Accidents can happen to anyone, sometimes even under Dad’s watchful eye. The most important thing dads can do to keep their children safe is stay informed about how they are most likely to get hurt. Even though most children do not get seriously injured from these everyday accidents, it is important to know what dangers they face and what Dad can do to help avoid them. This is where the Safety Tips for Dads fact sheets from the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse come in to play. They draw on data from the National Center for Injury Protection and Control to provide information about the most common and dangerous kinds of accidents for four different age groups: infants under 1 year, ages 1 to 4 years, ages 5 to 14 years, and ages 15 to 19 years.
For infants, it is important for dads to be particularly cognizant of suffocation risks. Accounting for 82 percent of deaths, suffocation is the leading cause of accidental deaths among infants younger than one year. Tips for avoiding injuries to infants include making sure babies have their own bed or crib and never leaving a baby alone in the bath or the car.
Between the ages of 1 and 4, toddlers and preschoolers are beginning to explore their surroundings. This can mean a few bumps and bruises along the way. In fact, 61 percent of accidental injuries treated in emergency rooms for this age group are the result of falls and collisions. Dads can reduce the risk of injury to their toddlers by closely supervising young children, especially when they are near places they could fall. Other safety tips include teaching children clear and simple safety rules about crossing the street and “toddler-proofing” the home with padding and stair gates.
Dads of school-aged children (5 to 14 years) should be on the lookout for sports and activity-related injuries, which account for the majority of hospital visits in this age group. Although animal bites and insect stings are other major causes of hospital visits, accidental injuries from falling or running into something are the most common culprit. Children between the ages of 5 to 14 have fewer deaths from accidents than children of other ages, but making sure they have the proper protective gear and teaching them to do their favorite activities safely will help prevent serious injury.
Finally, keeping teenagers (ages 15-19) safe may seem daunting as they gain more freedom, but dads can play an important role in helping their teens make smart decisions about alcohol, drugs, and car safety. Car-related accidents account for 58 percent of accidental deaths among teens. Ensuring that teens know to always wear their seat belts and placing limits on when they drive alone or after dark are little things that can make a big difference in their safety.
For more tips on keeping children safe, see the NRFC Safety Tips sheets here. Each Safety Tips sheet also includes a list of additional resources for further information.
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse