As moms, keeping our kids safe is a priority. Sometimes I joke and laugh with my friends that at the end of the day if everyone is in one piece I have succeeded as a mom. While that may be true, as an ER nurse I saw families on days where someone did get hurt. To me, the saddest cases were the injuries that were preventable. One simple safety tip from this mom and nurse: Buckle Up…and not just in the car.
While it’s commonplace to always buckle little ones in their car seats, injuries can still happen in the home and around town when we forget to buckle up. Even once out of the car remember to always keep those little ones buckled up in their infant seats. Nearly 10,000 infants are hurt each year in their infant seats outside of the car! This is almost equal to the number of kids injured in motor vehicle accidents. My nurse “story” here is about a family that came to the ER concerned their infant had an ear infection. While walking from the lobby to their room, dad was carrying the infant in the car seat when the infant wiggled out and fell onto the floor. It was horrible to witness this family cope with this injury that could have easily been prevented.
Oh the grocery carts! Over 21,000 kids are injured every year from improperly riding in the grocery cart. Most suffer from head injuries due to the length of the fall. Make sure to choose a grocery cart with a properly working buckle – many grocery carts are broken or not up to code. Always use the buckle on the grocery cart if your child is big enough to sit in the front. Finally, ensure your little one rides properly with their bottom down and correct them if they try to stand up. Never, ever put an infant carseat in the front part of the grocery cart.
Nearly 24 children present to the ER every day in the US from highchair falls. Again many of these injuries are to the head because children are falling from a height. Make sure that your highchair is on a stable surface to prevent tipping. Be sure to use the harness or buckles that come with the high chair.
And lastly one we use every day with FIT4MOM: the stroller! Think of the stroller as another vehicle and just as you wouldn’t drive with your child unbuckled in their car seat, don’t walk, jog, or run without buckling up first. Nearly 60% of stroller injuries occur because children are not buckled in and they slip and fall out of the stroller. The buckling in applies to both jogging strollers and travel system strollers. Sometimes very young infants can wiggle right out of their infant seat attached to the stroller if not properly buckled. Make buckling up fun by making it part of the Stroller Strides routine, and let bigger kids know that the little kids need to see how it’s done. Let them show littler kids how big kids ride in the stroller buckled in.
I hope these tips from your favorite ER nurse and mom keep you and your family safe and avoid those trips to the ER.
Sarah Donaldson, RN, is a nurse and mom in Redmond, WA. She is also a FIT4MOM-certified instructor teaching classes at FIT4MOM Redmond.