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Age-specific safety tips help keep your child safe

It's impossible to put your child in a safety bubble, but the American Academy of Pediatrics would like to help, and offers a set of age-specific safety sheets listing precautions parents should take during the first 10 years of their children's lives.

Birth to 6 months

Make certain that your baby's car safety seat is installed correctly. Read and follow the instructions that come with the car safety seat and the sections in the owner's manual of your car. Use the car safety seat every time your child is in the car.

6 to 12 months

Use gates on stairways and doors. Install operable window guards on all windows above the first floor. Do not use a baby walker. If your child has a serious fall or does not act normally after a fall, call your doctor.

1 to 2 years

Children in homes where guns are present are in more danger of being shot by themselves, their friends or family members than of being injured by an intruder. Ask if the homes where your child visits or is cared for have guns and how they are stored.

2 to 4 years

Keep safety caps on substances at all times or find nontoxic substances to use. If your child does put something poisonous in his or her mouth, call the Poison Help Line immediately. Attach the Poison Help Line number — toll-free 1-800-222-1222 — to your phone.

5 years

Your child is learning to do many things that can cause serious injury. Bike, street, fire, car, firearm and water safety are key. Even if your child knows how to swim, never let him or her swim alone.

6 years

Children aren't good at judging sound, distance or the speed of a moving car. Teach your children to stop at the curb and to never cross the street without a grownup. Make sure your child wears a helmet every time he or she rides a bike.

8 years

Your child should use a booster seat in the car until the lap belt can be worn low and flat on the hips and the shoulder belt can be worn across the shoulder rather than the face or neck (usually at about 4 feet 9 inches tall and between 8 and 12 years old). The safest place for all children to ride is in the back seat.

10 years

Ask your doctor which sports are right for your child's age. Be sure your child wears the protective equipment made for that sport, such as shin pads, mouth guards, wrist guards, eye protection and helmets.

on the web

Injury prevention

The TIPP Injury Prevention Program from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these online resources:

• The Department of Health and Human Services child safety resource guide: www.healthfinder.gov; search "child safety."

• Safety and first aid tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics: www.aap.org/healthtopics/safety.cfm.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web pages on injuries among children and adolescents: www.cdc.gov/ncipc/

factsheets/children.htm.

Age-specific safety tips help keep your child safe 01/26/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 26, 2009 4:25pm]

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