Home is a place to relax, play and enjoy spending time with family. There will be minor scrapes and bruises along the way, but too many kids are affected by serious injuries that are often completely preventable. McLeod Safe Kids urges parents and caregivers to check their homes for basic safety precautions so kids of all ages are as safe as possible at home.
To learn more safety tips, visit the home safety section on the Safe Kids website.
Approximately 2,200 children in the United States die from preventable injuries in the home each year. Around 60 percent of these deaths were among children ages 4 and under. Most fatal injuries at home are caused by fire, suffocation, drowning, choking, falls, or poisoning.
“Having a new baby or young children around the home is a wonderful experience,” says Ashley Costas, Coordinator of McLeod Safe Kids. “Learning a few safety tips is important to ensure that your child will grow up active, curious and safe. The first step is childproofing a home by exploring every room at a child’s eye level. Start by getting down on your hands and knees and crawling around. You’ll be surprised at how much you can reach and how many small objects you can pick up.”
Anything that can fit through a standard 1½-inch toilet paper tube is a potential choking hazard. Of course, cleaning products, medications, alcohol and other potentially harmful products need to be stored out of reach and out of sight of children.
McLeod Safe Kids recommends the following 10 tips to childproof your home.
1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area. Working smoke alarms double your chances of surviving a home fire. Use Daylight Savings Time as a reminder to check your smoke alarms.
2. Keep button battery-controlled devices out of sight and reach of children. These include remote controls, singing greeting cards, digital scales, watches, hearing aids, thermometers, children’s toys, calculators, key fobs, tea light candles, flashing jewelry or decorations.
3. Secure the TVs in your home. Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall and place old tube TVs on a low, stable piece of furniture.
4. Never leave your child unattended around water. We know it sounds strict, but babies can drown in as little as one inch of water. Keep toilet lids closed and use toilet seat locks to prevent drowning. Keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
5. Check to make sure the water heater is just right. With everything going on, we know the water heater is the last thing on your mind. But a small adjustment can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting. You can also test the bathwater with your wrist or elbow before putting your child in it. Learn more tips to keep kids safe around water at home.
6. Keep small objects out of reach. Look at every room as your child would. Ask yourself what looks interesting and what can be reached. Get down on your hands and knees, and check for small things children can choke on such as jewelry, coins, small toy parts, buttons, pins, nails, batteries and stones.
7. Install window guards and stops to prevent serious falls. Screens are meant to keep bugs out, not children in. Properly install window guards to prevent unintentional window falls. For windows above the first floor, include an emergency release device in case of fire.
8. Keep cleaners and medicines out of reach. Store household products and potential poisons out of children’s sight and reach, including cleaning supplies, pet food, medicine, vitamins, and alcoholic beverages. Putting medicines up and away is particularly important, as it only takes a few seconds for kids to get into medicine that could make them very sick.
9. Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. As with smoke alarms, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances. Be sure to test alarms regularly. This invisible, odorless gas can be fatal.
10. Keep emergency numbers by every telephone. If you suspect a child has been poisoned, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
For more information on how to childproof your home, call McLeod Safe Kids at (843) 777-5021 or visit http://www.McLeodSafeKids.org/. You can also find the group on Facebook under McLeod Safe Kids.
McLeod Safe Kids Pee Dee/Coastal is funded in part by the McLeod Health Foundation.