Child Safety Tips


Safety in the sun

Dear 16 Year Old Me
Watch this video for more information.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin diseases. Canadian men have a 1 in 74 chance of developing this disease and Canadian women 1 in 91. Many studies of skin cancer show links between malignant melanomas and an individual's intolerance to sun exposure. The studies indicate that people who have suffered severe and frequent sunburns during childhood are at greater risk of developing skin cancer. The features most closely associated with intolerance to sun exposure include fair or freckled skin, blue eyes, and light-coloured or reddish hair, though all skin types can burn and/or develop skin cancer. All individuals should try and stay out of the mid-day sun and use sunscreen; except infants under the age of six months, who should not use sunscreen.

Safe Sleeping for Babies 
One of the main causes of child deaths is unsafe sleeping environments. When a baby dies of Sudden Unexpected Death (SUD), the cause of death is not known, but there may have been contributing factors such as: bed sharing, sleeping face down, unsuitable sleeping surface (i.e. adult bed, sofa, car seat).

Safe Sleeping for babies includes following these guidelines:

  • Place infant on its back to sleep until one year of age.
  • Do not use pillows, crib bumper pads, blankets, afghans, duvets or quilts (especially adult bed-covers), on or under your baby.
  • Keep toys/stuffed animals out of the crib.
  • Put infant on a firm mattress in a crib (do not use a sleeping surface that wasn't designed or approved for infant sleep).
  • Babies should always sleep alone in their crib.
  • The safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib close to your bed.
  • Do not use a car seat in place of a crib at home.
  • Never share your bed with a baby. This is especially dangerous if you smoke, have been drinking, are using drugs or taking medication that might make you sleepy, or if you are obese.
  • Keep your baby's room cool (about 18°C, or 65°F) when he or she is sleeping.
  • Do not overdress or overheat the baby, especially if he or she is ill.
  • Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke.
  • Never leave a baby alone on a couch, sofa, or armchair.
  • If you are a heavy smoker or taking prescription drugs and breastfeeding, please talk to your doctor.
  • If your baby becomes ill, seek medical care for your baby.
  • Tell other caregivers of the baby (parents, aunts, babysitters, etc.) to follow these simple rules, too.

Additional Resources:

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Car Seat Safety 
Car crashes are the number one cause of death for Canadian children! Properly used child seats and booster seats can significantly reduce the chance of children being hurt and/or killed in collisions.

General tips

  • All car seats made in Canada come with a round sticker with a maple leaf, which means that the seat meets Canadian safety standards. Look for this sticker on the plastic shell of the seat.
  • Make sure the car seat is properly installed according to the manufacturer's instructions before your baby is discharged from the hospital.
  • Car seat expiry dates are printed directly on the seat. If the car seat is expired, it is not safe to use. If you are not sure about your car seat's expiry date, contact Transport Canada.
  • Do not leave your baby alone in a car seat.
  • Do not use a car seat in place of a crib at home. It is best for babies to sleep in a crib that meets Canadian safety standards.
  • Never use a car seat that has been involved in a car crash, even if no damage is visible.

Car Seat Safety for Newborn Babies

  • If you plan to transport your baby in any car, you must use a rear-facing infant seat until your baby is at least 1 year old and weighs 10 kg (22 lbs), depending on the brand of car seat.
  • If your baby outgrows her rear-facing seat before the age of one, choose a convertible car seat that can be used up to a higher height and weight limit. The longer you use a rear-facing infant seat that fits correctly, the safer your child will be in a crash.
  • Babies have heavier, larger heads and smaller, weaker necks than older children and adults. A rear-facing car seat protects your baby’s head, neck, and spine. In a crash or sudden stop, the force of the crash is spread across the back, which is the strongest part of your baby’s body.
  • If your baby has special health concerns, you may need a special type of car seat to transport her. For example, a premature baby, or one who was born with breathing problems, may experience low heart rate, low oxygen levels, or breathing problems if she travels in a regular car seat. A special “car bed” may be provided for your baby in such cases. There are other, special types of car seats for babies with other health problems. Ask your pediatrician for more information.

Car Seat Safety for Toddlers

  • A child can start riding facing forward when he or she is at least 9 kg (20 lb.).
  • To prevent the car seat from moving forward and causing injury in a collision, it is important to use the tether strap exactly as the manufacturer recommends. If your vehicle does not have a tether anchor in place, contact a dealership to have one installed. 

Additional Resources:

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Bathtub Safety

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death among Canadian children between the ages of 1 to 4, with the bathtub being the most common location. Very young children do not have the motor skills to lift their heads above water or get themselves out of the water. Infants and toddlers can drown in water as little as two inches deep.

