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Angela Oswalt Morelli , MSW, edited by Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Bike Helmetimage by Dana Beveridge (lic)Parents concerned about their children's welfare will arrange for them to have access to preventative health care, including immunizations and regular visits to the doctor and dentist. However, merely taking steps to prevent children from developing diseases is not enough to help ensure their overall safety. It is also important that parents help their children learn to recognize and avoid dangerous situations, and to lessen the likelihood that children not yet old enough to independently recognize and avoid dangerous situations will encounter dangerous situations in the first place. In order to accomplish these safety goals, parents must educate their children about various dangers they may encounter, and, as well, take steps to physically limit children's access to dangerous aspects of the environment they are too young to appreciate.

We have previously provided a great deal of information about how to make a home safe for babies in our article on Babyproofing a Home. Some of that babyproofing information is still relevant with regard to keeping Middle Childhood aged children safe, even though these children are much older and wiser than babies. In particular, the sections in our babyproofing article covering fire safety, pet safety, outdoor safety, car safety, and First Aid include important information relevant to caring for children of all ages, infants as well as school-aged children. We hope you will take time to review that information if you have not done so recently.

Even though children in the Middle Childhood stage are older, more physically capable, and more mentally mature than very young children, older kids still lack adult judgment capabilities and require many safety precautions in place around them so as to protect them. In fact, due to school-aged children's ever expanding array of abilities and interests and their increased mobility, they are in some important sense more at risk than are babies.

In the following sections, we review some of the common dangers parents and caregivers should attend to.