Is your home a safe place for your child? The American Academy of Pediatrics developed the following checklist to help you prevent serious injury or even death. This checklist is just the beginning...research home safety at your local library or on the Internet.
Your Child's Bedroom
- Never leave your child unattended. Keep needed supplies within arm's reach. Try to keep a hand on your infant at all times.
- Make sure your drapes and blind cords are out of reach since loose cords can strangle young children. Check the cords in your other rooms as well. Keep the cords tied up high without loops.
- If you use baby powder, pour it carefully. Keep the powder away from your baby's face. (Reports have indicated that talc or even cornstarch can injure a baby's lungs.)
- Lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). All healthy babies younger than 1 year should sleep on their backs at all times, including naptime and at night.
- A crib with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet is the safest place for your baby to sleep.
- Keep pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins and stuffed toys out of your baby's crib since they can cover the baby's face.
- Don't put bulky items in your baby's crib. your baby could use them as a step for climbing out of the crib.
- Don't hang anything with strings or ribbon over your baby's crib.
- Make sure the crib has no raised corner posts or cutouts. Don't put loose clothing on your baby since it can snag and even strangle your baby.
- Slats on your crib should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. Widely spaced slats are dangerous because your baby can get his or her head caught in them.
- Use a mattress that fits snugly in the crib so your baby cannot slip between the sides of the crib.
- Tighten all the screws, bolts and other hardware so the crib is sturdy and will not collapse.
Other Bedroom Safety Features
- Night-light. Keep night-lights away from drapes or bedding where they can start a fire. Buy only cool night-lights that do not get hot.
- Smoke alarms. Install smoke alarms outside every bedroom (or any sleeping area), in furnace areas and on every level of your home, including the basement.
- Buy alarms with long-like lithium batteries Standard batteries should be changed every year. Remember to test your alarms every month to make sure they are working.
- Window Guards. Make sure your window guards are secured to prevent a child from falling out the window.
- Outlets. Use plug protectors in all outlets of your home to orevent your child from being burned or shocked from sticking his or her finger or other objects into the outlet.
- Toy chest. The best toy chest is to use is a box or basket without a lid. If you have a toy chest with a lid, make sure it has hinges that hold the lid open so your child's fingers will not be pinched. In addition, the toy chest should have air holes in case your child gets trapped inside.
- Humidifier. Use a cool-mist humidifier that will avoid burns. Clean it often since bacteria and mold will grow in it.
- Use a cabinet with child locks to store knives or other sharp utensils, as well as dishwasher detergent and other cleaning supplies.
- Keep chairs and stools away from counters and the stove to prevent your child from climbing on them and falling.
- Keep your child away from the stove when you are cooking.
- On your stove, use the back burners. Point pot handles toward the back of your stove to keep them out of your child's reach.
- Keep electrical appliances-and appliance cords-out of your child's reach and unplugged when not in use.
- Make sure your child's high chair is sturdy and has a seat belt with a crotch strap.
- Put a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure it works, and know how to use it.
- When your child is in the bathtub, always stay within an arms reach. Bathtub drowning often occurs when a parent leaves an infant or child alone with another child.
- Keep the bathroom door closed when it's not being used. Keep the toilet seat down, and consider using a toilet lid latch. Use a doorknob cover to keep your child out of the bathroom when you're not there.
- For the safety of you and your child, use a nonskid bath mat on the floor.
- Keep all medicines, toiletries, cosmetics and cleaning supplies out of the reach of your child. Store these items in cabinets with child locks Make sure all medicines have child-resistant caps on them.
- Keep hair dryers, curling irons and other electrical appliances unplugged and out of your child's reach.
- Make sure bathroom outlets have ground fault interrupters (GFIs).
- Check your water temperature. To avoid burns, the water temperature should be no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. (Many times, to change the temperature, you can adjust the hot water heater.)
The Family Room
- Pad the edges and corners of tables.
- Keep houseplants out of your child's reach. Some can be poisonous.
- Secure your TV and other heavy items so they won't tip over.
- Check all electrical cords. Frayed, worn or damaged cords should be replaced. Never overload outlets. Cords should run behind furniture and not hand down so that children can pull them. Remove any cords you are not using.
- Put a barrier around the fireplace or other hot sources.
- Store matches and lighters out of your child's reach or in a cabinet with child locks.
- Teach your child that lighters and matches are only for adults.