activity and participate in warm-ups and cool-downs.

"Your child's physical, behavioral and cognitive abilities should affect the precautions you take to help them avoid serious injury," Saunders says. "Serious injuries have effects lasting well into adulthood, such as spinal cord injuries and brain damage, which also lead to costly emergency department bills, missed school days, and limited future employment opportunities. But the good news is, these injuries can be prevented if parents and caregivers take the right steps."

For more information about Safe Kids Week, call 937-641-3385 or visit

About Safe Kids Greater Dayton:
Safe Kids Greater Dayton works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Safe Kids Greater Dayton is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Greater Dayton was founded in 1994 and is led by The Children's Medical Center of Dayton.

For more information, contact:
Marketing Communications Department
Phone: 937-641-3666


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