  • Stay with your child for the whole bath, because drowning can occur in only a minute; if you have to leave the room always take your child with you
  • Take the phone off the hook or put on the answering machine before running the bath
  • Check the water temperature before putting your child in the bath. Bath water should be between the temperatures of 37C and 38C
  • Run the hot and cold water together
  • Run only enough water for washing and play
  • Turn the taps off tightly
  • Do not use bathtub seats or rings
  • Let old siblings join in the fun, rather than putting them in charge
  • Empty the bath as soon as you have finished with it

Additional Resources on bathtub/water safety, bathtub safety devices, bathtub seats and rings:

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Severe Allergic Reactions (Anaphylaxis) 
Life-threatening, severe allergic reactions to foods, insect bites and other triggers are on the rise in Canada. Fortunately, they can largely be avoided or treated. It's causes include food allergens, insect stings, latex, medication and exercise. Symptoms include hives, itching, red watery eyes, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, coughing, wheezing, difficulty swallowing and fainting.

Anaphalatic Shock Treatment

  • Apply an epinephrine (epipen) immediately — this is the only treatment used for anaphylaxis
  • In case of severe reaction call 911
  • If symptoms persist or worsen and help has not arrived after 15 — 20 minutes, reapply the epinephrine (do not exceed three applications)
  • After receiving an epipen, individuals should seek medical attention

Additional Resources

  • Health Canada: Guidelines for Severe Allergic Reactions
  • Public Health: Anaphylaxis: Statement on Initial Management in Non-Hospital Settings
  • Anaphylaxis Canada: This website informs, supports, educates, and advocates for the needs of individuals and families living with anaphylaxis 
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIFA): CIFA enforces Canada's labelling laws and works with associations, distributors, food manufacturers and importers to ensure complete and appropriate labelling of all foods. When the CFIA becomes aware of a potential serious hazard associated with a food, such as undeclared allergens, the CFIA investigates and takes all appropriate action to protect consumers, which may include a recall of the food product.

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Blind and Curtain Cords Safety 
Blinds and curtains are common items in many Canadian homes and businesses. Babies and young children who have access to looped or long blind and curtain cords can strangle or become entangled. Since 1986, Health Canada has received 28 reports of strangulation deaths and 22 near-fatal incidents linked to these products. You can take precautions to make sure this type of tragedy does not happen in your home.

 

  • Keep blind and curtain cords high and out of reach of children.
  • Whether the blind is up or down, make sure children cannot reach the cords. Tie them out of reach.
  • Never put a crib, bed, high chair or playpen near a window or a patio door where a child can reach the blind or curtain cord and strangle.
  • Do not put sofas, chairs, tables, shelves or bookcases near windows: this will prevent children from climbing up to reach the blind or curtain cord.
  • Cut the cords short when blinds are fully down or when curtains are fully closed.
  • Remove the loop in the cord by cutting the cord in half. Then, put plastic tassels or a break-away device at the end of the cords.
  • For vertical blinds, install tie-downs. You can buy these devices at hardware or department stores. When installing tie-downs, follow the manufacturer's instructions that come with the product. Make sure that the tie-down device is securely attached to the wall beside the window.
  • Wrap the cord around a cleat or 2 nails or screws that you have attached to the wall near the top of the blinds or curtains, high and out of the reach of children.
  • Use a clip, clothes pin, or a big twist tie to keep the cord high and out of the reach of children.

Additional Resources:

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Window Safety

 

  • Keep windows closed or open three to 10 centimeters;
  • Install window guards or window stops in every window to prevent children from opening windows;
  • Move cribs, beds, bikes, other furniture and objects children can climb on or over away from windows and balcony railings;
  • Keep doors to balconies locked; and
  • Always keep an eye on young children in the home

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Fire Safety

Children are much more likely than adults to be injured in a fire. Teach your children the importance of fire safety at an early age.

Matches and lighters 

  • Don't let your children play with fire. 
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children. 
  • Tell your children if they find matches or lighters to not to touch them, and to call an adult/grown-up right away. 
  • Teach your children that matches and lighters are not toys and are very dangerous; fire can hurt them and destroy things; once a fire starts it is difficult to control; 

Plan to get out alive: 

  • When children see smoke or fire they often respond by trying to hide, for example, in a closet or under a bed. Tell your children that they cannot hide from fire but they must escape immediately by following a few simple rules:
  • Prepare and practice a home fire escape plan with your children. 
  • Plan two ways to get out of every room. 
  • Practice fire drills at least twice a year with your children. 
  • In an apartment fire, your children need to know which stairways will get them out of the building. 
  • Tell your children never to take an elevator during a fire. 
  • Decide on a planned meeting area outside the home as part of your fire escape plan. 
  • Tell your children never to go back into a burning building!
     

Stop, drop and roll 

  • Practice the Stop, Drop and Roll movements with your children. This could save their lives if their clothes ever catch on fire. Have your children pretend that their clothes are on fire. Then tell them to:
  • Stop - Get them to stop where they are, and stop what they are doing. Don't run! 
  • Drop - Get them to drop to the floor as quickly as possible. 
  • Roll - Have them cover their face with their hands, then roll over and over until the flames are out. 
  • Get out, stay out and stay alive!
  • Teach your children the emergency Toronto Fire Services phone number, 9-1-1. 
     

