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Preventing Personal Injuries to Minors and Children

A new study out of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has found that injuries to children have declined with the wide-spread use of home safety devices. Researchers tracked two groups of families. One group of families with newborns installed stairway gates, safe storage areas for sharp objects, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, cabinet locks, electrical outlet covers, and hot water heaters set below 120 degree Fahrenheit. Another group of families with newborns did not install any of these safety measures. After two years, the families with safety devices had 70 percent fewer home childhood injuries.

According to the study’s authors, most injuries to children take place in the home, especially for younger children. The authors note that first-time parents and low-income parents are more likely to be at risk for injuries in the home, possibly due to fewer quality safety devices and access to such devices. Statistics show that across the country 2800 children are killed from injuries in the home and many of these injuries are preventable. Millions of children visit the emergency room each year due to preventable injuries sustained in the home.

Parents interested in preventing Florida injuries to children and minors can work on introducing these safety devices into the home:

1) Stairway gates and other barriers. These prevent falls and are important in any home with a toddler. It is important to select quality gates that are sturdy enough to resist pushing. Parents should install these even on smaller steps and staircases. Parents should also install window barriers, especially on any windows that are accessible from cribs. Each year, infants and small children are killed by falls from windows they have been exploring.

2) Safe storage areas. In addition for safe storage areas for sharp objects, such as knives and scissors, it is important to create safe, locked storage areas for paints, aerosol sprays, cleaners, and other household chemicals. Even pots and pans can be dangerous, which is why cabinet locks are also important.

3) Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. Working alarms are instrumental in preventing Florida burn injuries, smoke inhalation, and other fire-related injuries.

4) Electrical outlet covers. Electrical outlets are often at child level and are an attractive curiosity to small children. Small fingers stuck in these outlets can cause serious injury. Child-proof electrical outlet covers, correctly used, can help prevent injuries.

5) Lower heat hot water heaters. Setting water heaters below 120 degree Fahrenheit ensures that water from the tap does not get hot enough to cause serious scalding and burn injuries. As well, lowering water heater temperatures can help reduce energy usage and costs.

If your child has sustained an injury due to someone’s negligence or recklessness, contact the Flaxman Law Group to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. Our offices in Miami, Homestead, and Hollywood as well as our experienced legal team are here to serve the South Florida community.