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Head Injury, Age 3 and Younger - Prevention

Prevent head injuries

Each new learning stage for your baby requires increased attention on your part to prevent an injury. It may surprise you how fast your baby can move from one stage to the next. Being aware of your baby's abilities and what skills he or she is likely to develop next will help you prevent injuries. A nursery equipment safety checklist will help you keep your baby's environment safe.

Always be gentle with your baby. Be sure to protect your baby from a brain injury. Shaking or slapping a baby in anger can cause an injury to the brain. If a baby has been shaken or slapped, it is your responsibility to notify your doctor.

Be aware of your baby's risk of falling. Watch your baby carefully.

  • Never leave your baby alone in high places, such as on a tabletop, in a crib with the sides down, or even on a bed or sofa.
  • Do not leave your baby alone in any infant seat or "sitting" toy, such as a swing or jumper. Use all the safety straps provided.

Take steps to prevent falls:

  • Use stair gates to block stairways. Use gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, and use the gates properly.
  • Do not use baby walkers. Walkers have caused many injuries and are not safe even if the baby is watched closely.
  • Keep your baby away from elevated porches, decks, and landings.
  • Watch your toddler when he or she is outside. Uneven grass, sloping lawns, and hills may increase your toddler's risk of falling.
  • Make your home safe from falls by removing hazards that might cause a fall.

Practice good safety habits early so your child will continue them when he or she is older:

  • Place children in an approved child car seat when traveling in a motor vehicle. Follow the manufacturer's directions for installing and securing the seat.
  • Have your children wear helmets whenever necessary, such as when they are passengers on a bike or riding a tricycle on their own.
  • Set a good example by always using your seat belt when traveling in a motor vehicle. Wear a helmet and other protective clothing whenever you are biking, skateboarding, skiing, motorcycling, skating, kayaking, horseback riding, or rock climbing.

For more information on health and safety for children, see the topics Health and Safety, Age Birth to 2 Years or Health and Safety, Ages 2 to 5 Years.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: February 03, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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