To put it mildly, these past few months have been trying. We’ve all been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – to a really painful extent, for some of us. Between the threats of illness and economic uncertainty, stress and tension are running high all over, and our everyday worries and fears can become amplified.
Some of these fears concern our children, and justifiably so: evidence shows that children are at an increased risk of harm or abuse right now, with a lower probability that their abuse will be reported. We shouldn’t disregard the real risk our children face, but we also can’t forget how much control we do have over our child’s safety.
These Safe Summer posts are designed to give you the tools you need to ensure your child’s safety, and to remind you about the ones you already possess. Below you’ll find some easy things you can do to protect your kids in common, everyday situations:
- Lay your baby on his or her back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Teach kids never to touch a gun and to immediately tell an adult if they see one.
- Make it a rule that kids younger than 13 ride like a VIP – in the back. This is the safest place for preteens and younger children to sit.
- Talk about riding with others. Talk to your kids about riding with experienced drivers who do not drink or do drugs. Explain what “experienced” means and discuss your family rules with your child. Teach your child to buckle up in anyone’s car, whether or not you are not there to protect them.
- Talk to your kids about medication safety. Even if their medication tastes good, don’t compare it to candy to encourage kids to take it. Educate grandparents. It is estimated that in 38 percent of ER visits involving a medicine poisoning, the medicine belonged to a grandparent. Talk to grandparents about being extra mindful with medicine or pillboxes when children are around.
- To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or manufacturers recommended setting. Check the water with your wrist or elbow before giving your baby a bath.
- Practice a family emergency escape plan, and help your children to memorize important phone numbers.
- Remember, any time you witness something that raises the suspicion of child abuse or neglect, make a call to Michigan’s Reporting Hotline.