National Network for Child Care's Connections Newsletter
Mary McPhail Gray
Associate Dean, Assistant Director
College of Human Ecology, Extension Home Economics Programs
Kansas State University
In this country, more children die from preventable accidents than from any single disease. Each year, 8,000 children are killed, and 50,000 more are permanently disabled.
Yearly, one in four children under the age of 15 requires medical attention due to accidents, fires, burns, drownings, falls, poisoning, and choking.
As a child-care provider, you are responsible for the safety of the children in your care. You can teach children basic safety rules and precautions. And you must be prepared in case of an emergency.
When does an accident or illness become an emergency? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should seek medical help immediately.
Most of us will never have to deal with an emergency. If one
does occur, however, take prompt, appropriate action. You will
be more apt to respond correctly if you plan ahead.
Talk with parents ahead of time. How do they want you to handle an emergency that involves their child? Make sure you have the name of the child's doctor in your records with the phone numbers of the parents.
Learn basic first aid, CPR, and the Heimlich maneuver. The American Red Cross, the county health department, the local vocational-technical school, or the local hospital may offer these classes. Keep a basic first-aid kit well-stocked, out of reach of children, and accessible to staff.
Discuss emergency procedures with staff and make assignments. One person should be assigned the task of calling for assistance. Others should take responsibility for calming the other children and keeping them safe. In a home setting, your task will be more difficult. Teach older children how to call for emergency help. It could be beneficial to you and the children.
Keep emergency numbers near each phone. Keep the phone numbers of your doctor, the poison control center, the nearest emergency room, and the rescue squad near each phone. Find out if the 911 service is available in your area.
Know the best route to reach an emergency room by care. Not all emergencies require the use of an ambulance. In some situations, a car is faster and less expensive. If the child can move or be moved with relative ease and a car is available, use the car. Call an ambulance if a child is gravely ill; may have back, neck, or head injuries; is severely short of breath; or cannot be moved easily.
Emergencies require prompt, appropriate action. Don't panic. Plan and prepare now so you can provide the appropriate care quickly if an emergency occurs.