Keeping Kids Safe During Social Distancing

Published on: 06/30/2020

By: Malvina Duncan

As the need for social distancing continues in our communities, many parents, myself included, want to keep our children happy, healthy and safe.

To most kids, the current situation feels like freedom; they are physically out of school making it challenging to focus on schoolwork with all the distractions of being at home.

For working parents whose employers have provided working from home as a much needed (and appreciated) option - it is double - if not triple duty!

My workdays often extend well through the evening hours because, frankly, I have to get work done on all fronts, so realistically neither have my full attention 100 percent of the time.

As a nurse who specializes in the prevention of injuries, and a mother of three active boys, ages 6, 7 and 10, I am keenly aware that safety might not be top-of-mind during this time.

Equally important to consider is the grandparents, family members and friends who may be helping with watching children during this unique situation.

As a member of the Trauma Services Department at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, I encourage everyone to be mindful of keeping our kids safe and preventing injuries in our community.

Here are helpful tips for families with children of all ages:

In and around the home

  • Store medications and household cleaning products up, away and separately from food.
  • Anchor televisions and tall furniture to walls to avoid tip over injuries.
  • Place safety gates to avoid falls on staircase entrances (top and bottom) and lock second story windows and doors. Remind children not to climb on furniture.
  • Keep small items and toys, as well as cords, away from small children to prevent choking or strangulation.
  • Always place infants on their backs to sleep in a crib or pack-and-play. Infants should sleep without any cushions, pillows or blankets to prevent suffocation.
  • Designate a kid-free zone when hot stoves and ovens are on; use the back burners if possible and be careful when removing hot items and liquids from the microwave.
  • While in the yard or out for a stroll; remember to play safely; use age-appropriate toys and safety equipment such as helmets when using bikes, scooters, skates, etc.
  • Pools aren’t baby sitters; children should always be actively supervised when in or around bodies of water. Use barriers such as a pool fence, and lock doors that lead to any body of water.

In and around cars:

  • If you must go out, remember to use age-appropriate car seats during every ride! Perform a walk-around of your vehicle to ensure all areas are clear of children and avoid distractions while driving.
  • Changes in routines and distracted minds can lead to forgetting your child in the vehicle. Always make sure to visualize the back seat. Do not be tempted to leave your child in the vehicle while you run an errand, temperatures can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes.
  • If a child goes missing, make sure to check bodies of water and vehicles first as these pose a time-sensitive danger.

Although safety might not be the first thing that comes to mind during this time, let’s keep these safety tips top-of-mind and share with those who have children.

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