Home is where children grow and learn and it is the place where they find comfort and the freedom to touch, explore and experience the world around them as they develop. Most importantly, home is also the place where children need to feel safe.
Home injuries are a leading source of accidental death in children. According to the Home Safety Council, close to 21 million medical visits and 20,000 deaths each year are the results of accidents that occur in the home. The media brings attention to some of the possible accidents that can occur, such as dog bites and pool drowning.
Many home injuries are completely avoidable through education and prevention. Parents can take proactive steps to childproof their home and keep their children as safe as possible by teaching them some practical safety tips as well as practicing some of these safety measures themselves.
Playing in and around water is fun for many children, yet water presents many possible dangers. Drowning can occur in less than an inch of water, making bathtubs, sinks, pools, nearby lakes or other bodies of water, small fishponds, and even buckets are a source of potential danger. Never leave a child unattended near water, even for just a few seconds. If a doorbell or phone rings and you must walk away from the child that is in or near water, pick the child up and take them with you. Make sure you have a fence around the pool or any pond and consider an alarm system on doors that lead outside. Hot tubs should always be covered and children’s pools should be emptied when playtime is over. Burns from hot water are also a potential concern. Test bath temperatures before lowering a child into the water.
Other tips to keep children safe in the home include:
- Keep detergents, medicines, toiletries, perfumes, household cleaning supplies, and any other potentially poisonous substances locked away and/or out of the reach of children.
- If you have a firearm in the home, keep them unloaded and stored in a gun safe, locked cabinet or other secured storage location that is completely inaccessible by a child. Also, talk to children about the dangers of guns.
- Childproof your home by covering electrical sockets, repair or replace damaged electrical cords, keep children away from electrical appliances, do not use radio or hair dryer near water, and teach children to respect electricity and the dangers of it.
- Keep small items and food out of reach to avoid any possibility of a child choking on something.
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Secure windows, block stairways and lock doors.
- Keep sleeping areas bare to avoid suffocation. Also store away plastic bags and any other items that could lead to a child’s suffocation.
- Keep children safe around any family pet(s).