MountainStar Health - October 12, 2020
by Dr. Lee Trotter

Even though school has started in most areas across the state, many kids are still spending far more of their school week at home. Not only are kids home more, many parents find themselves pulled in more directions than ever as they try to help school-aged kids with online instruction while also entertaining and keeping an eye on their little ones.

We sat down with Dr. Lee Trotter, Director of Pediatric Trauma at MountainStar Children’s Services to get his valuable insight to parents on how to keep their kids safe at home.

“As a trauma surgeon I’ve seen many children come into the hospital with traumatic injuries,” Trotter says. “Unfortunately, these injuries sometimes affect their lives and the lives of their parents for many years to come. Often these could have been prevented.”

Here are some tips to protect your precious family members from dangers that may seem not that important until something terrible happens.

Stay Aware

We live in an interesting world with a lot of distractions. It can be easy to get wrapped-up in other things, but do your best to be aware of what your children are doing both inside and outside of the home. This is especially important for kids under seven years old who are capable of doing the darndest things that sometimes defy all logic.

Some of the most common accidents we see in the hospital that you should be aware of include:

  • Falls – especially from stairs and counter tops.
  • Burns – such as pulling hot things from the stovetop or microwave and now, as the weather cools off, from fire places or space heaters.
  • Ingestions – eating chemicals, batteries, magnets and other small objects left around the home or small pieces from toys.
  • Bike/ATV accidents – especially harmful for kids not wearing safety equipment.

Doing your best to keep a good eye on your kids is your number one defense.

Teach Safety

While keeping an eye on your kids is the best defense, that isn’t always possible. That is why it’s so important to take the time and teach kids how to be safe. For example, give swimming lessons, teach kids not to play in the streets, and to go the long way around cars. Also teaching them not to climb on furniture is a simple reminder that not only keeps them safe but keeps your stuff nice.

Teaching safety isn’t only important for your toddlers and young children, but for school–aged children as well. Young kids love to mimic their siblings and may not know there is potential danger. Take the time to help older siblings realize that they are being watched and that safety at home is a family affair.

Kid-proof Your Home

Child-proofing your home needs to be a focus from the time they are babies to older childhood. This is especially important in the kitchen, living room and dining rooms where the most severe accidents occur.

Some of the most important things to remember in child-proofing are:

  • Secure tall furniture
  • Add gates to limit access to stairs
  • Remove blind cords or keep them high and out of reach
  • Make sure kitchen knives and other sharp objects are out of reach
  • Clean-up tools and other projects such as car jacks or other equipment right away
  • Keep chemicals locked up and out of reach

Kids are tricky and curious. You can’t be too vigilant in child-proofing your home.

“All of these factors have the potential for an increase in child accidents at home this fall,” Trotter concludes. “I believe in living life to the fullest. I have been a surgeon, an actor, a commercial pilot and continue to love a great adventure. I believe that life is not lived fully without taking some risks. However, as a pilot, for example, we do a great many things to make flying safe and ensure that we are prepared and eliminate possible problems. Parenthood is also a great adventure. Some simple steps can keep our kids out of the ER and living their lives to the fullest.”

Care during COVID-19

It is as safe now as anytime to seek care for your children if they need it. Whether it’s a trip to the ER, urgent care or your pediatrician, don’t delay the care your child needs for fear of COVID-19.

Learn more about all of the services offered by MountainStar Children’s Services.