Staying ahead of kids in order to keep the house safe is no easy task….some days I would have been better off wrapping my four in bubble wrap!
New parents have so much to do! It seems the “to do” list is never-ending. At the top of every parent’s “to do” list should be child proofing. Keeping your precious little one safe is a #1 priority, and no simple task. Children are curious, quick, and smart! Just when you think that you have your child protected, you find your child standing in the center of the kitchen table swinging from the overhead light….or at least it seems that way! The truth is, accidents are the leading cause of injury and death in children. So many of these tragedies can be prevented with a little preparation. Child proofing is a MUST but, NOTHING replaces supervision. Child proofing slows a child down but does not totally prevent injury. Think about child proofing in layers….putting dangerous items in an upper cabinet and then latching the cabinet. We all know that any self-respecting toddler can push a chair over and reach that cabinet! Over the next few days, check back and we will go over a room by room check for child proofing and common mistakes that parents make!
- Child proof ahead of your child! You never know the first time your child will roll over, begin to crawl, or pull up. Child proof before it is a must.
- Get on your child’ level to child proof. That’s right, crawl around and see what your child sees. You will be surprised at the number of dangers that lurk at your child’s eye level and not yours.
- Sign up to receive e-mail recall notifications at www.cpsc.gov New parents have so much baby equipment! It is hard to keep track of any recalls or safety notices. By signing up for e-mails on recalls you will be able to make sure your baby equipment is safe.
- Keep a notebook or spreadsheet with a list of all your baby equipment including serial numbers, and date and place of purchase. This is a quick reference guide for you to flip to when you receive a recall notice. Much easier than trying to find the numbers on your baby equipment and remember when and where you purchased it!
- Take a CPR class for parents! Local hospitals, the Red Cross, and other agencies offer CPR classes for parents. Sign up and be a prepared parent….knowledge is the key to peace of mind for you and protection for your child.
- Install outlet covers in every room. There are sliding outlet plates that replace your existing outlet plate and have a sliding “door” that slides to cover the outlet. These are less of a choking hazard.
- Remove rubber caps off of all door stoppers, they are choking hazards.
- Keep dangerous chemicals out of reach and locked up, provide a double layer of protection.
- Program the Poison Control phone number in your cell phone for quick use 1-800-222-1222.
- Use cabinet and drawer latches. There are many to choose from! Pick one that can be installed easily, there are adhesive mount latches for those areas that a parent may not want permanent mountings.
- Always use the safety belts in bouncy chairs, high chairs, swings…whenever there is one provided!
- Shorten or go cordless on curtain and blind cords.
- Know the names of the plants you have in the house, in case one is eaten! Put all plants out of your child’s reach.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor. Make sure there is one outside of bedrooms.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom and on every level of your home. Check the batteries every 6 months.
- Use corner bumpers on furniture with sharp edges.
- Install window guards for all windows above the first level of a home. Windows that can be opened more than 4 inches are dangerous.
- Secure all heavy furniture to the wall. Every year thousands of children are hurt when furniture is pulled over on them. Children pull out dresser drawers and use them as steps too. Keep the tops of furniture cleared of tempting items like toys, and knickknacks to deter a child from climbing up to reach them. This would include tall dressers, entertainment centers, book cases, and large screen televisions.
- Turn the water heater down to a maximum temperature of 120 degrees F.
- Keep lighters, matches and lit candles out of reach.
- Install gates at the top and bottom of stairways. Do not use pressure mounted gates at the top of stairs.
- Fire arms should be locked up with a trigger lock in place. Ammunition should be stored and locked separately from the fire arm. Do not keep fire arms loaded in the home. Teaching children about gun safety does NOT negate the need to lock up your guns. Children can’t be trusted around fire arms!
- Make a plan for fire evacuation. Talk with all members of the family and practice with a fire drill! Buy an escape ladder to store under your bed if you live in a two story home.
- Test homes built before 1978 for lead paint. For information about getting paint samples go to the National Lead Information Center’s website.
- Look for a safety store at your closest children’s hospital. These stores will sell child proofing products at cost and have safety experts there to answer questions. If you live in Indiana, the Riley Safety Store is available at several Indiana University Hospital sites. For more information visit RileyHospital.org, or call toll free 1-888-365-2022 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.