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Bicycle Safety Previous Page


A bicycle is considered a vehicle. Learn the rules of the road and obey all traffic laws:

  • Ride on the right side of the road with traffic.
  • Use the appropriate hand signals to indicate a turn.
  • Respect all traffic signals.
  • Stop at all stop signs.
  • Always look LEFT-RIGHT-LEFT before entering a street.
  • Always wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet! A properly fitted bicycle helmet reduces the risk of serious head and brain injury by almost 90%
  • A bicycle helmet should fit comfortably and snugly.
  • The helmet should sit level on the head about two finger widths above the eyebrows.
  • The side adjuster buckles should form a "V" directly under the ear lobe.
  • Buckle the chin strap so that only two fingers can fit between the chin and the strap.
  • Helmets should be labeled as meeting the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standard for bicycle helmets.
  • Always replace a helmet after a crash; it has done its job!


Virginia does not have a state bicycle helmet law. However, Virginia Code §46.2-906.1 enables localities to pass local ordinances requiring the use of bicycle helmets by children fourteen and younger. To view Virginia localities with bicycle helmet ordinances and learn about other Virginia bicycle laws visit the Virginia Department of Transportation.


Free Educational Materials from the Virginia Department of Health

Bicycle Safety: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

Bicycling in Virginia: Virginia Department of Transportation

Bike Virginia


Drowning Prevention Previous Page


  • Never leave a child unsupervised in a bathtub, even for a second. Most siblings are not old enough to properly supervise a young child in this situation.
  • Never leave a child alone near a pool/spa, bathtub, toilet, water-filled bucket, pond, or any standing body of water.
  • An unclimbable, five-foot fence should separate the pool/spa from the residence. Fence openings should be no more than four inches wide so children cannot squeeze through the spaces.
  • The fence gate should be self-closing and self-latching with latches above a child's reach.
  • Never rely on flotation devices or swimming lessons to protect a child. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.
  • Don't allow children to play in the pool/spa area. Never keep toys around or in a pool.
    • Avoid swimming after dark.
  • Risk for drowning increases in muddy water of lakes, ponds, and rivers.
    • Avoid weak or thawing ice on any body of water.
  • Diving into shallow water can cause spinal injuries. Never allow diving in above-ground pools, shallow water, or unknown areas.
  • Require all persons to wear Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices when involved in water-related recreational activities, regardless of swimming ability.
  • Avoid using alcohol or other drugs prior to and during recreational water activities.


Water Safety: Safe Kids USA

Pool Safely: US Consumer Product Safety Commission


Falls Prevention Previous Page


On the playground:

  • Supervise young children at all times. Prevent behaviors like pushing, shoving, and crowding around equipment.
  • Make sure that children play on playground equipment that is appropriate for their age. For example, don't let young children play on high climbing equipment such as monkey bars. Keep all children off equipment from which they might fall six or more feet.
  • Check the surface under playground equipment. Avoid playgrounds with asphalt, concrete, grass, and soil surfaces under the equipment. Look for surfaces of hardwood fiber, mulch chips, pea gravel, fine sand, or shredded rubber - materials that can cushion a fall - with a depth of at least 9 inches.

In the home:

  • Supervise young children at all times.
  • Never leave babies alone on any furniture. Instead, put babies on the floor or in a crib with secured guardrails.
  • As babies get older and learn to sit and pull up to a standing position, lower the mattress in the crib. You should stop using the crib as soon as the top rails are less than 3/4 of the child's height.
  • Do not use baby walkers because they allow children access to stairways and areas of the home that may result in a fall.
  • Install gates at top and bottom of stairs until children can climb up and down safely.
  • Move chairs, cribs, beds, and other furniture away from windows. So that children can't climb to window ledges or sills, and fall.
  • Safely secure windows with window guards or window stops to keep children from falling out of windows. Window screens are not designed to prevent falls.
  • If you need to open windows, open them from the top - not the bottom.
  • Dry slippery surfaces and remove hazards whenever possible.
  • Secure area rugs and throw rugs by using a nonskid backing.
  • Select play equipment that is safe for young children such as equipment that keeps children low to the ground.


