November is Child Safety & Prevention Month. According to SafeKids.org, more than 2,200 children a year, or six kids a day, die from injuries in U.S. homes. Here are a few things that you can do to make your home a bit safer for your little ones.
Falls cause most injuries to children, no matter their age. Safety gates on stairwells and balconies and window locks reduce risk, but children need supervision, too. They can be very inventive and may figure out these devices when left unattended.
Install motion-activated night lights for older children so they can make their way to the bathroom without tripping.
Avoid Fires, Burns & Scalds
Children do not understand the dangers stoves, fireplaces, wood stoves, candles, cigarettes, lighters, matches, chemicals, and heaters present. They may reach for hot pots and tip over candles if they get too curious. Keeping a close eye on children and storing flammable and caustic substances properly greatly reduces risk. Install smoke alarms every 30 feet and test them monthly. Change the batteries twice annually.
Hot water and hot drinks can cause burns and scalds. Always test drink temperatures and ensure your hot drinks stay out of reach of little hands. Set the hot water heater in your home to 122 degrees or less to avoid scalds.
Children under five years of age are at high risk of poisoning. They’re curious, mobile, and tend to put everything in their mouth. Most poisoning cases are from medications and household cleaning or gardening chemicals.
Always store these substances off of the ground when possible, or install a safety latches on any closets or cupboards used to store these materials.
Eliminate Suffocation & Strangulation Risks
Tie knots in plastic bags and store them out of children’s reach. Use childproof containers to store pieces of rope, string, ribbon, and other potential hazards. Ensure blind cords do not dangle near the floor.
SakeKids.org reports 73% of parents leave stuffed animals, clothing, or pillows in your baby’s stroller or bed, a leading cause of suffocation. Remove everything from your child’s crib before putting them down to sleep.
Practice Water Safety
Tired parents might leave their child unattended in the bath while they take a short breather. Either that or they ask an older sibling to keep an eye on them while they do something else. Unfortunately, it only takes a matter of minutes for a child to drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Supervision is an essential component of child safety, especially near water.
Secure Furniture & Electronics
Heavy furniture such as bookcases, china cabinets, and even dressers can topple when left unsecured in the home. Don’t leave dresser drawers open and affix heavy vertical furniture to the wall. Televisions often fascinate kids too, and new flat screen models can topple easily. SafeKids.org reports almost half the parents surveyed have not topple-proofed their home.
Protect From Electrical Shocks
The National Fire Protection Association states over 2400 children suffer injuries each year from sticking items into electric outlets. They suggest parents install tamper-resistant outlets instead of outlet covers, because the covers are a choking hazard.
Tuck electrical cords away and secure them with a cable tie. Ensure extension cords are well-maintained and replace those with frayed wires.
Store Tools Safely
Power and hand tools are extremely dangerous for children so store them above their reach or in a locked shed. Always unplug tools when you are not using them and place hand tools far above your child’s reach.
Buy Safe Products
Ensure products you buy meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). This is especially important for baby products such as cribs, change tables, and strollers.
Take First Aid & CPR
First aid classes are inexpensive and usually take less than a day. They teach you how to respond and manage infant and childhood injuries and illnesses until professional help arrives. The American Red Cross, Emergency First Response, and other organizations offer first aid and CPR instruction that saves lives.