North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Parenting Pipeline


A newsletter for parents of kindergarten children from the North Dakota State University Extension Service

Keeping Your Child Safe

Kindergarten is a time when your child wants to be more independent and often may attempt new experiences. However, a child this age lacks the judgment of an older child and requires more supervision.

There is growing concern about the self-care trend with children. It is never appropriate to leave kindergarten children unattended. State law would call this child neglect. As a parent, it is your responsibility to provide a safe environment.

There are several ways you can assist your children in keeping themselves safe.

Talk To Your Child About Strangers

The advice you give your children about strangers will depend on their ages and personalities as well as on circumstances in the community. Here are some safety suggestions that will be appropriate for many children.

Watch your child's reactions to others. It's not only strangers who pose safety concerns. If your child isn't comfortable with an adult, don't push the relationship.

Remember, do not scare your child when training him about safety. It is important that you remain calm and check on the child's understanding of these procedures periodically.

Child Safety Alerts

Child safety requires parents to constantly keep up-to-date on product safety information. Here are four areas of concern to parents with young children.

Garage Doors

Children have died after being trapped under garage doors with automatic openers. Keep remote control devices secured in the glove compartment. Wall-mounted controls should be located so they can't be reached by children. Don't allow children to play with openers. Replace any opener that does not have an automatic reverse function. Most openers manufactured before 1982 don't meet this safety standard. Test the reverse feature at least annually to be sure it is functioning. Place a block of wood or small cardboard box under the door. When the door hits the object, it must reverse back open to be safe.

Pools and Hot Tubs

Many of the children who drown in backyard pools could be saved if homeowners completely fenced in the pool and installed self-closing and latching devices on gates. Fences should be at least 4 feet high, and 5 feet or more is better. Don't place chairs or tables near the fence that might allow a child to climb over.

Always lock down the spa or hot tub cover when it's not in use, and completely remove the cover before using it. Children should never jump or dive in.

Never leave children out of eye-contact supervision in or near the pool or spa -- not even for a second.

Lawnmowers and Tractors

About 15 lives a year in the U.S. could be saved if adults didn't allow children to ride on mowers and tractors and kept children from playing in the area when machines are being used. Deaths occur when children fall off the machine or get in its path and are run over. Keep children indoors when power equipment is being used. Although the number of deaths may not seem high, serious injuries are numerous and may handicap or disfigure children.

Children's Balloons

Of all children's products, balloons are the leading cause of suffocation. This is from both uninflated balloons and pieces of balloons. Children attempting to inflate a balloon may suck the balloon into their mouth and draw it into their throat. Another hazard results when children chew on a balloon and accidentally draw it into their throat.

Accidental Deaths and Injuries
	North Dakota  United States  Non-Fatal Injuries
	 Accidental    Accidental	 Requiring
	  Deaths	 Deaths	      Hospitalization
	  (1991)	 (1988)		  (1991)
Age 5	    1		  490		    24
Age 6	    2		  404		    17
Age 7	    1		  431		    19
Age 8	    1		  400		    15
Source: N.D. Department of Health and National Safety 

The North Dakota deaths were caused by fire, suffocation, being struck by an object and assault. The accidents requiring hospitalization were caused by near-drowning, ag machinery, animals, bicycles, animals ridden, cuts, falls, motor vehicle crashes, being struck by an object and overexertion. The most common causes of injury were falls, bicycles and motor vehicle crashes.

This newsletter is published for North Dakota families with kindergarten children by the NDSU Extension Service and distributed through your county extension office. See your extension agent for more parenting information and other home economics programs.

NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Sharon D. Anderson, Director, Fargo, North Dakota. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, age, Vietnam era veterans status, or sexual orientation; and are an equal opportunity employer.
This publication will be made available in alternative format upon request to people with disabilities (701) 231-7881.

North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service