I'm a paediatrician – here's the 6 things other parents let their kids do that I would never dream of | The Sun

KIDS get into all sorts of scrapes.

But some activities carry more risks than others.

Accidental injury is the leading cause of death for children and teens, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCOCG), and unfortunately, many of these are preventable.

Paediatricians, who are also parents, share the things they would never let their children do because of the heightened risk of injury or death.

1. Ride in the front before they turn 13

Road traffic accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury among young people globally.

Children should always be sat in the back with seatbelts fastened, the expert said.

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“This means using the appropriate size and type of restraints — whether that’s a car seat, booster seat, seatbelt — for their age, height and weight,” Dr Brent Kaziny, medical director of emergency management at Texas Children’s Hospital, told TODAY.com.

Parents need to be vigilant about school-aged children too.

Even if a child seems large enough to ride in the passenger seat, stick to this hard and fast rule.

"My kids will not ride in the front seat before the age of 13,” Dr. Katie Lockwood, a primary care pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said.

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This is because most airbags are potentially dangerous to children,whose skeletons are still developing and aren’t the right size to be in the front, the experts explained.

Air bags can cause rib fractures, punctured lungs and injuries to the head, neck and spine.

2. Jump on most trampolines

Sadly, this beloved backyard accessory is a hazard, the experts warn.

Dr Ee Tay, a pediatric emergency medicine specialist at Hassenfeld Children's Hospital at New York University, explained that trampolines can cause broken bones.

She added that the more number of kids jumping, the higher the risk of injury. 

The doctor said there are many factors that contribute to the dangers of trampolines and factors like how many children, the weight, and height of the children make it unpredictable. 

However, there are safer ways for your children to play on trampolines.

Dr Brent suggested parents supervise their children while they play and minimize the number of children jumping at any one time.  

You should also make sure that the children jumping don't have drastic differences in height and weight, he added.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) saystrampolines are not suitable for children under six.

All children should be supervised when on the trampoline.

3. Ride a quad bike

The experts said they would never allow their kids to ride or drive a motor bike as they are "so dangerous".

Quad bikes do not require any training or a license, the experts point out, and children often don’t have the ability to properly judge speed or distance. 

And although the bikes do come in youth sizes, Dr Brent said he often sees parents buy bikes which are too big for their child – so they won't grow out of it for some time.

This means the child ends up using a bike which isn't size appropriate.

In the UK, children under 13-years-old are not allowed to drive or be a passenger on a quad bike while driven on private land.

Those aged 13 or over can ride quad bikes of an appropriate size and power.

But, only after they have received formal training for driving quad bike.

4. Swim alone

The medical experts suggest parents teach their children how to swim as early as possible to minimise the risk of drowning.

But even after your child knows how to swim, you should never allow your child to swim alone – they should always be supervised.

There have been several cases of children almost drowning after parents left them alone.

In 2019, a four-year-old nearly drowned at a leisure centre after his dad left him in the toddlers' pool so he could ride the log flume.

The experts urge parents to actually teach their children not to swim alone.

Dr Katie also stresses parents should ensure there is always one designated and sober water watcher.

5. Ride anything without a helmet

“I don’t let my kids ride anything with wheels without wearing a helmet,” Dr Katie said.

This includes bikes, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades and hoverboards.

Children have disproportionately large head compared to their body, so they’re much more likely than adults to fall and hit their head, she explained.

Falling on their head can cause umps and lacerations to concussions and severe brain bleeds that cause permanent damage.

Dr Brent always wears a helmet himself, to be a good role model for his own children.

5. Pet unfamiliar animals

Parents can prevent a lot of scary hospital visits by teaching kids how to behave appropriately around animals, especially ones they do not know.

Children may feel more confident approaching animals if they have pets at home, but Dr Brent recommends teaching kids about boundaries with animals.

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For example, a child can’t kiss or hug any dog because they do this to their own dog.

Dr Ee said one of the most common types of injuries they see in A&E is when a child gets right up in the animal's face then the child gets bitten on their face.

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