How to protect your child from accidents

How to protect your child from accidents

If you have children, there's never a dull moment. Because they come up with the craziest ideas, and there are dangers lurking on literally every corner. At the same time it is important for children to have their own experiences, let off steam and get to know their limits.
This means a constant balancing act for all mothers and fathers, godparents and grand­parents: How can I minimize risks without restricting my children too much? We have put together some accident prevention tips for different age groups:

Preventing dangers: Toddlers (0 to 3 years)

Toddlers are little explorers, at the latest when they start crawling. But since they're not yet able to assess most dangers, parents should make their environment as low-­risk as possible – and still interesting.

Jumping into the void
Two-year-old Julia plays fire depart­ment with her older siblings: she has to save herself from a burning house, which is really a loft bed. Her brother and sister hold a blanket out as a life net. But when Julia jumps in, her big brother gets scared and lets go – and Julia crashes head first onto the hardwood floor pretty much at full speed. She gets lucky: apart from a voluminous bump, her adventure has no further consequences.

  • Act like a two-year-old
    Take a look at your house or apartment with the eyes of a two-­year-old: Can I climb up the shelves to reach the beautiful blue vase at the top? Can I get to the kitchen window if I use my highchair? How many books can I pull down from the shelves before mom finds me? And what happens if I drill my fork into the power outlet? Will it turn the lights on?
  • Make your house or apartment safe
    You can avoid certain dangers: Use lockable handles to secure windows your children could fall out of and use baby gates to prevent them from falling down the stairs. Other dangers can at least be mitigated: cushion the floor in front of loft beds with an old mattress or tie a pillow or stuffed animal to sharp edges. In addition, corner protectors are available for purchase, as well as protective covers for power outlets. 
  • Offer opportunities to play around
    Children who play around in the garden, on the playground or on the fitness trail “Vita Parcours” feel less inclined to dismantle the apartment. Through exercise your child can get to know their limits and develop their motor skills. This will make them less prone to accidents in everyday life. And exercise is also important for their mental and emotional development.

Identify the dangers: Preschoolers (4 to 6 years)

At preschool and kindergarten age, your child wants to discover the world, preferably with you. Their world is expanding, and they may already take on short distances by themselves, such as to preschool and back. Instead of Bobby Cars and tricycles, they've now moved on to scooters and bikes.

Horror at the swimming pool 
Four-year-old Aaron can't get enough of the waterslide at the swimming pool. Because he's wearing water wings, he doesn't realise that the water is deep. After an ice cream break, he sneaks off to go back on the slide – without his water wings. This time he sinks like a stone and stays under water in shock. His mother immediately jumps into the pool. Aaron escapes with nothing but a good scare. 

  • Prepare your child for traffic
    At preschool age, your child cannot yet realistically assess the dangers of road traffic. Practice traffic situations together and set firm rules, such as: "No helmet – no biking" Still, you have to be prepared that your child will forget everything when they're playing. With bright clothes and a reflective vest, you can at least make them visible. 
  • Take special care when parking
    Unfortunately, fatal accidents happen time and again when children at play are run over by cars backing out of parking spaces, often driven by their own parents. So always take special care when reversing. Because children usually take it for granted that they will be seen. So when parking, it is best to have all the children at play sit on the garden bench for a moment. 
  • Recognize dangerous moments
    Whether on the ski slope, playing in the garden or hiking, the risk of accidents is significantly higher when your child is excited, exhausted or tired. Not all children recognize on their own when enough is enough – most of the time, you have to set limits. Stay alert so you can keep track of when the mood shifts. This will help prevent accidents due to exhaustion.

Mitigating dangers: elementary school students (7-12)

As an elementary school student, your child feels pretty big and independent. They are more confident and better at assessing dangers. Because their freedom of movement is greater, they face with completely new dangers at this age. At the end of elementary school, puberty can begin – and your offspring may become more prepared to take risks under the influence of hormones.

Your guardian angel is there for you
This was a narrow escape from disaster: as eleven-­year-­old Valentin races off the driveway with his bike, the car on the road manages to come to a full stop thanks to its emergency brake. Valentin falls off the bike and only gets a few scratches on his stomach. If the car had been driving at the 50 kilometer-­per-­hour speed limit, there's no telling what would have happened.

  • Offer them action
    Many elementary school children have almost inex­haustible levels of energy, which they especially like to use for sports. If your child has a good body awareness, hopefully they can respond better if they fall or find them­selves in danger. Together with your child, think about the type of sports they are interested in and take the opportunity to play them together. It's fun and a positive experience for the whole family.
  • Recognize group dynamics
    Have you noticed it with your child, too? Many elementary school students are quite sensible on their own – but in groups, they suddenly start racing bikes, impressing their friends with wild jumps into the pool or play-fighting on the trampoline. Be aware of this, stay close and, if necessary, have the courage to say "no."
  • Protect your adrenaline junkie
    The statistics show that boys are more likely to be at risk in sports and traffic accidents because they tend to be more prepared to take risks. But some girls looks for adrenaline kicks too. Is your child part of this group as well? Create opportunities for them to test their limits under controlled conditions, for example in a climbing gym or rope park. 

Disability: also a financial disadvantage for children

Hardly anyone is aware of how disadvantaged children are who become disabled at an early age due to an accident or serious illness. They can only expect disability insurance (IV) benefits and some additional financial support. But because they never have the chance to enter the workforce as adults, they do not receive the much more compre­hensive disability benefits from the pension fund. 

To make up for this gap, Zurich has developed its Junior children's insurance. Depending on the coverage you choose, it will pay up to 1.9 million Swiss francs over the course of your child's life and, if the case 

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