Playing It Safe: Suffocation
You probably know it's not a good idea to put a plastic bag over your head - but do you know other ways you might suffocate? Move your mouse over the rooms below to find out!
Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in young children. Three key ways to prevent accidents are:
- Understanding the child's stage of development, coordination, skills & behavior patterns.
- Improving the quality of care-taking & supervision.
- Safe-proofing the environment.
Toys with long strings can cause strangulation.
Pillows & Soft Toys
Keep pillows & soft toys out of the crib during infancy.
Cribs should not have corner posts or finials & there should not be any decorative cut-outs on the head & foot boards.
Check crib slats to be sure they are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. A baby's body can slide through the slats, entrapping the head & causing strangulation.
Mattresses should fit tightly into the crib with no gaps that could entrap a baby's head.
Avoid using too many blankets during sleep; instead, consider dressing your infant in a footed sleeper.
Make sure cords from window blinds & curtains are out of children's reach.
Be aware of any furniture with rails, slats or spindles that are wide enough for a child's body to slip through, but small enough to entrap the head, causing strangulation.
Do not allow your infant to sleep on a couch or waterbed. These soft surfaces can trap a baby's face & cause suffocation.
Children's hooded sweatshirts & jackets should not have strings in the hood.
Plastic bags or plastic wrapping should be taken out of the house immediately & put in the trash can.
It is illegal to have an unused refrigerator unless the door has been removed or the latch has been disabled. Refrigerators are air-tight & death can occur when curious children crawl inside & are unable to get out.
Keep picnic/camping coolers out of children's reach.
Watch out for small, confined, air-tight containers like trunks and large plastic storage boxes. Curious children can climb in during a game of hide-and-seek without realizing the danger.
Automatic garage doors have been known to pin a child, causing suffocation.
Keep balloons away from young children & supervise older children during use.
Climbing ropes on playground equipment should be anchored at the top & bottom to prevent the rope from wrapping around a child's neck.
Check playground equipment, like rings, for small spaces that could trap the child's head.
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