Unintentional child injuries in Hartford County are sadly a significant cause of death. These injuries are caused by a range of things — often preventable — such as traffic accidents, fires, and home safety risks.
Regardless of how wealthy a state or county is overall, pediatric injuries occur most frequently among those in low-income groups. Poverty not only affects home and auto safety, but it also endangers children through reduced healthcare access.
The good news is that you can prevent some child injuries. Here’s how you can improve safety for the children in your family and what you should do if a loved one has had a serious injury in Hartford County.
National Child Injury Statistics
According to reports from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 7,000 children, from infants to 19-year-olds, died of unintentional injuries in the United States in 2019. The leading general causes of these fatalities were:
- Motor vehicle crashes
Male children, babies, and teens had the highest death rates, as did Indigenous and Black youths. Additionally, children living in rural areas had higher rates of fatalities than children in suburban and urban areas.
The American statistics echo numbers collected globally. In under-15-year-olds, vehicle crashes, drowning, and fire-related deaths topped the list of fatal injury causes.
What Are the Common Causes of These Injuries?
Above, multiple causes of child injuries are mentioned, such as traffic accidents, drowning, fires, and poisoning. More specifically, there are other issues associated with child injuries and fatalities, such as:
- Poor supervision around roads, heights, and water
- Bicycling or walking that exposes children to traffic
- Kitchen behavior resulting in burns or scalding
- Visiting less safe environments outside the home
- Infant and toddler risks from bedding and strollers
- Availability of poisonous substances and choking hazards
There are many other types of injuries that cause serious medical problems and death for children as well. These include:
- Playground and school accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Negligence in a school or daycare
- Dog bites and mauling
- Defective products and toys
- Childbirth complications
Tips for Parents on Injury Prevention and Keeping Your Children Safe
As you’ve read above, many child injuries and fatalities are actually preventable. Follow these tips to keep your child safe and reduce the risk of a serious accident.
Stay focused on what you’re doing
Many child injuries occur when a parent, grandparent, or caregiver is distracted. Therefore, you want to make sure your attention is present when doing things with children where accidents can happen, like:
- Cooking in the kitchen or barbecuing outdoors
- Swimming or playing around water, even if it’s shallow
- Giving a bath or shower
- Driving in the car or walking near traffic
These days, it’s easy to be distracted by a phone call, text, or television program. Put devices away, and turn down the volume to give your focus to the activity at hand. Always count your kids when exiting your vehicle (and instruct babysitters to do so) to make certain one isn’t left sleeping in the car or truck, which can rapidly overheat even in mild weather.
Practice auto safety at all ages
When your child rides in a car seat or booster, check to ensure it’s fastened tightly in case of an accident. These seats should not move more than one inch at the base if you tug on the seat belt.
Always bring car seats and boosters with you when traveling or when kids are riding in someone else’s vehicle. Don’t let young children ride in the front passenger seat until they reach the proper size recommended by your pediatrician.
Older children should still be restrained with a seatbelt any time they’re riding in the car. When your teen starts to drive, they should be appropriately supervised and have restrictions until they have more practice under their belt. If buying a car for your teen, forgo sports cars and performance vehicles for more practical cars with superior crash test results.
Eliminate fire risks and check smoke alarms
Be sure you’ve checked your home for fire risks like old wiring, loose plugs, and dirty chimneys. This protects everyone in the household, not just kids.
Check your smoke alarms monthly, and replace old batteries as needed. Even better are hard-wired alarms that don’t need batteries at all. You may also wish to add a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm to alert you to the presence of this odorless but fatal compound that can result from leaving the stove on or running a malfunctioning furnace.
Check for choking and suffocation hazards
Follow your pediatrician’s advice regarding bedding — including strollers and portable cribs — for infants and toddlers to eliminate the possibility of suffocation.
Clothing should likewise be free of any loose items that could cause choking or strings that could result in strangulation. All small items around the house, including coins, batteries, and older children’s toys, must be placed out of reach of small children who might put these things in their mouths.
Remove poisoning dangers
Did you know that a major cause of accidental poisoning is children’s pain and fever medication? In addition to reading dosing instructions carefully, you want to make sure these and other medications are out of reach of children. Also, secure cleaning products, automotive fluids, makeup, and other potentially poisonous substances away from little ones.
Prevent crushing and trapping by heavy objects
You can stop your child from getting caught under a heavy and/or breakable object by either placing it lower to the ground or securing it to the wall with the appropriate straps. This includes items like televisions, entertainment systems, bookshelves, lamps, and freestanding cabinets.
Make sports participation safer
Avoiding high-contact sports is one way to make athletics safer for kids. If your child does want to play a sport like football, hockey, or martial arts, make sure they have the right head and face protection from a helmet, mouth guard, or eyewear.
Also, ask if your child’s coach has had training in recognizing concussions and traumatic brain injury. What steps do they take to minimize injuries? What is the protocol if a child is injured during play?
What to Do if Your Child Is Injured
If your child is injured, follow the steps below to protect them and make sure your rights are upheld.
