Young children love to explore and are naturally curious. Because of these tendencies, it is not surprising when children want to get into areas or play with things that they should not. While some of these situations can be harmless, others can be dangerous and lead to serious injury to your child. Take a moment to look at your surroundings from your youngster's point of view, and then make any necessary adjustments to child-proof your home.
Keep all household cleaners, medicines, garden and lawn chemicals, and personal care items (e.g., perfume, nail polish) stored in locked cabinets. Even if your medicine cabinet is high up, youngsters are inquisitive and avid climbers. They can easily reach a cabinet by climbing from the toilet (or other convenient object) to the sink and thus reach into the cabinet.
Use child-resistant caps and keep medication lids tightly closed. A child-resistant cap is meaningless if not properly fastened after each use. Never take medication in front of your child, or refer to pills as candy. Always follow the recommended dosage set forth by your doctor for all medications. Be sure to throw out unneeded or expired medicines (over-the-counter and prescriptions).
Children may be exposed to different lead sources in your home. Small children may chew on window sills, eat paint chips, or suck on their hands or toys, exposing themselves to lead dust. Lead poisoning can cause serious medical problems, especially in young children, so be sure your home is lead-safe (see the National Safety Council's Fact Sheet on Lead Poisoning).
Keep the numbers of your local poison control center (or national toll-free number, 1-800-222-1222) or family doctor posted near the telephone. Have the original container and its label when you call. You should also keep syrup of ipecac available but use only when instructed by a doctor or poison control center.
Always strap your child into her high chair or stroller.
Never leave your child unattended in the bathtub. Should they slip and fall, they may be unable to cry for help. You can also use a rubber mat or slip-resistant stickers in the tub to help prevent falls. It is also important that you secure area rugs with a piece of foam carpet backing, double-sided tape, or a rubber pad to prevent your child from slipping in other areas of your home.
Use child safety gates at the top and bottom of all staircases and be sure they are installed correctly. Avoid accordion-style safety gates with large openings that children could fit their heads through. Also try to keep stairs clear of toys and other objects to prevent your child from tripping.
As a parent, you need to be aware of the danger of falls from windows by unsupervised young children. Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that your child cannot reach. Make sure that your child's play occurs away from windows or patio doors. Also be sure to keep furniture, or anything your child can climb, away from windows.
A mixer faucet on the basin, tub and shower will help prevent scalds. Set your hot water thermostat for 120� F. Your child's bathwater should be 100� F. Always check the bathwater temperature with your wrist or elbow before letting your child get in the tub. Do not allow your young child to bathe or play in a whirlpool, Jacuzzi or hot tub; their bodies are more sensitive to hot water.
It is important that you as a parent teach your young child that matches are tools for adults; they are not toys. You should also avoid igniting lighters or matches in front of your child. Be sure to store matches in a fire-resistant container out of the reach of your child to prevent her from playing with them.
Do not smoke, use matches or drink hot beverages while holding your child and do not leave burning cigarettes unattended.
Remember that radiators, heating vents, space heaters, fireplaces, stoves and hot water taps are not always hot. Your child can touch them once safely and the next time receive a severe burn, so it is important that you keep a close eye on your child while they are in use.
Keep electrical cords and wires out of the way so your child cannot pull, trip or chew on them. Cover wall outlets with safety caps.
Never leave your young child unsupervised in the bathtub. If you must leave the room for a telephone call or to answer the door, wrap your child in a towel and take him with you.
If you have a pool, fence it in completely. Doors leading to the pool area should be self closing and self-latching or equipped with exit alarms and should never be propped open.
Never take your eyes off your young child when he is in or near any body of water. Do not rely on inflatable devices, such as inner tubes, water wings, inflatable mattresses and toys or other similar objects to keep your youngster afloat. You should also keep toys, tricycles and other playthings away from the pool area.
You and other individuals in your family should seek training in swimming, lifesaving, first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation; having these skills could save your child or someone else's life.
If it seems that there is a lot to do to protect your child, you are correct. However, simple safety checks can help ensure that you and your child will have many happy and healthy years together.
Source: National Safety Council