Activities related to normal growth and development place children at increased risk for injury. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury among children. Falls due to household hazards are most common among young children (0-4 years), while children ages 5-9 are more likely to sustain falls on the playground, and older children suffer from bike and sports-related falls. Head injuries are more common for children experiencing falls, and the resulting trauma to the rapidly developing brain can cause life-long disability.
Growing children have less coordination, slower reaction times, and less accuracy than adults, and are less able to assess the risk of activities to themselves. Guidance provided to parents about how a child's natural curiosity, impulsiveness, developing motor skills, and undeveloped ability to anticipate outcomes can play an important role in helping them to identify hazards in their child's environment. Parent injury-related education should begin before birth, and age-appropriate information should be provided at all health care visits. Access to hazards such as open windows and stairs should be blocked and clutter removed so the child has clear spaces to learn walking and to play safely. Providing properly fitting protective gear, such as helmets, for children playing sports or other recreational activity is important.
Adult supervision can be the most important factor in protecting children from injury. For more information on childhood injury, visit Safe Kids Worldwide.