Age-specific research helps kids stay safe


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EAGLE MOUNTAIN -- For the first time, new research has identified the top injury risks for children based on their age. We took those specific safety tips to a mom in Eagle Mountain to see how it would change what she does to help her family Stay Safe.

Four kids -- not to mention the trampoline -- give any mom a lot to worry about to prevent injuries.

Hillary Hall said, "Sometimes I feel like I could worry about everything, but what I have control over, try to worry about that."

What she should worry about most for her baby, according to analysis by Safe Kids USA, is protecting her developing spine; the baby needs a rear-facing car seat; her slower digestion makes her more vulnerable for over-medication; and thinner skin makes her burn more quickly. So mom is right not to hold her while she's cooking.

Geri Essen, Safe Kids coordinator for Summit County, said, "The beauty of this report is it's a way for parents to understand on a new level."

"As you look at those different stages, you can see that there are a lot of different cognitive and physical, your muscle development occurs during these ages," she said.

4-year-old

For 4-year-old Pearley, her muscles and bones are still developing. She needs a soft surface for falls.

At this age, kids are curious and like to wander off, so advocates recommend stair gates and locking up medicines and household cleaners.

8-year-old

Julian, age 8, has trouble recognizing obstacles and lacks coordination, so helmets are a must any time he's on wheels.

Kids his age also are at higher risk of burns when they try to use the microwave, but aren't tall enough.

And though kids this age are eager to hand off the booster seat to a younger sibling, make sure the seat belt fits correctly.

Pre-teen

Hillary said, "I really do worry about bikes and cars."

As a pre-teen, Payton has less defined visual perception than older teens, making busy intersections dangerous and helmets non-negotiable.

Children this age are most likely to be unrestrained in a car; teach them to wear seat belts.

And kids this age may also want to experiment without adult supervision. Talk to them about the dangers of poisonous substances and medicines.

"It's good to know," Hillary said. "If you really want to be safe, this is what you should be doing."

The safety research was timed to coincide with a big Safety Expo this weekend in Summit County. They've postponed it out of safety concerns for swine flu.

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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