Most accidents experienced by young children occur in the home for one simple reason: That's where children spend the most time. The best child safety practice is to be watchful, but accidents can occur quickly, even when parents keep an eye on their little ones.
A good source for home safety tips is the Home Safety Council. Visit: www.homesafetycouncil.org/SafetyGuide/sg_baby_w001.asp
By practicing the following tips, you can safeguard your babies and toddlers against such accidents as fire, poison, water, choking, suffocation and falls.
- Make fire safety a priority. Install a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm near each bedroom in your home. Test each alarm once a month, and change the batteries once a year.
An easy way to remember when to change the batteries is to select an annual date such as your birthday or the day that Daylight Savings Time begins or ends.
- Lock all matches and lighters in a place where children can't reach or touch them.
- Keep all medicines, cleaning products and alcohol under lock, and make sure that they have child safety caps.
- Remember that young children love to explore, so never leave medicines in your purse, in a drawer, or in other locations that they might easily discover.
- Stay within an arm's reach of young children when they are in or near water.
- Very young children can drown in only one to two inches of water. Hence, take precautions such as putting toilet-seat locks on toilets and storing outdoor buckets upside down so that they don't collect water.
- Set the thermostat for your home's hot water heater at no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Centigrade), to prevent burns.
Choking and Suffocation Prevention
- Remember that babies should be put on their backs for sleeping and should not have blankets, pillows or toys in their cribs. Once that your baby can sit up, remove any mobiles or other hanging toys that may be on or by the crib.
- For babies and toddlers, adhere to the manufacturer's age recommendations appearing on toys.
- Children can choke on anything that can fit inside of an empty toilet-paper roll, such as small toys, buttons or coins. Keep such items out of your child's reach.
- Make sure that children sit down while eating.
- Window blind cords that hang in a loop should be cut at the bottom to eliminate the loop, so that children can't put the loop around their necks. Also, don't let the cords hang; fasten them up high, out of children's reach.
Guarding Against Falls
- Install child safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways. Gates that screw into the wall are more secure than pressure-mounted gates.
- Install window guards, including on both the upper and lower sections of sash windows. Be sure that you can open the windows quickly in case of fire.
- For babies and toddlers, use safety straps on diaper-changing tables, high chairs and strollers.