Image of a dad helping his daughter put a bandage on a scraped knee after a fall from a bicycle

Childhood is a time of joy, exploration, and growth.  Unfortunately, it’s also a period when dangerous accidents can happen. Negligence, whether at home or on someone else’s property, can result in devastating injuries to children.

National Child Safety and Protection Month reminds parents and caregivers to be vigilant and proactive in safeguarding their kids. Read on to explore common injuries to children and the important role of experienced legal assistance when negligence by others leads to your child’s injury.

Most Common Injuries to Children

Over 7,000 children between ages 0 and 19 died due to unintentional injuries in 2019, making it the leading cause of death among this age group. Recognizing the most common injuries and accidents affecting children is crucial for parents and caregivers to promote child safety.

  • Falls: Approximately 2.2 million children are treated in emergency rooms each year due to falls. Insufficient safety precautions on playgrounds, such as missing guard rails, lack of soft-fall flooring, slippery store floors without caution signs, or neglected public areas, can lead to hazardous falls.
  • Car Accidents: An estimated 162,298 children were injured in traffic crashes in 2021. Improper car seat installation, the failure to use seat belts, or the negligence of other drivers who disregard traffic rules can all lead to injuries or even fatalities among child passengers.
  • Dog Bites: Dog bites are not just painful; they can also result in life-threatening diseases and long-lasting physical and emotional trauma. Many cases of children being bitten by dogs are due to negligent dog owners who do not adequately manage their pets or oversee interactions between kids and dogs. Joye Law Firm attorney, Brent Arant, recently represented a 10-year-old who suffered injuries, permanent scarring, and psychological damage after being bitten by a dog while playing in her own front yard. Read the full case story here.
  • Burns and Scalds: Burns and scalds are common injuries among children, often because of a lack of supervision or inadequate safety measures. Hot beverages, stovetops, and even bathwater can pose risks.
  • Choking and Suffocation: Small objects, especially poorly designed toys and candy, or inadequate safety precautions can lead to choking incidents and death. Lax supervision of children can heighten the likelihood of suffocation incidents, particularly in babies and young toddlers.
  • Drowning: Drowning is a tragic and preventable injury for young children. Each year, there are around 4,000 unintentional drowning deaths in the U.S. Due to insufficient physical barriers or oversight, negligence frequently leads to children accessing unguarded swimming pools or open water sources, resulting in injuries and fatalities.

How to Protect Your Child in and Outside the Home

For your child’s safety, remain alert inside and outside your home. While accidents can occur in any setting, recognizing potential hazards and taking proactive steps can diminish the chances of harm to your child.

Inside the Home

Ensuring your child’s safety at home is a priority for every parent. To create a safe space for your children, consider the following tips:

  • Childproofing: Baby gates, outlet covers, cabinet locks, and corner protectors are essential for creating a safe environment within your home. These simple measures help prevent accidents like falls down stairs, electrical injuries, and access to hazardous chemicals.
  • Safe storage: Store sharp objects, medications, cleaning supplies, firearms, and other potentially dangerous items out of your child’s reach. Use childproof locks or safes to store these items and keep them securely locked at all times.
  • Kitchen safety: Ensure pot handles are turned away from the edge of the stove, use stove knob covers, and keep hot appliances and liquids out of reach. Also, secure refrigerator and cabinet doors with locks to prevent your child from accessing items that could be harmful or pose choking hazards.
  • Safe sleep: Babies should always sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet. Remove pillows, stuffed animals, and loose bedding to reduce the risk of suffocation.
  • Burn prevention: Set your water heater to 125°F or lower to prevent scalding burns during baths. Always test bathwater before placing your child in the tub by dipping your elbow into the bath or invest in a tub thermometer. Install safety covers on stovetop knobs and keep hot beverages out of reach.
  • Daycare safety: When your child is in the care of others, whether at daycare or with a babysitter, communicate your safety expectations. Ensure that the caregiver is aware of your child’s allergies and medical conditions.

Outside the Home

Taking your child outside comes with its own set of safety challenges. But by being proactive, you can keep them safe.

  • Playground guidelines: Supervise your child closely at the playground and ensure they use age-appropriate equipment. Check for safety certifications and regularly inspect the playground for any hazards. Teach your child proper playground etiquette, like not pushing or crowding around equipment.
  • Pool security: If you have a pool, install a fence with a self-latching gate to keep children away from the pool area when unsupervised. Enroll your child in survival swimming lessons at an early age and ensure they wear appropriate flotation devices.
  • Childproofing your car: Ensure you’re using the correct car seat for your child’s age, height, and weight, and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation.
  • Road safety: Educate your child about pedestrian safety, such as checking both directions before crossing the road and using crosswalks. For older kids who might walk or bike to school, map out safe paths and ensure they’re familiar with traffic signs.
  • Safe cycling: Once your child starts riding a bike, ensure they wear a well-fitted helmet, use reflective equipment and lights, and adhere to traffic regulations. Periodically check their bicycle, including its brakes and gears, to ensure everything is functioning correctly.
  • Stranger danger: Educate your child about stranger danger and establish guidelines for interacting with unknown individuals in person and online.

Get Legal Help if Your Child is Injured Due to Someone Else’s Negligence

Accidents involving children can have lasting consequences. If your child gets hurt because of another person’s negligence, it’s important to seek legal advice. At Joye Law Firm, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers are committed to protecting your child’s rights and securing the compensation they deserve.

We know how emotionally and financially draining these situations can be for families. Let us handle the legal complexities while you focus on your child’s well-being and recovery.

Contact us today for a free case review, and let us advocate for your child.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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