Call for an ambulance and/or police
If your child has a serious injury, don’t hesitate to call for an ambulance by dialing 911. Sometimes the local emergency responders will send a fire engine if the ambulance is tied up on another call. Firefighters have been trained to handle medical emergencies and can provide treatment until the ambulance arrives. They can also assist in situations where rescue is needed, such as after a car accident, fall, or water incident.
You may also wish to have the police present, even if they are not sent automatically by 911 operators. This is especially important with car crashes (including bike and pedestrian accidents) or if your child was seriously hurt while in someone else’s care.
If you’re not sure if a situation warrants calling 911 as an emergency, dial the non-emergency number for your area to get the help you need.
Get the necessary medical treatment
Before dealing with who was at fault in a car accident or whether or not a caregiver was negligent, it’s essential to get your child any medical treatment they require. Typically this occurs in the emergency room or urgent care, but it might also entail a visit to the pediatrician’s office.
Certain injuries obviously necessitate medical care, like broken bones or large cuts that must be sutured. Some injuries are less obvious, so always err on the side of caution. Your child could have a head injury or internal bleeding from bodily trauma. Some signs of hidden injuries to watch for that should send you to the ER are:
- Extreme pain, including headaches
- Dizziness or fainting
- Lethargy or excessive sleepiness
- Changes in personality
- Changes to vision, speech, or hearing
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Bruising and/or swelling
- Numbness or tingling in body parts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Refusal to eat
- Blood in urine or feces
- Trouble walking or performing normal tasks
Document everything in detail
Write down everything that happened during the incident in question. You may want to take photos or videos with your cell phone if relevant.
You may also wish to collect contact information for anyone who witnessed your child being injured. This is especially important if you were not present at the time of the accident.
If you take your child to see a medical professional, ask them to document the case in detail, including with photographs if necessary. Find out how you can get a copy of your child’s medical records if you need them, including charts, medical imaging, test and diagnostic results, and prescriptions, as well as instructions for continued care or referrals to specialists.
Hire a Connecticut child injury lawyer in cases of negligence
If your child was hurt because of another party’s negligence (see more below), you should hire a child injury lawyer in Connecticut. An attorney who specializes in child injury cases can help with many things, including:
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Collecting information from investigations and police/ambulance reports
- Representing you in court if you file charges
- Hiring expert witnesses for a trial
An experienced attorney can help you and your child get what you’re entitled to, such as reimbursement for medical care, coverage of long-term care or disability, and damages for pain and suffering. In some instances, your child’s entire future and adult life could be changed by an injury, affecting their ability to attend college or have a fulfilling career. And there can be emotional or psychological consequences as well. Therefore, child court cases often involve larger sums of money than cases involving adults.
Negligence and Duty of Care in Connecticut
Negligence is defined as failing to take a level of care that most others would have under normal circumstances in a given situation. It is often a factor in accidents contributing to child injuries, like:
- Personal motor vehicle crashes
- Accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists
- Dog attacks and bites
- Swimming pool and water accidents
- Cases where child supervision was lacking
- Sports and summer camp accidents
- School bus crashes
- Playground equipment and trampoline accidents
- Fatalities involving children
In negligence cases involving adults, often the injured party may be seen as having contributed to the incident. For example, an adult who is injured while running into the street to chase a loose ball perhaps should have known better and taken care not to be hit by traffic.
However, with child injuries, victims are held to a lower duty of care than adults. It is expected that adults should look out for children and assume they will be less careful, such as when crossing the street, playing, or riding a bike. So, an adult who doesn’t take extra precautions around children in scenarios like these may be considered negligent in the eyes of the law.
And of course, someone who is charged with supervising children in a more hazardous environment and fails to safeguard their well-being can also be considered negligent. This could be a babysitter who leaves the poolside while kids are playing in the water or a camp counselor who fails to get a medical assessment for a child after hitting their head.
Experienced Connecticut Child Injury Lawyers
A child injury can affect not only a child’s entire life moving forward but also has the potential to change a family permanently. You can go from living a normal life one day to having it all change in a second.
A serious injury can require constant medical care, multiple surgeries, or even changes to the family home to accommodate a disability. An injured child may require 24/7 care for the rest of their life to do everyday things like eat and dress. This can present a real hardship for the family — financially, physically, and emotionally.
That’s why many people in the Hartford area turn to Hassett & George, P.C., when their child is injured. As seasoned Connecticut child injury attorneys, we have the expertise and resources to pursue a legal case for you while your family works to recover from the trauma of the accident. While we can never replace what you and your child have lost through a serious injury, we can assist you in getting financial compensation to which you are entitled, so you can provide the best care possible in the future.
If your child has suffered an injury, we welcome the opportunity to consult with you on the case. Call our offices at 860-865-0160, or reach out online and let us know how Hassett & George can help. Some of the locations we serve include Simsbury, Glastonbury, Hartford, and more.
For further resources on child injuries, we encourage you to explore the links below.
- Connecticut Children’s — Their Injury Prevention Center offers programs in pediatric injury prevention, including motor vehicle accidents and suicide.
- Safe Kids Connecticut — Part of Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center (above), this program is focused on reducing unintentional injury.
- Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Hartford — Also associated with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the coalition provides information and activities related to pedestrian and bike safety, booster and car seats, home safety, fire safety, fall prevention, and other common child injuries.