Smoke - Teach your children:

  • Smoke is dangerous; smoke rises, so cleaner, cooler air is near the floor 
  • Children should get down on their hands and knees and crawl low under the smoke to the nearest exit 
  • Make sure children know what a smoke alarm is, and that smoke alarms warn them if a fire starts and to get out of the house immediately when they hear the sound of the smoke alarm 
  • Show your child how important smoke alarms are by testing all your smoke alarms every month and changing their batteries at least once a year.

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Road Safety

  • Teach younger children proper road safety rules such as: cross at designated crosswalks or traffic lights;
  • Remind your child to always look at the driver for a signal before crossing, look all ways before crossing the road and walk, never run, to the side of the road when the bus stops.
  • Ensure children wear bright or light colored clothing or reflective strips, when walking in dusk or darkness so drivers can see them.
  • Accompany any children under nine years old on the street as younger children’s judgment and perceptual skills are still developing.
  • Ensure children are secured with safety harnesses and/or child safety seats. Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

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Computer Safety

  • Learn about what your child is doing on the internet, web sites, chat rooms, E-mails and messages.
  • Set reasonable guidelines for children to use the internet and keep the computer in a family room.
  • Ensure children do not give our personal information online such as address, phone number, or school name or location and to use a screen name.
  • Caution children never to agree to meet anyone from a chat room in person.
  • Protect children from on-line predators by keeping communication with kids open, monitoring the websites they visit, blocking potential hazards and locating the computer in a common area where usage can easily be monitored.

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Internet Safety

  • Become familiar with the Internet forums and applications that your child/adolescent uses (IM, P2P, Blogs)
  • Explain to your child/adolescent that his/her Internet activity will be monitored. S/he should have no expectation of privacy on the computer
  • Use anti-virus and filtering software and keeping all software up to date
  • Review sites your teen visits and ensuring online diaries and profiles do not contain identifying personal information
  • Reinforce the public nature of the Internet Once pictures or information are sent over the Internet, control over what happens to them is lost. Be mindful of what is sent.
  • Monitor webcam use Inform your adolescent that pictures can be captured (freezing photos, recording video) by others without their knowledge. Be mindful of how the webcam is used and disconnect when not in use. (from Cybertip.ca)

Additional Resources:

  • www.internet101.ca 
    This web site, touting the motto “police and partners … working together to web-proof our communities”, was created and is maintained by a committee of police forces, including the RCMP. The site includes an extensive collection of safety tips, helpful presentations and links to further police-approved resources to help kids and parents surf safely.

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Playground Safety

  • On the playground, parents can check their children for loose clothing, scarves or strings that can get struck;
  • Check the playground equipment before your child plays and supervise your child closely.

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Home Alone Safety

  • After school, make sure your child is safe and well cared for.
  • Consider the child’s age and development level, the safety of the home environment and neighbourhood and accessibility of parents/adults/friends/and neighbours if assistance is required when planning to leave a child under the age of 16 unattended or with a babysitter.
  • Teach young children some basic information by age five such as their name, address and phone number and parents’ or guardians’ full names as well as their contact information, and a work number.
  • Give your daycare provider or school a list of safe people who can pick up your child.
  • Children should not answer the door or telephone when parents are not at home.
  • Local community services have additional programming and activities for children during the break and can provide information on daycare options.
  • Trusted neighbours, neighbourhood associations, family or friends may collaborate on organizing activities or supervising children.
  • When hiring a baby/child-sitter, parents should check references, consider the baby/child-sitter’s age, knowledge of child care and training and assessing caregiver to child ratios.

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Back to School Safety

Here are some tips for parents and caregivers:

  • Playground safety: On the playground after school, ensure children have no loose clothing, scarves or strings that can get stuck; check the playground equipment before children play and supervise them closely.
  • Road safety: Teach younger children proper road safety rules and accompany any children under nine years old on the street as younger children’s judgment and perceptual skills are still developing.
  • Car safety: Ensure children are secured with safety harnesses and/or child safety seats. Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.
  • Computer safety: Protect children from on-line predators by keeping communication with kids open, monitoring the websites they visit, blocking potential hazards and locating the computer in a common area where parents can monitor usage easily.
  • School bus safety: Remind your child to always look at the driver for a signal before crossing and look all ways before crossing the road.
  • Window safety: Safe-guard windows to prevent children from accidental falls from windows and balconies.

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Halloween Safety

To help parents and children prepare for Halloween, Safe Kids Canada recommends:

  • Select children's costumes with bright colours whenever possible and avoid visibility reducing face masks
  • Look left, look straight into the intersection, look right, and repeat before crossing the street while trick-or-treating
  • Do not cross between parked cars or other obstacles, cross at crosswalks or intersections
  • Stay on the sidewalk or path when walking from one house to another

To help drivers prepare for Halloween, Safe Kids Canada recommends:

  • Drive slowly in residential areas where children are more likely to be trick-or-treating
  • Watch out for kids, many of whom may be wearing costumes with visibility reducing features
  • Reduce your distractions and stay alert
  • Frequently check your speed and reduce it during peak trick-or-treating hours 

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More Safety Related Links:

Disclaimer:

All links provided above are for your convenience. Please be aware that we take no responsibility for the accuracy or content of any of the sites referenced here.