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Protect Your ADHD Child from Injury

Watch out for your child! A recent study shows that kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are more likely to be injured or get into accidents than the rest of their peers without the disorder. Children with ADHD are also more likely to be admitted to the hospital for accidental poisoning or head injuries, or to have an injury that can result in disability or admission to the intensive care unit.

It's easy to see why kids with ADHD are more accident-prone than most.  The defining symptoms of the disorder – inattention and impulsivity – place children at risk for injury and serious accidents. They might be lost in their thoughts and forget to look twice before crossing the street.  They could engage in a risky physical activity without pausing to think of the consequences. Or they may be unable to follow the rules of team sports and hurt themselves or others.  As for teenagers with the disorder, motor vehicle accidents and traffic violations are a more pressing concern.  Traffic violation records and accidents show that teens and young adults with ADHD are more likely to have suspended driver's licenses than those without.

Although a comprehensive treatment plan can eliminate the basic cause of these accidents, they may not be enough to protect your child, especially if he or she is not yet used to the program. Here is what you can do to make sure your child stays safe and accident-free.

Preschool children

Make sure you can keep an eye on your child at all times.  Preschool-aged children tend to run around and move quickly, especially if they're hyperactive. If you cannot attend to your child, make sure your spouse or an older sibling can watch out for him or her.  Whenever you go out, hold your child's hand and never let go.  Words alone will not be enough to keep your child from running off, so be ready to stop him or her physically.  Always take the danger side while walking on the sidewalk (the side closest to the traffic) and while crossing the street.

Elementary school children

Sports, bike riding, or skateboarding are great activities for kids with ADHD, but make sure that your child never leaves the house without proper safety equipment.  Keep reminding your child to look out for oncoming cars before crossing or turning in a street.  Don't worry about sounding repetitive; your child probably won't remember your instructions if you say them only once. If your child is spending the day at a friend's house, make sure an adult will be around to supervise.  Know where your child goes, what he or she is doing, and who he or she is with.