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Am Fam Physician. 2013 Apr 1;87(7):502-9.

Prevention of unintentional childhood injury.

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  • 1Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, WA 98431, USA.

Abstract

Unintentional injury accounts for 40 percent of childhood deaths annually, most commonly from motor vehicle crashes. The proper use of child restraints is the most effective strategy to prevent injury or death. Motor vehicle restraint guidelines have recently been revised to an age-based system that delays the progression in type of restraint for most children. Strategies to prevent suffocation in children include using appropriate bedding, positioning babies on their backs to sleep, and removing items from the sleep and play environment that could potentially entrap or entangle the child. Fencing that isolates a swimming pool from the yard and surrounding area and "touch" adult supervision (i.e., an adult is in the water and able to reach and grab a child) have been shown to be most effective in preventing drownings. Swimming lessons are recommended for children older than four years. Poison prevention programs have been shown to improve prevention behavior among caregivers, but may not decrease poisoning incidence. Syrup of ipecac is not recommended. Smoke detector maintenance, a home escape plan, and educating children about how to respond during a fire emergency are effective strategies for preventing fire injuries or death. Fall injuries may be reduced by not using walkers for infants and toddlers or bunk beds for children six years and younger. Consistent helmet use while bicycling reduces head and brain injuries. Although direct counseling by physicians appears to improve some parental safety behaviors, its effect on reducing childhood injuries is uncertain. Community-based interventions can be effective in high-risk populations.

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PMID:
23547592
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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