National Program for Playground Safety

Window Safety Council


Fire and Burn Prevention Previous Page


  • Supervise young children at all times.
  • Set your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Install water faucets and shower heads containing anti-scald technology.
  • When giving a child a bath, run cold water into the tub first, then add hot water.
  • Use back burners and turn pot handles to the back of the stove when cooking.
  • Keep children away from hot grills and fire pits.
  • Keep appliance cords out of children's reach, especially if the appliances contain hot foods or liquids.
  • When using the microwave, be careful of steam escaping from containers.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
  • Never carry or hold children and hot foods or liquids at the same time.
  • Cover unused electrical outlets with safety plugs.
  • Check for hot surfaces on metal playground equipment before allowing young children to play on it.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level and in every sleeping area of your home. Test the smoke alarms every month and replace batteries every six months or according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Keep matches, lighters, gasoline, and other flammable materials locked away out of children's reach. Teach children to tell you when they find matches and lighters.
  • Avoid dressing children for sleep in loose-fitting, 100 percent cotton garments, i.e. oversized t-shirts.
  • Develop and practice a home fire escape plan and designate a meeting place outside.
  • Demonstrate how to Stop, Drop, and Roll if clothes catch on fire.
  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters; but to get out quickly and call for help from another location.


Fire Protection Association

Department of Fire Programs


Pedestrian Safety Previous Page


Begin to teach and practice pedestrian safety with young children, but remember that young children need constant adult supervision around traffic. Children under the age of 10 should not cross the street alone. Children should be taught to:

  • Learn and obey traffic signals and signs.
  • Cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks.
  • Never run out between parked cars or in the middle of the block.
  • Always look LEFT, RIGHT and LEFT again before crossing the street.
  • Walk on the sidewalk, when possible.
  • Walk facing traffic.
  • Always watch for cars.
  • Wear bright clothing.
  • Hold hands with an adult in parking lots.
  • Never run out in the street for any reason.
  • Play in safe places away from the street.
  • Never play in the driveway.
  • Be alert!


Educational Materials from the Virginia Department of Health

Pedestrian Safety: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Walking in Virginia: Virginia Department of Transportation


Playground Safety Previous Page


Playground-related injuries can be prevented by creating a SAFE playground using the four steps listed below:

  • Supervision: It is estimated that more than 40 percent of playground injuries are related to inadequate supervision. Adult supervision is needed to watch for potential hazards, observe, intercede and facilitate play when necessary.
  • Age Appropriate Design: Many injuries are a result of children playing on equipment not designed for their age. Thus, the steps or railings may be too far apart or require additional strength and coordination causing children to fall or trip. Most injuries related to age inappropriateness involve children ages 0 - 4 playing on equipment designed for children ages 5 - 12. Select age appropriate equipment and separate play areas for different age groups -- ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12. These areas should be marked by signage indicating the age-appropriate areas.
  • Fall Surfacing: Statistics indicate that nearly 70 percent of all playground injuries are related to falls to the surface. Recent studies also have found that about 80 percent of playgrounds have unsuitable surfaces. Thus, an important aspect of reducing playground injuries is to provide cushioned surfaces beneath and around equipment at depths appropriate to equipment height.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Most maintenance of equipment involves making sure the equipment's surfaces and mechanical workings are safe. Playgrounds, whether they are old, recently installed or a just a few years old, need to be inspected. Manufacturer's recalls, warnings or updates should be observed. CPSC warnings should be taken into consideration.


Program for Playground Safety


Poison Prevention Previous Page


  • Supervise young children at all times.
  • Put the Poison Center phone number on or near every phone. Call 1-800-222-1222 for phone stickers.
  • Lock or store medicines and dangerous household products out of the reach of children.
  • Keep handbags out of reach of children.
  • Use child-resistant closures on medicines and dangerous household products.
  • Keep products in their original containers.
  • Store food and household products in separate areas. It's easy to make a mistake.
  • Take medicine where children can't watch. They learn by imitating adults.
  • Teach children to always ask before eating or drinking anything.
  • Use medication and household products according to the instructions on their labels.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms.


  • Splashed in the eyes? Rinse with water for 15 minutes.
  • Spilled on the skin? Rinse with water for 15 minutes.
  • Breathed in a poison? Get to fresh air.
  • Swallowed a household product? Drink several swallows of water or milk.
  • THEN, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Unsure? Call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.


Medication Safety: Safe Kids USA

Virginia Poison Center

Blue Ridge Poison Center

National Capitol Poison Control Center


Last Updated: 03-07-2013

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