Op-Ed | Ahead of National Injury Prevention Day, here’s how to keep your kids safe at home and during play

little girl playing with Cardboard Box, into her new house.
Photo via Getty Images

New York City parents, I know how overwhelming it can be to keep your children safe while also encouraging them to explore and try new things. You are the most important person in your child’s life, and that’s wonderful, but it’s also a huge responsibility. Here’s the good news: many unintentional injuries are entirely preventable with the right information, tools, and supervision.  

Tragically, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional injuries – such as those caused by suffocation, poisoning, burns, and vehicular traffic – are the leading cause of death and disability to children in America. Too often, children suffer serious injuries that could have been prevented, which is why as parents, caregivers, and New Yorkers, we should all take the simple steps necessary to make sure these unintentional injuries never happen in the first place. 

Here are some important strategies:

  • Closely supervise children – Children under age six have a limited capacity to appraise risk and differentiate unsafe from safe situations so it’s important that caregivers keep them in close proximity (watching and listening) to spot potential hazards and avoid unintentional injuries. 
  • Cannabis edibles safety – Store cannabis-infused edibles the same way you would store medications and other potentially toxic products. Make sure they are separate from other food and drinks and keep them in a secure place like a lock box or high cabinet that is out of sight and reach of children.
  • Look before you lock – Children should never be left unattended or be able to get inside a vehicle on their own during any time of the year, but especially in warmer months.
  • The ABCs of safe sleep – Babies should always sleep Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib, play yard, or bassinet.
  • Window guard safety – Tragic injury or death from window falls are preventable with properly installed and approved window guards, which are required in many residential buildings.

In recognition of National Injury Prevention Day, the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is hosting our annual Injury Prevention Resource Fair on Thursday, November 16th at the River Community Center at 16-19 East 174th Street in the Bronx from 10am-1pm.

At the fair, experts will inform parents and caregivers about the leading causes of preventable injuries and share more strategies to keep children safe from harm at home and during play. ACS is also partnering with a number of local organizations, including the Fire Department of New York and the NYC Poison Center, to provide free safety demonstrations, crib safety information, CPR, and medicine lock box demonstrations. We’ll conclude with giveaways and raffles including portable cribs, lock boxes, car seats, and bicycle helmets. 

I invite you to join us and take an important step toward keeping your child safe. We hope to see you there! 

For more information on how to keep your children safe, click here

Michele Maye is an Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services.