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Childproof Your Home 
 
by Jean Bailey Robor June 17, 2005

Every year preventable accidents occur that injure our toddlers and babies. Learn how to make sure your home is safe for your children.

Young children are totally dependent on us to make sure their environment is a safe place to live. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death of children in the United States. Each year many children are hurt, maimed, and die due to preventable injuries. Make your house a safe place for your child to live and grow and help keep him from becoming a statistic.

Burn Prevention

Each year many children are injured as the result of burns. Per www.safekids.org , in 2002, over 22,000 children under the age of fourteen were treated for scalding burns. Burns are among the most painful injuries a person can sustain. A burn victim may have lifelong scars as well as skin grafts and psychological trauma. The most common burn injury among children results from liquids or steam. In order to prevent your child from becoming a victim, take care to monitor your stove at all times during cooking. Make sure pot handles are turned inward where a child cannot reach. Use your stove’s back burners if possible. Be careful with microwave cooking as well. Some burns are received due to children pulling items from the microwave and scalding themselves. Keep hot foods and liquids off countertop edges.

Matches and lighters should be kept out of a child’s reach. Children can be fascinated by fire and not realize the danger of it. Be sure you have smoke alarms installed to alert you in the event a fire does occur.

To keep your children safe in your bathroom area, check the temperature of hot water. Your water heater’s thermostat should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below. A child’s skin is thinner than an adults and will burn more easily. If exposed to a water temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit, a child can suffer a third-degree burn in three seconds. Also, be sure to keep curling irons and heated curlers away from children. If you must leave them unattended, be sure to close the door and ensure your child does not enter the room.

Drowning

According to Consumer Product Safety Review, drowning is "the second leading cause of death from unintentional injuries to children under five years old." While most drownings occur in pools or open areas, a child can drown in as little as one inch of water. Never leave your child unattended in the tub or sink, even if they are in a baby bath seat. A bath seat is not a guarantee your child will be safe without supervision. A child loses consciousness in as little as two minutes of being submerged. After four to six minutes, brain damage can occur. Never leave bucket of water unattended; empty immediately after use. Be sure your toddler is restrained from playing near or in a swimming pool, lake, or creek unattended.

Electrocution

While you may think to cover your electrical outlets with childproof covers, do not overlook the electrical appliances you have around your home. A child may be electrocuted by portable electric fans. These are also a fire hazard as well. Be sure not to leave a fan on carpeted area or paper as it could overheat. A good rule of thumb is to replace fans after ten years.

Poisoning

Children are naturally curious and tend to put objects, edible or not, into their mouths. Many incidents of poisonings in children five years old and younger are due to aspirin overdose. The good news is since the implementation of child safety packaging, poisonings involving aspirin and other drugs have dramatically been reduced. The main thing to remember is to secure all medications in a place inaccessible to children.

Suffocations

When leaving your infant in a crib or playpen, be sure to keep it free from any objects that might cause suffocation. A child can become penned between a large pillow or sofa cushion and the side of the crib/playpen. Also, be sure there are no curtain tiebacks that could fall into the crib and become wrapped around the child’s throat. While a crib full of toys may be fun for your child, use your good judgment in removing most of them before leaving your child unattended.

De-clutter Your Home for Safety

Controlling the clutter in your home will go a long way to insuring you have a safe home for your children. It’s easy for clutter to accumulate. Who of us hasn’t looked around our home and wondered how did our habitat get to be so messy? The first step to rectifying this situation is a good assessment.

Going room to room, make a list of everything that must go. This would include items you need to get rid of to items that just need to be put into another place, such as a closet or storage area. Keep clutter out of walk areas to eliminate tripping hazards.

Look for broken objects, outdated or unworn clothes, or old items. Decide which should be tossed out, which should be kept, and which should be donated. Be sure to throw or put away any items a child could choke on.

Tackling one room at a time will soon have your house clutter-free and make a safer environment for your children to reside.

Other Safety Considerations

  • Use a child safety gate to keep children out of potentially dangerous areas.
  • Put safety latches on all cabinets.
  • Ensure chairs are away from stoves or counters.
  • Be sure to keep any alcoholic beverages away from children.
  • Store hazardous supplies, i.e. cleaning products, medication, etc., in locked cabinets.
  • Keep potted plants/flowers out of children’s reach.
  • Never let children play around areas with glass tabletops.
  • If you have a fireplace, cover it with a child safety screen.
  • Learn infant CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

In Conclusion

As children become mobile, they enjoy exploring every aspect of their surroundings. Given their high energy level, it can be a challenge to keep up! However, ensuring their safety will go a long way for your peace of mind in raising your children in a secure environment.


 

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