Childhood injuries and deaths in the home number around two and a half million a year. Electricity, stoves, stairs, knives, sharp corners are hazardous and dangerous. Some families store guns. Firearms are the leading cause of death in children. These are serious concerns, but with common sense and preparation, you can prevent these accidents.
How Can I Keep My Child Safe?
Most accidents happen because dangerous items area left out unattended. Therefore, put away sewing supplies, cooking implements, and hot irons out when you are finished using them. If the phone or doorbell rings while you’re using or putting something away, be sure to finish putting it away before you answer.
The best prevention is to childproof your home. Check all the rooms, bedrooms, living rooms, den, kitchen, and bathrooms. Install safety devices on doors, drawers, windows, and toilets. They should be easy for an adult to use, but difficult for a child. However, no safety device is childproof. Follow the installation instructions carefully. Teach older children and other caregivers how to use them.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
- Ovens and Stoves Hot things in the kitchen include stoves, ovens, microwaves, toasters, pots, pans, etc. Keep oven doors closed. Toddlers who are unsteady on their feet can trip and grab the oven door for support, thus burning themselves. Turn pot and pan handles to the back of the stove.
- Dishwashers hold sharp objects and breakable items. Keep the door locked at all times.
- Hot Foods and Liquids Always test foods and liquids first before giving them to a child. Most childhood burns come from hot liquids. Teach children to always wait before putting heated foods or liquids in their mouths.
- Use placemats instead of tablecloths. A toddler may pull on a tablecloth when trying to stand.
- Install or have a plumber install anti-scald devices in your faucets and showerheads. Set your water heater for no more than 120 degree Fahrenheit.
Around the House
- Cushion sharp corners on furniture. Plastic furniture corners help prevent bumps. Remove both fragile and heavy items from table tops including houseplants, vases, ashtrays, and items a child can knock or pull off. Museum putty (found online and in art supply stores) secures lamps and breakable items to the table.
- Install window gates on second floor and above to prevent accidental falls. This is the law in some cities if your children are eight years old and younger.
- Keep visitors’ and your own handbag out of reach of children . Even a nail clipper or small scissor is a hazard.
- Garages and tool areas contain a variety of sharp and hazardous items. The best thing is to keep children out of them.
- Allow your child to use safety scissors, blunt knives, markers and crayons. Pens and pencil points are sharp. Keep pencil sharpeners out of reach from little fingers.
- Electricity is safe when used properly. Have all wiring done by a licensed electrician. Cover all sockets with plastic covers. Keep extension cords away from children. Tell children they must never touch anything electrical if their hands or feet are wet. Keep water away from electrical appliances
- Hairdryers, curling irons, hot rollers in bathrooms are especially hazardous. Water and electricity do not mix. Avoid using these appliances when someone is in the shower or bath. When using them, make sure there is no water in the sink and the toilet lid is closed.
Trips and Falls
- Invest in doorstops, window locks, cabinet and drawer locks in your kitchen, bathroom; These will prevent a curious children from opening them
- Install gates on stairways to prevent children wandering to other floors, and to prevent falls.
- Install window gates on the second floor and above to prevent accidental falls. This is the law in some cities if your children are eight years old and younger.
- Take safety gates and devices along with you when on vacation or visiting other people’s homes.
Guns and Fire Arms
- If you must have a gun in your home keep it locked up. Guns should be stored unloaded with the bullets locked away separately.
Babies and Toddlers
Secure babies in a highchair or playpen, near enough for you to see them but far away from dangerous objects and situations. Toddlers can learn that a stove is “hot.” They will actually enjoy showing off their knowledge. “No” is a powerful learning tool. Sharp knives, scissors, appliances, are things that are “no.” Keep all dangerous objects locked away from babies and toddlers.
By the time they turn four, children can understand the things they can do to stay safe. By talking to children, and setting a good example, you can help them learn:
Never touch anything this is sharp or gets hot. If you see or find something sharp or hot lying around, tell a parent or other adult.
Always wait for food and drinks that come out of the oven or microwave to cool off before you put it in your mouth.
Always wash your hands with soap before you touch food. That gets rid of the germs that could get on your food and make you sick.
Never climb on windows.
Never take anything to eat or drink without asking your parents first
Never pull on extension cords or electrical wires.
Never touch anything electrical if your hands and feet are wet.
Never handle or touch a gun. If another child is holding a gun, leave the area as quickly as possible. Notify a trusted caregiver immediately.
These are all emergencies:
You cannot stop bleeding.
The child is in pain, collapses, or is unconscious.
There is tissue damage to the skin from a burn
You or your child hears a bone snap or a grinding noise during injury.
There is pain, tenderness, or a feeling a pins and needles.
Your child cannot put weight on a limb or move it.
A body part is partially or fully amputated.
Symptoms depend on the age and constitution of the child. Serious injuries must be treated as a 911 emergency.
Have the phone number for your own family doctor handy.
Learn First Aid
Learn how to do CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
Use common sense at all times.
This is a general site about chid safety, first aid, and what to do in an emergency: http://pediatrics.about.com/od/firstaid/
This site gives information on devices to help you childproof your home: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/grand/12steps/12steps.html
This site gives general information on how to childproof your home:
Print out and fill in the Emergency Numbers Sheet along with the First Aid Guidelines below. Hang it near or behind your front door. Make sure your children, babysitters, and neighbors know where it is.