The average home is not designed, constructed or furnished with the safety of a child in mind. Because of this, many parents are unaware of the potential dangers that exist until an injury occurs.
According to the Home Safety Councilâ€™s State of Home Safety Report, an average of 2,096 children younger than 15 die each year in the United States as a result of a home injury. Fires and burns, choking and suffocation, and drowning and submersion are leading causes of unintentional home injury death among children in this age group. In addition, consider this:
- Children are 7 times more likely to die from a preventable household accident than from all childhood illnesses combined.
- Each year, more than 2.5 million children are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries.
- The number one cases of death among infants and toddlers are preventable household accidents.
- 75% of accidental poisonings of children under the age of five involve such common household items as cleansers, cosmetics, and medicines.
I was determined that our household would NOT be a statistic! As soon as our son was mobile, I looked around our home and realized there was a lot to be done to make it a safe(r) zone.
I read dozens of articles on baby proofing that included outlet covers, gates, and cabinet and toilet locks, but it’s the not-so-obvious things like blind cords, carpets without nonskid backings and loose tiles that had me worried the most.
Baby proofing, it turns out, is not a one-time procedure but an adopted way of life. Your infant or baby is constantly evolving so it is important that spotting the next potential hazard becomes second nature. The best way to PREVENT accidents from occurring is direct adult supervision and childproofing your home. Here are some other safety tips to get you started:
- It is a good idea to get down on your hands and knees and look around from your baby’s perspective. This really helps spot potentially dangerous objects. For example, an ordinary plant can be poisonous if a curious baby decides to taste it. Even toddler toys left lying around by an older sibling should not be within baby’s reach. The most important place to have a safe environment is in your home.
- When checking your home, it is also a good time to be sure baby does not have access to swimming pools, toilets, diaper pails, cleaning buckets, bathtubs, showers or hot tubs. It is possible for a baby to drown in as little as two inches of water. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury related death among one to four year olds.
- Medicines, bleaches, oven and drain cleaners, paint solvents, polishes, waxes, matches, cigarettes and lighters are also dangerous to your baby. These should always be kept out of your baby’s reach.
- Make sure all alcohol is out of reach of children.
- Childproof safety locks for cabinets and drawers can be helpful to deter access to your baby.
- Use child-resistant packaging as it can help save baby’s life. Keep the number of the poison control center near your phone so you can call for emergency first-aid advice. Poison Control Center (800) 876-4766
- NEVER line trash cans with plastic trash bags due to the choking and suffocation hazard it poses.
- Water temperature should be adjusted to 125-130 degrees or less to help prevent scalding.
- NEVER place children to sleep on pillows, cushions, waterbeds, beanbags or any other surface not designed for infant sleep
Click here to download and print a home childproofing check list.
Photo credit: amberlynnlane