Home Safe home

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Indoors or out – keep up with child safety at your house!

Indoors

Children are a wonderful part of life. Their day-to-day life is an adventure. These grand experiences are always fun, but there are those moments when parenthood gets tough. Your baby is learning how to crawl or your toddler is testing his strength. Whatever the situation may be, your home itself can pose several safety hazards for your child and it is important to be prepared.

The simplest, little thing can quickly become harmful to little ones if the right steps to child proofing your home have not been taken. The American Academy of Pediatrics (aap.org) recommends the following safety measures – among others – be taken to help prevent injury to young children inside the home:

Plug the Plugs

It is inevitable, young children will find the tiniest of places to stick their fingers, especially wall outlets. So, it is important to install safety plugs in all unused electrical outlets so little fingers will not be tempted to be stuck in them. These little protectors are made to be very difficult to remove, even for some parents, so it will help deter him from trying to stick his finger in the socket. However, some children will not give up and will continue their search for an uncovered outlet. If this is a recurring problem, consider putting a sturdy piece of furniture in front of the outlet.

Poisonous Plants

Greenery around the home is refreshing, but there are many risks when you have little ones around. Plants on the floor, on low tables or in the window  seem to be a magnet for little ones. They are curious about those green leaves dangling and want to swat at them. Sometimes they will even grab them and you know what that means … straight to the mouth they go! Parents should be aware that many household plants are poisonous and should be placed high up off the floor – or at least out of reach from Baby – or completely removed from the home. If you are unsure of the plants that you have, you can call your regional Poison Help Line and they can help (800-222-1222).

Treat the Window Treatments

Another dangling excitement for little ones is the cords found on window treatments. Cords used for blinds or to pull back curtains should be installed to wrap around wall mounts so that they are not left dangling. Cords that are made to be looped should be cut in two. These loose cords are enticing to young children and they can tangle themselves up in them, which in turn provides a choking hazard.

Secure Tall Furniture

If you have towering book cases or dressers, free-standing closets or armoires, consider securing them to the wall. This added stability will not only keep them sturdy, but also prevent them from falling over on children should they try to pull up on them. Dressers also pose another safety hazard as children learn how to open and close drawers. Those little fingers may know how to maneuver the drawer, but they probably don’t know how to be moved out of the way and could get smashed. Entertainment stands are another great risk as the use of monstrous TVs sweeps the nation!  Big TVs should be placed on super sturdy stands or mounted securely to the wall.

– Kiera Ashford

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Outdoors

Hot, sunny days are best spent outdoors. Take the kids swimming. Hike in the woods. Pack a picnic. Take a laid-back approach. But not when it comes to safety. Emergencies strike without warning. When they do, a swift, smart response is critical. Here’s how to stay safe.

SITUATION: Heat

Prolonged exposure to heat can cause a potentially fatal heat stroke. Symptoms include nausea, fatigue, headache, dizziness and difficulty breathing. Infants and athletes are especially susceptible. Dehydration increases risk, because the body can’t cool itself through perspiration. Body temperature can reach 106 degrees. It’s best to stay out of the mid-day sun. Keep hydrated and avoid caffeine, which is a natural diuretic. WHAT TO DO: In an overheating emergency, get the victim into an air-conditioned building or find shade fast. Call 911. Put on a wet shirt to speed cooling. Apply ice packs to the armpits or groin. Monitor body temperature until help arrives.

SITUATION: Lightning

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), lightning causes 200 deaths and 750 severe injuries each year. Most victims are children and young men. Lightning can strike even when it isn’t raining, and up to 10 miles away from a storm. Contrary to popular belief, lightning often hits the same site repeatedly. Take weather alerts seriously. When a storm is brewing, go inside or get in the car. Rubber tires will not protect you, but you’re safer inside a metal-roofed vehicle than outside. Stay away from trees, fences, electric and light poles and water. WHAT TO DO: If lightning hits someone, call 911. Move the victim if possible. Wait until 30 minutes after lighting ends to go back outside.

SITUATION: Pests and Plants

People who are allergic to insect stings can have life-threatening reactions. The area around the bite may swell and – in rare cases of anaphylaxis – the person may have difficulty breathing, dizziness, hives, swelling of the face, throat or mouth, or a sharp drop in blood pressure. Pollen-related allergic reactions are usually easier to predict, but allergy-induced asthma can be deadly. Avoid triggers. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. Hike in the middle of the trail where you’re less likely to disturb pests in their nests or touch poison ivy. WHAT TO DO: Use insect repellent with DEET. Severely allergic individuals should also carry an epi-pen, and make sure you know how to use it.

SITUATION: Water

Drowning causes 30 percent of injury-related deaths in young children, according to Centers for Disease Control data. Most incidents happen in residential pools, but buckets and bathtubs are dangerous, too. Boating emergencies also peak in summer months. Supervise kids near water and use approved life preservers – water wings and blow-up toys are not enough!  Wear life preservers consistently. Safety equipment can’t protect you if you don’t use it. Head to shore before dark to avoid hitting hazards. WHAT TO DO: In a drowning emergency, get the person out quickly. Check for breathing. Use rescue breathing and CPR if needed. If vomiting occurs, turn the victim on his side to prevent choking.

Don’t let the long, lazy days of summer make you vulnerable to outdoor emergencies. Plan ahead. Take precautions. Play safe. And be ready to respond if danger develops. A cool head is the best resource in any crisis.

– Heidi Smith Luedtke

Kiera Ashford is the Managing Editor of Cincinnati Family Magazine, and a mother of two.

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