It’s a parent’s job to worry about their kids—but many of us are staying up at night fretting about things that will most likely never happen. Despite what the nightly news tells you, research shows that parental fears such as kidnapping, school shootings and terrorism are rare occurrences. But there are things that parents should be on the lookout for so they can prevent injuries and more.
1. Expired car seat—Safety standards change over time as new technology is developed. In addition, materials deteriorate over time, especially plastic. Expiration dates alert you to the possibility that your car seat may be worn out, but many parents don’t pay attention to them. You want to make sure your child is strapped into the safest seat, which can prevent serious injury in case you’re in an accident.
2. Drowning—Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. Children ages 1 to 4 have the highest drowning rates, and most occur in home swimming pools. Research shows that taking part in in formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning, even for toddlers and young children.
3. Texting while driving—Recent research shows that texting while driving has become a greater hazard than drinking and driving among teenagers. Yet the truth is that more adults use their phones while driving than teens. In fact, 82 percent of adults ages 25–39 reported using their phone while driving. And estimates suggest that distraction contributes to 16 percent of all fatal crashes, leading to around 5,000 deaths every year. Be sure you don’t text and drive. If you have teens, make sure they don’t, either.
4. Co-sleeping—Approximately 2,000 babies die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) each year, and a study in the British Medical Journal Open showed that babies who co-sleep with their parents are five times more likely to die of SIDS. Another recent study in the American Journal of Public Health found 64 percent of babies who died of SIDS were sharing a sleep surface and nearly half were with an adult.
5. Playground injuries—About 45 percent of playground-related injuries are severe: fractures, internal injuries, concussions, dislocations, and amputations. Be sure your child is closely supervised on playgrounds, whether he or she is with you or at school.
6. Bike riding—The number of children who visit emergency rooms each year for bicycle-related crashes is more than for any other sport. Head injuries are by far the most serious type of injury, which can lead to permanent brain injuries and death, so make sure your child always wears a helmet when riding.
Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020
- While parents often worry about such issues as kidnapping, shootings and terrorism, the chances are any of those events happening to your child are slim.
- Parents should be more concerned about other events, such as co-sleeping, drowning, head injuries from bike riding, playground injuries and expired car seats.
- Texting while driving is also a huge problem, causing numerous accidents and fatalities each year.