Child Safety in the Home
Everyone wants to keep their child safe, and in today’s commercial-driven society, child safety is easier than ever. There are countless products on the market geared toward child-proofing your home. Depending on the child’s age, the dangers can change and vary with time.
Newborns and infants who cannot yet crawl may not be a moving target, but there are still dangers in the home associated with this age group. Often, babies learn very earlier to turn over and “scoot,” therefore it’s vital that their crib is properly put together and free of clutter, such as stuffed animals or unused blankets. Check if there are any exposed screws, staples or wood splinters. You can also consider putting your baby in a sleeper to keep them warm rather than using a blanket during the night. It’s a good idea to also thoroughly check all of your baby’s toys. They should be free of small parts, which could be swallowed.
Once a child learns to crawl or walk, he or she will begin to explore more than ever before. A child at this age will typically prize their sense of touch and taste. Chemicals, such as bleach, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, should be placed on higher shelves or in closed cabinetry with child-proof locks. Likewise, medicines and vitamin supplements should be stored out of reach. This is also a good time to consider purchasing a playpen, baby gate, and outlet covers or plugs.
When your child starts calling him- or herself a “big kid” and begins wanting to do things “by myself,” this probably means they are old enough to climb and reach. Children over the age of four will begin to test boundaries, climbing on furniture, turning knobs and pressing buttons. It’s very important to make sure all furniture and appliances are sturdy and secured to the wall or floor. Furniture that can tip is a hazard to a curious child. If your stove has knobs within reach of small hands, children should be supervised at all times while in the kitchen. It’s also wise to check that all utensils, especially sharp ones like steak knives, are put out of reach and, preferably, out of sight. By adolescence, many parents may be ready to relax their guards. Just because there’s no longer a need for baby gates and outlet plugs doesn’t mean there aren’t still safety issues to consider. Older children should be aware of your family emergency plans. It’s also a good idea to discuss with your child what to do in case of a fire, earthquake, tornado or other natural disaster.