You hold the key to giving children the chance to grow up in the comfort of a safe home by preventing the five most common home injuries:
Use the blueprint below as your guide to help keep children safe at home.
- Keep the crib free of large blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys. The sheet should fit tightly on the mattress, and the mattress should fit snugly against the crib. There should be no more than 2 3/8 inches between crib slats.
- Install a smoke detector in or near every sleeping area and on each level of the home. Check them once a month and change the batteries twice a year. Call Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health to learn about fire safety products for children with disabilities or special health care needs.
- Place a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home. Check them monthly and change the batteries according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Check the temperature before running water over a child's skin. Set the water heater temperature to 120° F. Install anti-scald devices on sink faucets and tub spouts.
- Never leave a child alone in or around water, including the bathtub. A cordless phone allows you to answer calls without leaving the room, but should not distract your attention from a child.
- Store all medicines, cleaners, and other poisons in their original containers and locked out of a child's reach.
- Install safety latches on all windows above ground level. Use a window cord wrap to help keep blinds and drapery cords out of a child's reach.
- Secure a baby gate at the top and bottom of all stairways. The gate should fit snugly between the walls, not propped against the stairs.
- Use caution when taking hot food and drinks from the microwave. Test food and drinks to make sure they are cool before giving to a child.
- Teach children to wear safety gear - helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads - each time they ride their bikes, scooters, and other wheeled toys.
Here are more ways you can prevent the five most common injuries to children from happening in your home.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that can cause serious illness, even death. Have a trained professional inspect and clean appliances and heating systems. Install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home and test it monthly.
Install childproof safety latches on the medicine cabinet and other places where poisons are stored. Always store poisons in their original containers and out of a child's reach. In a poisoning emergency, call the Poison Control Center at 1.800.222.1222.
Prevent fires and burns
Practice a family fire escape plan with two ways out of each room and a safe meeting place outside. Tell the fire department if your child may require special assistance.
Lock up matches and lighters out of a child's reach. Keep cigarettes, gasoline, and other flammable products away from children.
When cooking on the stove top, use the back burners and turn pan handles toward the center. Never leave food cooking unattended.
Use a thermometer to check that bath water is 96-100° F before putting a child in the tub.
Never leave a child unattended in or around water. Take him with you to respond to a distraction or emergency.
Children can drown in common household objects like bathroom toilets, wading pools, and cleaning buckets. Install toilet locks to help prevent young children from drowning. Empty all water containers, including buckets and wading pools, after each use. Install a five-foot locking fence around the swimming pool or hot tub.
Prevent choking and suffocation
Place an infant on her back to sleep in a safe crib. Keep extra blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and stuffed toys out of baby's crib.
Toys that fit in a cardboard toilet paper roll are too small and are a choking hazard for a young child. Read the labels to make sure toys are appropriate for your child's age.
Install a safety gate at the top and bottom of all stairways. Never use a pressure-fit gate at the top of the stairs. Instead choose a gate that requires mounting hardware.
Keep furniture and other objects that can be used for climbing away from windows. Window screens will not prevent falls. Install safety latches on all windows above ground level.
Remember, adult supervision of children is the best way to prevent home injuries.
For more information on making your home a safe place for children, call the Riley Hospital for Children Safety Store at Indiana University Health 1.888.365.2022 (toll free).
Produced by Riley Hospital for Children Child Advocacy Center at Indiana University Health