As more schools and businesses shut down across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans see their homes as safe zones. I know that while staying inside may protect us from the spread of COVID-19, social distancing has brought new risks for injuries. As a Memphis personal injury lawyer, I know this is a difficult time for children who can longer expend their energy through daily recess.
It is impossible for working parents to keep an eye on their children at all times.
An unimaginable number of responsibilities have rested on the shoulders of parents across the nation over the past few weeks. They are working from home, cooking and caring for the family, and taking on the role of teacher in some cases, all while trying to remain as calm as possible so as to be a pillar of strength for their sons and daughters. Given everything they have to juggle, it is impossible to keep a watchful eye on children at any given moment. Inevitably, kids are indulging in behaviors they wouldn’t ordinarily get away with: roughhousing with siblings, taking bike rides without helmets, playing on the trampoline without adequate precautions.
“We are anticipating that, as kids have more unstructured time at home in the coming weeks and months, and parents are focused on everything from watching their children to teleworking to constantly sanitizing, childhood injuries are likely to go up,” Torine Creppy, president of Safe Kids Worldwide, told the New York Times.
Pediatricians Expect the Number of At-Home Injuries to Rise
Currently, pediatricians report that most of the data related to these at-home injuries is anecdotal. It is likely that some injuries will go unreported, too; given the circumstances, parents may understandably put off emergency room trips and doctor’s appointments for as long as possible.
Not all of the injuries stem from parents being distracted. In some cases, parents have been more likely to indulge their children with dangerous toys because of guilt about the pandemic. One mother quoted in the Times article felt bad that her son would not be able to have a birthday celebration with friends, so she bought him an electric hoverboard. Less than an hour after receiving the present, he had broken his hand.
Safety Tips to Prevent At-Home Injuries During Social Distancing
Here are safety tips for preventing the most common at-home injuries in this era of social distancing, based on what I’ve observed as a Memphis personal injury lawyer.
- If you have a partner at home, try to stagger other responsibilities so that one parent can always supervise the children.
- If you have smaller children, make sure your home is properly childproofed. Ensure that heavy furniture cannot fall. And above all, keep prescription medication and firearms far from reach.
- If you have a pool or trampoline in your backyard, go over regular safety precautions. Make sure your child only uses the equipment while supervised.