Install quality safety latches on drawers and cabinets that are within a child's reach.
Keep all sharp utensils, wastebaskets, and household cleaning products in a latched drawer or cabinet.
Ensure countertop appliances and their cords remain out of reach of curious toddlers.
Cook using the back burners of your stove and turn pot handles toward the rear of the stove to prevent them from being grabbed by curious toddlers.
Dishwashing detergent should only be poured immediately before you wash dishes. A swallow full of detergent is a hazardous and deadly snack.
Letting your baby play with pots and pans may seem harmless. However, if your child associates pots and pans as toys, he or she may be more likely to try and grab them when they’re on a hot stove which could have serious consequences.
Check the floor daily to ensure food or other dropped items do not pose a choking hazard.
Post emergency phone numbers by the phone or on your refrigerator. Include police, fire, poison control, hospital, family doctor, and ambulance service. When in doubt, call 911.
Don't use tablecloths or placemats--your baby could pull them and anything on them crashing down to the floor.
Prevent access to pet bowls of food and water. A baby could drown in the water or choke on the food.
NEVER leave standing water in the tub or sink. It takes very little water to create a drowning hazard.
NEVER leave your child unattended in the bath. If you must leave the room for any reason, wrap your child in a towel and leave the room together.
Reduce your hot water heater temperature to 120 degrees. A baby's skin is more sensitive than an adult's. What is warm to us can scald a small infant.
Use a non-slip mat and install a spout cover in the bathtub to help prevent and protect your baby from falls.
Check the floor daily dropped items that may pose a choking hazard.
Keep hair dryers, curling irons, and other electrical appliances away from your baby’s reach. When not in use, unplug these devices and store in a locked cabinet.
Install a lid lock on all toilets. Toddlers can drown in just a few inches of water. In addition, lid locks will prevent children from flushing valuables down the toilet.
Install safety latches on bathroom cabinets and drawers. Put the wastebasket under the sink, behind a latched cabinet door.
Ensure bathroom counters remain free of clutter to prevent curious hands from grabbing potentially dangerous items or choking hazards.
Know how to unlock bathroom doors from the outside. Some toddlers have accidentally locked themselves in. An emergency entry key is a necessity.
Ensure soap bars, shampoos, razors, etc. remain out reach from the shower or tub.
When selecting a crib:
- Don't buy an older, used crib. It could be missing parts and may not meet new federal crib safety standards passed in June 2011.
- Corner posts should not extend more than 1/16th of an inch above the end panel.
- Crib slats should not be more than 2 & 3/8ths inches apart.
- All hardware should be tight fitting and secure.
- The mattress should fit snugly in the crib frame to prevent the child from getting stuck and suffocating.
The crib is the only place where a baby is ever left alone and unsupervised for long periods of time. Creating and maintaining a safe sleep environment is critical.
Cribs should be free of blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and stuffed animals. These items can block the airway of a sleeping baby and cause suffocation.
Check the location of your baby monitors, including those mounted on the wall, to ensure electrical cords are out of reach from the crib. As your child grows, ensure the cords stay out of reach.
Avoid placing a crib near a window. The cords from window blinds can pose a strangulation hazard. Regardless of crib placement, ensure blind cords are wrapped high on a wall cleat out of reach. Consider installing cordless blinds as a safer alternative.
Move your child from a crib to a bed as soon as he or she outgrows the crib. Approximately 5,000 toddlers each year are treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained after falling out of cribs. Your toddler is outgrowing the crib if the height of the top rail is less than three-quarters of the child’s height, or if he or she is able to climb up the sides of the crib.
Never leave your baby unattended, even for a moment, on a changing table. Your child could quickly roll off, sustaining serious injury.
As stated earlier, bumper pads are not recommended for the crib because of the suffocation risk they pose to sleeping babies. If you must use a bumper pad, remove it when your toddler begins pulling up to prevent her from using it as a step to climb out of the crib. Don't leave toys in the crib for the same reason.
Cover electrical outlets with self-closing outlet plates. Avoid using plastic push plugs as they may pose a choking hazard if dislodged.
Avoid plugging anything into an outlet within reach of the crib.
The rubber tips on baseboard door stops can be easily removed by babies and pose a choking hazard. Replace these door stops with solid, one-piece door stops in the nursery and throughout the home.
Secure bookcases and dressers to the walls with brackets or furniture straps.
Do not hang pictures or mirrors above the changing table or crib as these may become dislodged and cause injury.
Windows should remain closed and locked. If you must open the window, install window locks which prevent the window from opening more than four inches. A screen is designed to keep bugs out—it is not designed to prevent a child from falling out. Install window guards if you plan to open the window more than four inches.
Master and Other Bedrooms
The master bedroom and all bedrooms should have the same safety features as the rest of the house.
