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 seatSafety 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.


  • 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.

Last reviewed by Eva Benmeleh, PhD. Review Date: September 2020


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics News. Don’t txt n drive: Teens not getting msg.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Infant Sleep Position and SIDS.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Playground Injuries.
  5. AAA. Distracted Driving.
  6. AAA. Teens Report Texting or Using Phone While Driving Significantly Less Often than Adults.
  7. British Medical Journal. Bed sharing when parents do not smoke.


  1. I am guilty of the phone thing. I used to look at it at stoplights, now I leave it in my diaper bag behind me. I can reach it in case of an emergency though.

    1. Removing the temptation completely is a great idea. This is what I do during dinner and self-imposed no technology time and it works for me.

    2. I think this is a temptation for many people. Leaving it in the back of the car is a great idea – out of sight so you won’t pull it out at a stoplight but close enough to reach it in an emergency.

  2. Texting while driving is one thing that drives me crazy. It is dangerous not only to you, but everyone else on the road as well. I get onto my husband about this sometimes and I’m sure that it gets on his nerves when I do…but it’s for his own good. 🙂

  3. I used to be guilty of texting and driving but refuse to do it now. I worry that one day my family will be the victims of a crash with a person on their cell phones while driving. I am surprised to see that more adults are using their cell phones than teens. I see the police officers in the area we live in out on the streets looking for people on their phones and they always have somebody pulled over when I drive by.


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