Preventing Unintentional Injuries Overview

How to prevent unintentional injuries

Many accidental injuries and emergencies can be prevented by taking another look at your family's environment, lifestyles, and risks. Finding problems early and responding quickly is vital. This can help keep situations manageable, and stop them from becoming an emergency.

It's important to be alert and to follow a program designed to help you and your family stay safe.

Follow safety rules and guidelines

Tips to keep you and your family safe: 

  • Supervise all children's activities, especially those around water, such as bathing or swimming.

  • Install safety devices in your home, such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, safety locks on cabinets and toilet lids, handrails, and fire extinguishers.

  • Maintain heating equipment. Unplug extra heaters when sleeping.

  • Keep electrical appliances unplugged when not in use. This includes hairdryers, toasters, and curling irons. Check cords to be sure they aren't frayed.

  • According to the American Pediatric Society, guns shouldn't be kept in the home of a child. If you must have a gun in the house, keep it unloaded, uncocked, and locked up. Ammunition needs to be locked in a separate location. Only the parents should know the gun's location. If your child stays or plays at other homes, ask if they have guns and how they are stored. This includes the homes of relatives, neighbors, and friends.

  • Make a fire escape route and plan, and practice using it. Be sure each family member knows what to do in case of emergency.

  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120°F (49°C) or below to prevent scald burns.

  • Wear appropriate safety equipment at home, work, or play.

  • Always insist that all car passengers are wearing seat belts. Be sure that children are restrained in car seats correctly.

  • Make sure children age 12 and younger are always seated in the rear seat. Be sure they are using appropriate restraints.

  • Read and understand the labels on medicines, vitamins, and food products.

  • Keep all alcohol in a locked cabinet. Alcohol can be toxic to children. Empty any unfinished drinks right away.

  • Store medicines and potential poisons in a safe place, away from children.

  • Keep a well-stocked, first aid kit at home, work, and in the car.

  • Keep a list of emergency numbers in your home, business, and place of play. This list should include the police, fire department, poison control center, local emergency service (if different than 911), local hospital, and your healthcare providers.

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2020
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