Obviously we all take steps to insure that our children (or grand children) are safe in our homes. It’s time well spent. Did you know that every year more than 2 million children are injured or killed in household accidents? The saddest part is that most of these accidents are completely avoidable. Now is the perfect time to make sure that your home is as safe as possible for the little ones in our lives.
Keep it Secure
If you don’t already have safety locks and latches for cabinets and drawers you need to get them. Many things in our homes pose a threat to our children and we can’t watch them every second of every minute. Be sure that all dangerous household items are out of reach including cleaning supplies, chemicals, utensils, tools, medicines, matches and lighters, etc., the list goes on forever. Here’s one that everybody forgets, everybody. Food. Yes, I said food. Remember, if your child is eating and you are not aware of it there is a chance that they will choke. It’s best to keep even food items in a secure place for just this very reason.
Go Back to Basics
OK. We all know that we should use safety gates to prevent our children from tumbling down stairs, entering a room that they don’t belong or even going outside, but do we use them all of the time? What about doorknob covers and locks that prevent the child from being able to open doors that are off limits? I have seen these items in a lot of homes but often they are not being used or only used on some of the doors. Double check and be sure that your child can not access any areas that they don’t belong. Remember, bathrooms can be a hazard to a small child too.
Protect Them from the #1 Killer
You probably already have outlet covers to protect children from unused electrical outlets but be sure that every outlet is protected. It’s possible that some are missing and you don’t even realize it. It only takes 1 mistake and this is one of the most dangerous threats in your home to a small child.
Remember, Children Love to Climb
Windows, Balconies and Decks need child proofing as well. Today there are many types of window guards and safety netting available to help prevent your child from opening windows or taking a nasty fall on decks and elevated patios. While these devices are highly effective they are not a 100% guarantee. As always, nothing protects your child better than vigilance.
Lower the Heat
Every year thousands of children are burned and scolded by hot water in the home. You already know this and I’m sure that you don’t allow them near the stove when you are cooking but what about the hot water in the shower and sinks in your home? It’s a good idea to lower the settings on your hot water heater to ensure that the water temperature does not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This is plenty hot enough for a shower or hot bath and will greatly reduce the chances of your child receiving a serious burn.
Watch Those Sharp Edges
If you look at the height of your little one and the height of your furniture you’ll get my point (no pun intended). Coffee tables, end tables, the corner of that big entertainment center, they all pose a serious hazard to our newly walking toddlers. You can buy corner and edge “bumpers” that will soften the blow and eliminate the sharp edges. This is a MUST for any home with small children. Don’t forget that loose rugs on hardwood floors or linoleum can also cause an ugly fall.
A Note for ALL Family Members
Finally, don’t forget to protect everyone in your home from the dangers of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
This list is not all inclusive and I can think of many things that we as parents need to be aware of in our homes. I hope that at least these precautions serve as a reminder to all that we need to be better aware of the potential hazards in our homes and to take the proper precautions before an accident occurs.