Childhood injuries and associated deaths are a substantial emotional and economic burden on Georgia, but are preventable. Childhood injuries are the leading cause of death for Georgia’s children ages 1–17 years. Each week, an average of 11 children die in Georgia because of either an intentional or unintentional injury, averaging an annual total of 549 deaths (1999–2006). Approximately 4,500 children are hospitalized, and >240,000 are examined in emergency departments yearly, at a charge of >$200,000,000 (Hospital Discharge Data, 2002–2006). Although Georgia has multiple agencies serving children, no coordinated process has existed to prevent all childhood injuries. Collaboration and coordinated planning of injury prevention efforts should be improved to make better use of limited resources.
Georgia Framework for Child Injury Prevention Planning Report
“If a disease were killing our children at the rate unintentional injuries are, the public would be outraged and demand that this killer be stopped.”
– C. Everett Koop, M.D., Sc.D., former surgeon General of the United States and former Chairman of National Safe Kids Campaign, Safekids Voice, Winter 2003
Make certain that your baby’s car safety seat is installed correctly. Read and follow the instructions that come with the car safety seat and the sections in the owners’ manual of your car. Use the car safety seat EVERY time your child is in the car.
Use gates on stairways and doors. Install operable window guards on all windows above the first floor. Do not use a baby walker. If your child has a serious fall or does not act normally after a fall, call your doctor.
Children in homes where guns are present are in more danger of being shot by themselves, their friends,or family members than of being injured by an intruder. Ask if the homes where your child visits or is cared for have guns and how they are stored.
Keep safety caps on at all times or find nontoxic substances to use. If your child does put something poisonous in his or her mouth, call the Poison Help Line immediately. Attach the Poison Help Line number (1-800-222-1222) to your phone.
At age 5, your child is learning to do many things that can cause serious injury… bike, street, fire, car, firearm, and water safety are key. Even if your child knows how to swim, never let him or her swim alone.
At age 6, children aren’t good at judging sound, distance, or the speed of a moving car. Teach your children to stop at the curb and to never cross the street without a grown-up. Make sure your child wears a helmet every time he or she rides a bike.
Your child should use a booster seat until the lap belt can be worn low and flat on the hips and the shoulder belt can be worn across the shoulder rather than the face/neck (usually at about 4’9″ tall and between 8 and 12 years old). The safest place for all children to ride is in the back seat.
Ask your doctor which sports are right for your child’s age. Be sure your child wears the protective equipment made for that sport, such as shin pads, mouth guards, wrist guards, eye protection, and helmets.