Safety stuff all kids should know

  • Article by: JEFFREY HARGARTEN
  • Updated: May 22, 2013 - 10:50 AM
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DAVID BREWSTER � dbrewster@startribune.com Monday 05/24/10 Cottage Grove A class of kids called "ready to be home alone" - on how to have kids stay home alone during summer. IN THIS PHOTO: ] Instructor Sandra Pinski shows Zack Strafelkda and Kyle Tamondong how to splint a broken arm (in case you fall off your bike, or something like that) with a magazine and an ace bandage.

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Injury is the leading cause of death for children statewide, and for every one injury leading to death, there are three severe traumas, 10 hospitalizations and 100 emergency room visits. Across all age groups, falls, motorized crashes and poisoning were the leading causes of death in Minnesota between 2000 and 2009, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

That's why health and safety experts stress the importance of teaching children the skills to avoid and respond to emergency situations.

“The person you’re likely to see injured in front of you is someone you care about,” said Phil Hansen, CEO of the Northern Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross.

Parents, schools and safety organizations should strive to instill in children mindset that’s cautious and aware during emergencies, he said.

“Parents should talk to their kids about safety and preparedness with the same seriousness as their talks about sex or drugs,” said Jason Viana, preparedness and international services manager at the Northern Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross. Parents should promote a “culture of preparedness” at home to equip children with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to accidents, emergencies and disasters.

From elementary school and onward, experts said children should be taught increasingly sophisticated skillsets as they get older.

The basics

In any emergency situation, Hansen says, children should stay calm and not panic, since a cool head leads to safer choices. Kids should also know their name, their parents’ names, their home phone number, home address and parents’ work phone numbers.

Hansen said he found it “amazing” when children didn’t know their own addresses, phone numbers, or in some cases even their parents’ names.

Viana said it was important for parents to teach their children to memorize this basic information, along with holding regular home emergency drills similar to ones carried out in schools. This way children know how to response to emergencies, who to call and where to congregate during a disaster.

First aid

Children should know basic first aid, to help themselves and others. Aside from knowing basic CPR, children should follow some important guidelines for helping someone in need.

Erin Petersen, coordinator for family safety programs at the Minnesota Safety Council, laid out some important tips to teach to teach children if someone is badly injured:

• Shout for help. If no one comes, find a nearby adult.

• If the situation warrants it, call 911. Stay on the line until someone answers and give any requested information.

• Follow any instructions given by the 911 operator.

• Don’t get hurt helping someone else. Ensure the area is safe. If the injured person is in a dangerous spot, don’t get too close.

• Except for leaving to get help, stay with the injured person.

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