Bumps and bruises are a part of growing up and we shouldn’t expect to be able to completely protect our young ones from them. However, there are many things we can do to make sure our household is free from unnecessary risks to our children.
Falling from high places represents one of the biggest risks to small children. Since falls can result in serious injuries, it is essential to safeguard your home against fall-related injuries.
You can start by taking a look around your house and removing any toys or other items from on top of furniture that might grab the attention of your little ones. You should also make sure that any furniture that your children can climb on top of is placed away from any windows.
Next check all your stairs. If you have young children, you will need to install safety gates both at the bottom and the top of all staircases. It is important to keep all stairs clear of objects so you don’t trip while helping or carrying your children up or down the stairs.
If your children can fit through the railings, you will need to install a railing guard. Always make sure the basement door is locked. You may also wish to consider having safety guards installed on all windows. When windows are closed, double check that they are locked.
Before going through your home room by room, there are some general safety issues you should consider. Make sure backpacks, purses and other bags that many contain medicines, sharp objects, hard candy, etc are always kept out of reach of your little ones.
If you haven’t had it done recently, now is the time to have your home tested for lead, mercury, and asbestos, and to make sure fire and carbon monoxide detection devices are working. It is recommended to have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor of your home and in your kitchen. Smoke detectors should be tested every month and at least one should be installed in the hallways between all bedrooms.
Carry a small bag of safety plugs with you during your inspection so you can cover all unused electrical outlets. At that time, you can also make sure major electrical appliances are grounded and any longer cords are fastened against the wall.
Since the kitchen often contains many items that can be a danger to your child, it is a good place to start your home safety inspection. Make sure all cleaning supplies, including dishwasher detergent, are stored out of reach.
Kitchens are often filled with choking hazards. Make sure magnets are placed high up on the refrigerator. Be careful not to leave any dangerous items on the kitchen table, including medicines and sharp or small objects.
With very active children, it is a good idea to put childproof latches on drawers containing knives, forks and scissors. All chairs and stools should be at a safe distance from the stove with pot and pan handles turned inward where they can’t be reached (especially during cooking. Back burners should be used whenever possible if children have access to the kitchen.
Check your child’s high chair, making sure it has a secure seat belt with a strap that goes between the legs. While you are in the kitchen, you may also consider updating your emergency contact numbers.
As you move on to the living room, you will probably notice that the greatest danger there is the sharp edges of furniture. These should all be covered with protective padding. Make sure any heavy items such as televisions or stereos are secure so they cannot be tipped over.
Since the cords of draperies and blinds can be a choking hazard, you should make them hard to reach by either shortening them or attaching them to a wall hook. And, remember that many household plants are poisonous, so you will want to place them out of reach of your little ones.
One of the key safety measures for the bathroom is making sure the water temperature is set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less to avoid scalding.
You never want to leave your children unattended in the bathtub or in the bathroom itself. However, they can move pretty quickly, so keep the toilet seat down when not in use and make sure all razor blades, tweezers and other sharp objects are stored out of reach or in locked cabinets.
Medications, cosmetics, hair dyes, etc. should be treated in the same manner. For both your and your children’s safety, make sure there is a nonskid mat or strips in the bathtub.
The first thing to check in your child’s bedroom is that cribs, beds and playpens are not placed near windows. If you only put window guards in one room, this is the one to do it in. Make sure that the lids on toy chests or storage containers are not lockable and cannot slam shut, trapping your kid inside.
If there is a nightlight in your child’s room, make sure it is not near drapes, the bedspread or other material. As with the rest of the house, make sure no small objects are left around the room.
If your child is still in a crib, you will need to make sure the slats are not too far apart. Check on its sturdiness and make sure no screws or bolts are loose or missing. You should also make sure the mattress fits tightly in the crib.
When it comes to your bedroom and other rooms in the house, simply follow the general rules discussed above. Focus on placing out of reach or securing any items that may be hazardous to your child including coins, sharp objects and cords. Although it may be inconvenient, medication should be removed from nightstand drawers until your children are all grown up.
This resource is only a guide and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or ignore professional medical advice because of something you have read on a website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call a doctor, dial 911 or go directly to a hospital Emergency Room (ER).
Safe Kids USA