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Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 6: Oral Injury
Module Contents
6.1 Injury Prevention
Anticipatory Guidance (current page)
6.2 Child Abuse and Neglect
6.3 Injury Types and Consequences
Injury Types
Injury Consequences
6.4 Managing Oral Injuries
Avulsed Teeth
Key Points
Additional Resources

6.1 Injury Prevention, continued

Anticipatory Guidance

photo of mom supervising young boy on swingAlthough it is inevitable that some injuries will occur, education and early intervention efforts can prevent or reduce the incidence and seriousness of oral injuries during infancy and early childhood. Health professionals can help prevent or reduce the incidence and the seriousness of oral injuries among infants and young children by providing parents with the following anticipatory guidance:[2],[3]

  • Always keep one hand on infants on high places such as changing tables, beds, sofas, or chairs.

  • Lock doors or use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and use safety locks and guards on windows above the ground floor.

  • Closely supervise infants and children on the stairs or furniture.

  • Place infants and young children in an appropriate safety seat when traveling in a motor vehicle.

  • Make sure that playgrounds are safe and carefully maintained and that equipment is in good condition. All playground equipment should be surrounded by a soft surface (e.g., fine, loose sand; wood chips; wood mulch) or by rubber mats manufactured for this use.

  • Supervise children when they use playground equipment. Make sure that they play only on developmentally appropriate equipment.

  • Make sure that infants and children play with balls that are soft (i.e., not made from leather or hard materials).

  • Avoid the use of infant walkers.

  • Make sure that children use bicycle helmets when riding tricycles or bicycles.

  • Wait until children have developed basic motor skills (e.g., the ability to throw, catch, kick, and hit a ball) before allowing them to participate in organized sports, which require visual acuity, control, and balance. Once children are participating in organized sports, make sure that they use appropriate safety equipment (e.g., helmet, mouthguard).

  • Do not place an infant or child in a shopping cart. Instead, consider using a stroller or a frontpack or backpack while shopping with an infant or child.

  • Provide the infant’s or child’s caregivers with a dentist’s emergency phone contacts and ensure that caregivers are familiar with how to handle oral health emergencies.
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logo: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau