Over the past several weeks we have discussed some things you can do to keep your kids safe at the beach or swimming pool, while on a family vacation or camping trip , or at their summer camp. This week we want to focus on childhood home safety issues. Unfortunately, your children face more potential danger at home than anywhere else. Each year, over 3.4 million children suffer an unintentional household injury and 2,300 children under 15 die from these injuries. Here are some tips for making four of your home’s most dangerous rooms as safe and child-friendly as possible.
When preparing to welcome a new baby, buy a crib with slats less than 2-3/8 inches apart. It likewise should have no drop side or large cutouts at its head or foot. Make sure its mattress is firm, flat and fits snugly against the crib’s sides. As cute as they are, resist the temptation to place bumper pads, soft bedding, pillows and stuffed toys in the crib. Mobiles and toys that hang over the crib are fine, but check to see that no cords or ribbons hang down far enough for your baby to grasp, accidentally or deliberately.
As your baby starts to crawl and then becomes a toddler, never underestimate how far (s)he can go and how fast (s)he can get there. Little kids love to explore, and it’s amazing, not to mention frightening, how many things can hurt them. Childproof his or her room as follows:
- Cover all unused outlets with safety plugs.
- Use cord holders to keep long cords out of his or her reach.
- Use clothespins or cord clips to keep window blind and curtain cords out of his or her reach.
- Secure all dressers to the wall or floor and keep all drawers shut.
- Make sure the toy boxes have lid supports to prevent them from slamming shut.
- If the bedroom is upstairs, install window guards on all windows.
When cooking, use only your back burners whenever possible and always make sure that all pan handles point inward. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Install childproof latches on all lower drawers and cabinets, including the one under your sink. If you have pets, pick up their food and water bowls after they use them. Keep your small appliances and kitchen accessories, especially knife blocks, at the very back of your counters and unplug the appliances when not in use. Keep vitamins and OTC medicines and ointments in upper cabinets.
Your bathrooms can be extremely dangerous places for your kids, so childproof them as follows:
- Make sure your water heater thermostat is set below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Keep shower doors and all other doors and drawers closed when not in use, and keep the toilet lid down.
- Install childproof latches on all lower drawers and cabinets.
- Keep electrical appliances such as hair dryers, curling irons, razors, etc., at the very back of your counters and unplug them when not in use.
- Likewise keep mouthwash, tooth brushes and paste, perfumes, hair sprays, cosmetics, etc. at the back of your counters.
- Keep prescription meds in a locked medicine cabinet.
Sadly, despite your best efforts, you likely cannot prevent every single accident that your child could sustain, especially those caused by a defective or malfunctioning product. If your child suffers such an injury, please call Richard A. Dubi toll-free at 833-FOR-DUBI (833-367-3824).