Safe Kids Kansas

Preventing Accidental Injury.

April 27, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Safe Kids Kansas Offers Age-Appropriate Tips to Help Keep Children Safe

National Safe Kids Week Kicks-Off with a First-Time Safety Report Linking Research on Unintentional Injury and a Child’s Development

A study of child development and unintentional injury released today by Safe Kids USA is the first to link age-appropriate safety tips to an extensive analysis of research on children’s cognitive, behavioral and physical development. The results create a blueprint of necessary safety recommendations for parents and caregivers to follow as children age.
“We’ve always taught parents how to keep their kids safe, but this report highlights precisely when and why those precautions are essential,” says Jan Stegelman, Safe Kids Kansas director.  “Understanding children’s cognitive, behavioral and physical abilities and limitations at various stages is the first step in being able to foresee and prevent serious injuries.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than six million unintentional injuries to children ages 0 to 14 in 2007 that required care in an emergency room. This translates into 12 injuries per minute – nearly all of which are preventable. Although the childhood injury death rate in the U.S. has dropped by 45 percent in the 22 years Safe Kids has been in operation, unintentional injury remains the leading cause of death and disability in children ages 1 to 14 in the U.S.

The release of this report, Raising Safe Kids: One Stage at a Time, coincides with National Safe Kids Week (April 26-May 3) and is based on an extensive literature review of research focusing on child development as it relates to unintentional injury. The report is divided into four stages of development: Infancy (0 to 12 months), Early Childhood (1 to 4 years), Middle Childhood (5 to 9 years) and Early Adolescence (10 to 14 years).

Each stage includes a description of a child’s developmental at that age, and easy-to-follow safety tips for the five leading injury risks to children: falls, bicycle-related injuries, motor vehicle occupancy injuries, fire and burns and poisonings.  As part of the initiative, Safe Kids has created fact sheets and safety tip sheets for each of the four stages of a child’s development.

Babies (0 to 12 Months)
Did you know that infants…
Have spines that are not fully developed, leaving them vulnerable to injury if they are not correctly positioned in a vehicle. They have a slower digestion rate and a lower tolerance for medication. Their skin is thinner and more sensitive, meaning it can burn more quickly than that of an adult. To keep your infant safer:

Little Kids (1 to 4 years)
Did you know that children 1 to 4 years old…
Have muscles and bones not yet fully developed. They are also still learning how to balance themselves and adjust their stance to avoid falls. They may wander off unsupervised to explore cupboards and drawers that may contain chemicals and poisons in them. To keep your 1-to 4-year old safer:

Big Kids (5 to 9 years)
Did you know that children 5 to 9 years old…
Have trouble recognizing and avoiding obstacles and lack an adult’s hand-eye coordination abilities. They are also at higher risk for cooking-related scald injuries, especially from tableware and microwave ovens. If a child is too small for a seat belt, he/she is at risk for serious injuries to the head, face and internal organs. To keep your 5- to 9-year old safer:

Pre-Teens (10 to 14 years)
 Did you know that early adolescents…
Have less defined visual perception than older teens and lack the ability to recognize a specific object from within a busy background. This is an important skill to identify oncoming cars in busy intersections. They are more likely to be completely unrestrained in a car than younger children and participate in risky behavior. They also may want to experiment with substances without adult supervision. To keep your 10- to 14-year old safer:

“Your child’s physical, behavioral and cognitive abilities should affect the precautions you take to help them avoid serious injury,” says Stegelman. “Serious injuries have effects lasting well into adulthood, such as spinal cord injuries and brain damage, which also lead to costly emergency department bills, missed school days, and limited future employment opportunities. But the good news is these injuries can be prevented if parents and caregivers take the right steps.”

For more information about Safe Kids, a copy of the safety report or a copy of the fact sheets and tip sheets, visit

Safe Kids Kansas, Inc. is a nonprofit Coalition of 67 statewide organizations and businesses dedicated to preventing accidental injuries to Kansas children ages 0-14.   Local coalitions and chapters are located in Allen, Anderson, Atchison, Clay, Coffey, Dickinson, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Ellis, Finney, Ford, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Labette, Leavenworth, Marion, Marshall, McPherson, Meade, Mitchell, Montgomery, Osage, Pottawatomie, Rice, Riley, Saline, Smith, Shawnee, Wilson and Woodson Counties, as well as the cities of Chanute, Emporia, Leavenworth, Pittsburg, the Wichita Area and the Metro Kansas City Area.  Safe Kids Kansas a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. The lead agency for Safe Kids Kansas is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

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