With kids spending more time at home, there’s a greater chance they’ll get injured at home.
A recent New York Times article suggests we could see an increase in pediatric injuries for a few reasons: kids are cooped up at home and restless. Many parents have to work from home, so they can’t provide adequate supervision all the time. After kids finish their schoolwork, they’re left to their own devices. That means climbing onto tables, riding bikes, skateboards and scooters in the driveway without helmets or fighting with their brothers and sisters.
Under normal circumstances, parents would take a bleeding child to an urgent care clinic or the emergency room. But these aren’t normal circumstances. The idea of rushing your child to the doctor strikes fear in most parents. They worry about coronavirus exposure. They worry about burdening an already overburdened healthcare system. And as we fall into a recession, they worry about how much that visit will cost.
First, know Bay Area hospitals are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to separate patients with respiratory symptoms from the rest of the patient population. They have also launched plans to protect all patients.
Still, considering our shelter-in-place order, unless it’s a life-threatening emergency, call or set up a video visit with your pediatrician first. They will advise you on next steps. If you do have to leave home to get treatment, practice social distancing and follow all hygiene recommendations. If you can use an urgent care clinic or children’s hospital, do.
To lessen the odds of a pediatric injury in the first place, follow these at-home safety tips:
To prevent choking
– Don’t let kids run with food in their mouths.
– Don’t let them play with balloons. They can get stuck in the windpipe.
– Keep window shade cords tied up and out of reach.
To prevent burns
– Set the water heater to 120 degrees or lower.
– Turn pot and pan handles toward the stove so little ones can’t grab them.
– Install a locking latch on the oven.
– Keep all lighters far out of reach.
To prevent falls
– Make sure kids always wear their helmet when riding bicycles, scooters, or anything else that moves.
– Make sure the helmet fits snugly.
To prevent other injuries
– Make sure all dressers, bookcases and other tall, heavy furniture are secured to the wall to prevent them from toppling over.
– Pad sharp furniture corners.
– Keep all medication (over-the-counter medication included) locked and/or out of children’s reach.
Don’t panic. If your child gets injured during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s not life-threatening, take advantage of the telemedicine options available. Your pediatrician or an urgent care doc will help you determine next steps.