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
- 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.
supervise infants and children on the stairs or
- 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
- Supervise children when they use playground equipment.
Make sure that they play only on developmentally
- 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.