Since Covid-19 struck, more people are staying at home, working remote, and if they have to travel they prefer to travel by car rather than plane. Despite parents being at home more, their children are still at risk for injuries at home. The leading causes of injuries and death of children before the pandemic were unintentional incidents like falls, burns, drownings, and poisoning, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fortunately, there are safety tips on sleep safety, baby-proofing the house, and car seat safety that parents can implement to minimize the potential for injury or death.
Providing a Safe Environment
Having babies and young children can be difficult especially as they grow and explore their surroundings.With this in mind, taking proactive steps can ensure the child is safe from most dangers in the house. “Many of the injuries we see can be minimized or avoided altogether if the parents took time to set up safety measures around their house and for their car.” Attorney Andy Rodriguez of Felix Gonzalez Law Firm, P.C. said.
Provide a Safe Sleeping Environment
Sleeping can pose certain dangers to a baby if the child is not in a safe sleeping environment. The safest place for a baby to sleep is in an empty, fully assembled crib. Ensure the crib’s safety by frequently checking for missing, loose, or broken parts and any incorrectly installed screws or other pieces. Babies often grab at anything they see in their crib and are at risk for choking on small items.
Once the crib assembly is complete, check its stability frequently and inspect the crib for faulty hardware. A snug-fitting mattress is important as infants are prone to suffocate in gaps between a small mattress and the crib’s sides or ends.
Keep hazards such as cords or strings away from the crib so the baby cannot reach items and wrap them around themselves. All cords should be out of the child’s reach and keep the baby monitor a minimum of three feet away from the crib. Keep the crib away from windows with drapes or cords from blinds as these pose dangers to the baby’s safety.
Keep Your Home Safe
Unfortunately, homes contain endless amounts of dangers to children, and even certain products designed for children can be dangerous. Once the baby becomes mobile, parents should utilize gates on doorways and stairways, and add foam to dangerous corners around low tables or edges. If the child becomes able to climb or open the gates, it is important to teach them how to use the stairs.
Despite being engineered for babies, baby products often pose dangers to children. Baby products often come with straps and harnesses, and it is important to use and adjust these straps or harnesses correctly. Elevated surfaces pose a falling danger, so avoid placing a baby in a seat, swing, or car seat on a countertop or table as they may be rocked by the child or accidentally pushed while doing other tasks.
While changing or bathing may seem like a harmless activity, but it could lead to severe injuries if not done correctly. When changing or bathing a child, make sure everything needed is within arm’s reach, so the baby is never left alone. Changing pads often come with restraints, and it is wise to utilize them so they do not roll over while on an elevated surface.
Use Car Seats Safely
Cars can be dangerous for adults, and small children are at greater risk of injury in a car accident. It is essential to have the proper car seat for a baby and ensure correct installation. Babies should ride in rear-facing seats until they are big enough to face forward, at which point they should be secured in a car seat with a harness or ride in booster seats until the seat belts fit correctly.
Car seats have expiration dates, so check them for information related to the model’s useful life. For proper function, follow the instructions for installation and to register the car seat with the manufacturer. Avoid second-hand car seats, especially those previously involved in a crash, if it has missing or damaged parts. If you ever have any questions on how to install a car seat or the quality of it, most local fire departments are willing to help, so feel free to contact or visit their website and see what resources they have to offer.
Legal Liability for Child Injuries
When another person causes injury or death, they could be held legally responsible for their actions. Whether it is a babysitter or the driver of another car, they are liable for damages arising from the injuries.
A person is liable when their negligence caused an injury to another person. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must establish the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant breached the duty, the breach led to the plaintiff’s injuries.
All people owe a duty to others to act in a manner that avoids injuries. When they act in a manner that is unreasonable given the circumstances, they have breached that duty. If their breach causes an injury, they are more likely to be found negligent. Damages arising from the injuries often include pain and suffering, and out-of-pocket expenses like medical costs.
Negligence can be difficult to establish and is generally a subjective test, however, if somebody acts in a manner unacceptable to the average person, they are liable for injuries they caused. Negligence cases don’t just happen on the road, they can happen within a home as well. A person who caused a baby’s injury can be negligent for the following:
- Leaving the baby alone in the bathtub
- Placing the baby on the counter and walking away
- Giving the baby an item they could choke on
- Driving recklessly and causing an injury
Take Steps to Protect Children
While accidents are inevitable, there are steps to take that minimize a child’s risk of injury or death. Parenting is not an easy task, but implementing safety measures could help ensure a baby or young child’s health. Should the baby suffer an injury, the law provides an avenue to hold the person who caused a baby’s injury responsible and receive compensation for their expenses.