Parenting in the Early Years


For Life and Limb Emergency Call 911


Safety Resources

Safe Kids Coalition

Injury Prevention

Health Facts for You

Accident Prevention Birth to 12 Months

Accidents are the major cause of childhood deaths and a frequent cause of significant disability. Many accidents can be prevented by simple precautions. The following are some tips to help secure your child's safety.

Emergency Assistance

Place emergency numbers by the telephone (doctor, poison control center and ambulance). Dial 911 to contact the police, fire department or ambulance in Dane County.

Fire Safety

If not present, install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Equip your home with fire extinguishers and a safety ladder, if needed. Plan a fire escape route, and drill the family periodically so they know what to do in case of a fire.

Avoid Scald Burns

Turn down the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120° F.

Avoid Falls

Assume that all babies can roll over. Don't leave them unattended in any kind of seat or on a table or counter, even if you are close by. They can fall off before you can catch them.

Once your infant is crawling, curiosity will drive him. Be sure doors and stairs are secured. Walkers pose an additional threat as they may tip over, causing injury. Walkers should not be used because they significantly increase the infant's mobility, thereby increasing their opportunity to find danger.


Forceful coughing is nature's way of clearing an airway blockage. Foods, particularly chunky foods such as raw vegetables, nuts, popcorn, hot dog slices and hard candy, are among the most common food items that produce choking. Remember, since everything goes into a child's mouth, small toys such as Legos®, marbles, buttons and pen caps present a very real danger. Older children's toys are common hazards. Be watchful that unsafe objects are not left within the infant's reach.

If your child is choking on food or an object but is able to breathe, cry or cough vigorously, do not interfere. If the choking spell lasts for more than one or two minutes, call 911 for help.

If Your Child is Choking

If your child is struggling to breathe, has no voice or is turning blue, call for emergency help immediately and then perform the following maneuver:

Infant Under 1 Year Old

  • Turn the infant face down and head down and give 4 forceful blows with the heel of your hand to the back between the shoulder blades
  • If the airway remains blocked, turn the infant face up and head down and give four thrusts with two or three fingers positioned on the breastbone just below the nipple line
  • Repeat the above steps until the object is dislodged or help arrives

Child Over 1 Year Old

  • If unconscious, place child on floor face up and straddle the child
  • Place the heel of the hand on the abdomen and give 5 rapid upward thrusts
  • If conscious, perform the standard Heimlich maneuver
  • Check for breathing
  • If the obstruction remains, repeat the thrusts until the object is dislodged or help arrives.

Lambskins, beanbag chairs and waterbeds have been implicated in some cases of infant suffocation.

Everyone is strongly encouraged to be trained in CPR.

Gun Safety

A gun in the house presents a risk to the health and life of your child. Fourteen American children under the age of 20 are killed by a gun each day and many more are injured. The risk of homicide is three times more likely and suicide is five times more likely in households that have guns.

If you have a gun in the house, keep it unloaded. Lock the gun and bullets in separate places. Even if you don't own a gun, talk about gun safety to your children. Be sure they know that guns are dangerous and they need to stay away from guns even when they play at a friend's house. Teenagers are also intrigued by guns and their power. Don't neglect to review gun safety with them. Teach your child that the violence on TV and at the movies is not real. Guns are real and a gunshot can severely injure or kill.

Help children learn ways to solve arguments and fights without violence. Be aware that teenage suicide is most commonly committed with a gun. If you have a depressed child at home, remove any firearms that are present and seek medical help for your child.

Water Safety

Drowning is always a threat, particularly to the infant and toddler. Never leave your child unattended in the bathtub, swimming pool, lake or near any body of water. Swimming lessons do not make a child "drown-proof."

Kohl's Safety Center

The Kohl's Safety Center located in the American Family Children's Hospital is an excellent resource with staff trained to assist you with questions and concerns you might have about child safety and preventing childhood injury.

Staff can help you determine what is needed to keep your child safe at home and in your vehicle.

The Kohl's Safety Center offers a variety of child safety products at low cost, including the following items:

  • Bike and ski helmets
  • Child safety seats, including booster seats
  • Safety gates
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Outlet plugs
  • Furniture straps
  • Drawer latches and cabinet locks
  • Gun locks
  • Secure Solutions Childproofing Kit