Check the floor daily for dropped items that may pose a choking hazard to your baby or toddler.
Empty nightstands of medication, sewing materials, cosmetics, jewelry, buttons, manicure tools, batteries, and other dangerous items.
NEVER KEEP FIREARMS IN A HOME WITH SMALL CHILDREN. IF YOU MUST, KEEP THE FIREARM EITHER DISMANTLED, ALWAYS UNLOADED, SECURED WITH A TRIGGER LOCK, OR KEEP IT LOCKED IN A GUN SAFE.
If any piece of furniture seems unstable, it should be anchored to the wall. For example, a toddler can topple a bookcase by climbing up the shelves.
Install padded elastic toddler shields on your coffee tables to help protect your children when they fall. If glass tabletops are used, the glass should be made of tempered glass or replaced with Plexiglas
Remove pedestal type tables. These tables are easily toppled by a child who pushes, pulls, or climbs on the edge of the tabletop. Serious injury can occur.
Televisions should be secured with TV straps or mounted on the wall out of a child’s reach.
Remove small objects from lower shelves. These may pose a choking hazard.
Fireplace Hearths should be padded or completely blocked off with a gate. Padding helps protect your child from the hearth edge, while a gate protects babies from both the hearth edge and the danger of the fire itself.
Many gas fireplaces use small rocks, lava stones, or pebbles to surround the burner assembly. Ensure these items remain out of reach as they all pose a choking risk to a curious baby or toddler.
Stow logs, matches, and fireplace tools out of reach.
Stairways and Banisters
Keep stairs clear of clutter that may pose a tripping hazard while carrying your baby.
Safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs should be securely mounted to the wall and have a locking handle that can be operated with one hand. Never use a pressure gate on stairs.
Banister posts should be no more than four inches apart. Larger openings permit children to slip through or become lodged. Palmetto Childproofing recommends and installs Plexiglas panels on stair balconies, both interior and exterior.
Do not place furniture near a balcony. A child could climb on the furniture and fall over the balcony.
Laundry Room and Garage
Keep all cleaning products and hazardous materials high out of reach or securely latched in a cabinet.
The garage should be off limits, at all times, to toddlers.
Use only garage door openers with automatic stopping devices. These doors will automatically reopen if they sense an obstruction.
Drowning has become the # 1 cause of death among children under the age of 14, and near drowning can result in brain damage to a child.
Install a fence around the pool. The fence should completely surround the pool, be at least four feet tall, and have self-latching, self-closing gates.
Never leave a child unobserved in a pool. Adult supervision is essential and a caregiver's eyes must be on the child at all times.
If a child is missing, always look in the pool or hot tub first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability.
If you choose to enroll a child under age 4 in a water safety course or learn-to-swim program, know that this is primarily a way for you and your child to have fun together in the water. It will not make your child "drown-proof", but will teach important behaviors about water safety such as not pushing, running, diving in shallow water, or swimming alone.
If you're using a chain link fence, ensure the openings are 1 x 1-inch so children cannot use the openings to climb up and get access to the pool.
Consider using a gated alarm and/or closed circuit camera to monitor entry into the pool area.
Child Safety Seats: Choose the correct child safety seat for your child's age and weight.
Register your child safety seat by filling out the manufacturer's registration card and mailing it in. This is the only way to be notified if there is a recall or problem.
Install your child safety seat correctly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions EXACTLY or better yet, have your child safety seat installed by a National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration (NHTSA) certified installer. A seat that is not installed correctly will not offer your child the best protection in the event of a crash.
Always buckle your child into a child safety seat EVERYTIME your child rides in the car-no exceptions. The harness should be snug and the chest clip should be at the level of the child's armpits.
Infants should ride in a rear-facing seat until they are AT LEAST 20 pounds and one year-longer if possible.
If your child safety seat is in use and a crash occurs, retire it and purchase a new one. Damage to the seat may not be visible and can render the seat unsafe.
NHTSA estimates that proper use of car seats could prevent up to 71% of deaths and 67% of injuries sustained in accidents.
Toys: Everyone who buys toys should remember that playthings are safe only when they are chosen according to a child's age, interest and skill level.
Discard the plastic wrappings from the toys immediately before they become deadly playthings.
Teach older children to keep toys designed for them away from babies and toddlers. Many toys for older children contain small parts that pose a choking hazard for children under 3 years of age.
Decorating With Plants: Some plants can be toxic. Know the names of all plants in your home and garden. The website www.calpoison.org is an excellent resource for identifying safe and toxic plants. In some cases, ingestion of poisonous plants may include symptoms such as nausea, burns in the mouth and on the hands, a burning throat, convulsions, gastric upset, dizziness, unconsciousness, cold, clammy sweats, difficulty in breathing and other symptoms.
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