Injury Prevention FAQs

I want my kids to be active – even indoors. How can I make sure it’s safe enough?

Have you thought about crawling around on your hands and knees to check for potentially dangerous areas of the room from your child’s point of view? Cover sharp corners of tables, electric outlets, and doorknobs. Install childproof locks for sliding doors and safety latches for drawers with sharp implements. To prevent televisions, shelving, or furniture from toppling, anchor them to the wall if possible. Supervision is always the most reliable way to keep your children safe.

My 10-year-old despises wearing his bicycle helmet. How old does he have to be not to wear one?

Never! It’s the law in Pennsylvania that children under age 12 must wear bicycle helmets, but everyone – and that includes parents – should wear bicycle helmets. The helmet should fit your child’s head so that when the straps are snug, the helmet does not move around on his head. Remember, helmets aren’t just for bikes. They should be required gear for everyone who gets on anything with wheels, including scooters and skateboards. You may not have to remind your child to wear his helmet if you let him choose a bright-colored one that he can decorate with stickers.

I’m glad my little boy loves dogs. How do I teach him to be careful, but not afraid?

Teach your child to always ask another adult if it’s okay to pet a dog. If it’s okay, your child should then let the dog smell his hand first. After the dog sniffs his hand, he can pet the dog where the dog can still see his hand. Tell him not to pet the dog on top of his head first. This may startle the dog.

How can I protect my children from getting bee stings this summer?

Bees and wasps are attracted to brightly colored clothing and sweet scents. Even if your youngsters like wearing colorful clothes, you can cover bottles, jars, or cans of sweet drinks and foods that attract the insects. Call your pediatrician immediately if your child has an allergic reaction, including hives or swelling around the face.

My children and their friends enjoy exploring the woods on summer days. Is it inevitable that they’ll have allergic reactions to poison ivy or other similar plants?

Avoiding poisonous plants, which contain an oily substance called urushiol, is the best medicine. Teach your children to identify the leaves of poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. Then, go outdoors with them on an identification hunt. They should wear long pants and long sleeves.

To remove the oils, wash your children’s skin with cool, soapy water within four hours after contact.

The fluid from the blisters is not contagious. However, oils that stay on your child’s hands, clothes, and shoes can spread. Wash all as soon as possible.