Young Children: Child Development (cont.)
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How can parents ensure the safety of their young children 6-8 years of age?
For the 6- to 8-year-old child, parents have a primary obligation of providing an emotional safety net for an often turbulent period. Reinforcing that the love and respect they have for the child is not dependent upon academic, athletic, or social success is important. Coupled with this unconditional love must be the expressed parental belief of what is expected and what consequences may occur.
Parents have an obligation to provide athletic equipment that is both age appropriate and sized correctly. The concept of "he'll grow into it" can be a recipe for accidents. Bicycles, bike/ski helmets, skis/snowboards, baseball bats/gloves should properly fit the child at the time the equipment is purchased. Many sporting good stores have end-of-season exchanges facilitating "trading up" in size or skill level of equipment.
While many children feel they are adept swimmers, drowning remains an unfortunate event in this age range. Whether associated with accidental trauma (head vs. shallow pool bottom) or panic in ocean waves or undertow/riptides, constant adult supervision is mandatory.
Automobile seat belt and booster seat laws vary by state and should be strictly reinforced. Parental seat belt use and avoidance of distractions (cell phones, food, etc.) all underscore that absolute vigilance is necessary when operating a moving vehicle. Pedestrian safety rules ("walk" and "don't walk" signs) should be reinforced to children.
Passive smoke, firearms in the home, and easy access to matches are other areas in which parents can intervene to further guarantee their children's safety.
In the end, although there are never any guarantees, all parents are shepherds who must try to guide their children safely to the next stage in life.
Last Editorial Review: 11/17/2009 3:25:05 PM
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