Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Injury Prevention for Children With Special Needs

Special considerations: Children with special needs

If your child has a special need consider these additional safety tips from Dayton Children’s and Safe Kids Greater Dayton:

  • Beware of common dangers: Parents don’t realize that young children can drown in less than inch of water, that drinking mouthwash can cause a young child to fall into an alcohol coma, or that children can fall out of a window that is only opened 5 inches. Make sure your child’s environment is as safe as possible.
  • Use visuals reminders: The "Mr. Yuk" stickers from poison prevention centers prevent many tragedies for preschoolers and their parents. This same strategy can work for older children with ADHD, who tend to be developmentally immature and have poor memories. Use stickers with phrases such as "Don't Touch!" and "Off Limits!" Put them on the power tools, the attic door, the stove, the knife drawer or any other potential source of injury.
  • Make rules specific and clear: Give specific instructions instead: "Before crossing the street, look left, look right, then look left again. When there are no cars, cross the street and keep looking until you reach the other side." Establish exactly what's off limits: the quarry, the roof, the windowsill, the pool, the oak tree. Make a chart of specific safety rules and post it in your child's room and in the kitchen as a daily reminder.
  • Role play and rehearse: Develop and role-play risky scenarios with your kids Go over situations such as: "What do you do when the ball rolls into the street? What do you do when someone starts a fight with you on the playground?" Play out several options and review their possible consequences: "If you do that, what do you think might happen? What if you did this instead?" Help children be prepared for the dangerous situations they may encounter.
  • Arrange for supervision: Supervising ADHD kids is critical. Don't pair them with other ADHD kids and send them off to the park; send them with responsible older kids who can serve as role models and mentors. If you or another adult can't be around after school, enroll your kids in supervised activities such as music lessons and team sports.
Visit our Kohl's "A Minute for Kids" Campaign to learn more about injury prevention.

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