Safety




8 Years: Safety for Your Child

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Did you know that injuries are the greatest threat to the life and health of your child? Injuries are the leading cause of death of school-aged children. Yet you can prevent most injuries!

At age 8, children are now taking off on their own. They look to friends for approval. They try to do daring things. They may not want to obey grown-up rules. But your child can learn safety rules with your help and reminders. Your child now goes out more without you and could drown, be hurt on a bike, or be hit by a car. And your child still can be hurt or killed while riding in a car if he is not buckled by a seat belt in a belt-positioning booster seat.

Sports Safety

Ask your doctor which sports are right for your child. Be sure your child wears all the protective equipment made for the sport, such as shin pads, mouth guards, wrist guards, eye protection, or helmets. Your child's coach also should be able to help you select protective equipment.

Water Safety

No one is safe alone in water, even if he or she knows how to swim. Do not let your child play around any water (lake, stream, pool, or ocean) unless an adult is watching. The adult must be supervising closely and continuously without distractions like reading or using a phone.

Never let your child swim in canals or any fast-moving water.

Teach your child to always enter the water feet first. Any child who is not a strong swimmer should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket when in or near water, and all children and adults should wear life jackets when boating or using personal watercraft.

And Remember Bike Safety

Make sure your child always wears a helmet while riding a bike. Now is the time to teach your child the "rules of the road." Be sure he or she knows the rules and can use them. Watch your child ride. See if he or she is in control of the bike. See if your child uses good judgment. Your 8-year-old is not old enough to ride at dusk or after dark. Make sure your child brings the bike in when the sun starts to set.

Car Safety

NEVER start the car until you've checked to be sure that your child is properly restrained in a booster seat. Your child should use a booster seat until the lap belt can be worn low and flat on the hips and the shoulder belt across the middle of the chest and shoulder rather than the face or neck (usually at about 4 feet 9 inches tall and between 8 and 12 years of age). Be sure that you and all others in the car are buckled up too. Seriously injuries can occur with lap belts alone. The safest place for all children to ride is in the back seat.

Firearm Hazards

It is best to keep all guns out of your home. If you keep a gun, store it unloaded and in a locked place, with the ammunition locked separately. Ask if the homes where your child visits or is cared for have guns and how they are stored. Your child is at greater risk of being shot by himself, his friends, or a family member than of being injured by an intruder.

Would you be able to help your child in case of an injury? Put emergency numbers by or on your phone today. Learn first aid and CPR. Be prepared...for your child's sake!

Patient education handouts from TIPP—The Injury Prevention Program help pediatricians implement injury prevention counseling for parents of children newborn through 12 years of age.

The information in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

© 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 08/2021. All rights reserved.

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