Tips for Childproofing Your Home

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July 28, 2016

More than a third of child injuries and deaths happen at home, according to KidsHealth.org; household injuries are among the top reasons kids younger than 3 end up in the emergency room. Young kids have the highest risk of being injured at home because that’s where they spend most of their time.
 
But experts agree any discussion of “childproofing” your home should be expanded beyond toddlers.  Unintentional injuries cause 41% of deaths involving 15- to 19-year-olds, according to Injury Facts 2015.
 
Drownings are the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths (after motor vehicle crashes) for children ages 3-8 and 10-14, according to Injury Facts. The number of poisoning fatalities, including drug overdose, increases after age 16.

Learn the High-Risk Zones

Parents or guardians should be on the lookout for potential sources of injury. According to the CDC, most incidents occur where there is:
  • Water: in the bathroom, kitchen, swimming pools or hot tubs
  • Heat or flame: in the kitchen, in the fireplace or at a barbeque grill
  • Toxic substance: under the kitchen sink, in the medicine cabinet, in the garage or garden shed, in a purse or other place where medications are stored
  • Potential for a fall: on stairs, slippery floors, from high windows or from tipping furniture

Safety Tips

Home is the place you relax, play and spend time with your family. It’s referred to as Home Sweet Home, after all. In order to maintain a safe home environment, KidsHealth.org says you should:
  • Keep guns out of reach. A 2005 study on adult firearm storage practices in U.S. homes found that more than 1.69 million children and youth under age 18 are living in homes with loaded and unlocked firearms, according to SmartGunLaws.org.
  • Keep coin lithium batteries, or “button batteries,” and any devices that contain them, out of reach of children; they can be fatal if swallowed.
  • Keep choking hazards, toxic substances, hot and sharp items out of reach.
  • Have your child use safety glasses if they are involved in activities such as woodworking, science experiments involving chemicals, racquetball, paintball or other enterprises with flying debris.
  • Never leave young kids unattended in a bath.

Devices Intended to Keep Your Loved Ones Safe    

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends making use of 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children. Items on the list include:
  • Safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries
  • Outlet covers
  • Anchors to prevent furniture, TVs and ranges from tipping over and crushing children; one child is treated every 30 minutes for a TV-related injury, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics study
  • Corner and edge bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges on walls, furniture and fireplaces
  • Knob covers, which snap over door knobs to prevent young children from turning them
  • Cordless window coverings to prevent strangulation

Be Prepared

KidsHealth.org offers these suggestions to prevent injury or death:
  • Watch kids at all times.
  • Learn first-aid, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the age-appropriate Heimlich maneuver.
  • Keep important phone numbers in an easy-to-find location; include doctors and caregivers, local police and fire agencies, parents’ work and cell numbers, neighbors and relatives.
  • Practice your fire escape plan at least twice a year and practice different ways out of your home
  • Talk about the best place or places to take cover in the event of a tornado, wind storm or natural disaster.
  • Test your level of readiness: Can you answer "yes" to questions on these checklists?
Source: National Safety Council
 
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