Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's
When my son was in preschool, I began to receive birthday party invitations. Shortly after, the playdate invitations started coming home. As a first-time parent, I was hesitant in accepting. I had so many fears and did not feel comfortable in leaving him in the care of another person. After talking through this fear with with my husband, we both agreed to place the importance on allowing him to develop friendships.
Before we said yes, we always made sure to get know the other child’s parent(s). The first few times we met at a public place including a park, splash pad or at the zoo. Soon after, both sets of parents had visited each other’s homes and by then both families had built a relationship and we all felt comfortable in asking questions.
If your child (of any age) wants to go to a friend’s house, get to know the parents first. Take your time and don’t feel like you need to rush things. In learning about the other child’s family, I learned a lot about house rules, personalities, medication needs, food allergies etc. I also learned if anyone smoked or vaped in the home. Most importantly, I got to see the environment that my child would be in. As an injury prevention specialist, I encourage every parent to not feel intimidated in asking questions.
Here are some important questions to ask before you drop off your child at a friend’s/classmate’s home:
- Who will be supervising? Never assume. Always make sure that there is reliable supervision.
- Is there a swimming pool? Is the swimming pool gated? A pool fence can reduce drowning risk when used properly. Constant adult supervision is critical to protect children from drowning.
- Are there any firearms in the home? How are they stored? Talking to your child about gun safety is never enough. All firearms need to be stored, unloaded and should be locked (examples include child-resistant gun locks, a gun safe, etc.). Ammunition should also be locked up separately. If you are uncomfortable with the parent(s) answer, offer to host a playdate at your home instead.
- Are there any pets? Leaving children unattended with pets is not safe. Friends and family may assure you that their dogs will not bite. No matter how friendly you think a dog is, an adult must always be present to help guide a child’s interactions.
- Does anyone take medications? If family members take medication make sure that medication is always stored in a medication safety lockbox or secure area. Never underestimate a child’s ability to climb.
According to Injury Free Coalition for Kids, injuries are the leading cause of death and disability to U.S. children from 1 to 18 years old. Every day, 20 children die from preventable injuries, resulting in more deaths than all other diseases combined.
On Thursday, November 18, 2021, Phoenix Children’s and Injury Free Coalition for Kids™ will celebrate “National Child Injury Prevention Day.” Phoenix Children’s Main Campus Hospital, the Gilbert water tower, along with other hospitals and healthcare systems across the country, will be shining a green light to bring awareness to help decrease preventable injuries in the United States.
To learn more about the importance of Child Injury Prevention Day, join us for a live one hour Twitter chat on November 18th at 1:00 pm EST. Follow us on Twitter at @PhxChildrens and use the hashtag #BeInjuryFree. Topics to be discussed include child passenger safety, water safety, poisoning prevention, firearm safety and safe sleep recommendations.
If you would like to learn more about how to create a safe home environment, contact Ilce Alexander by calling 602-933-3393.