If there’s one thing that concerns new parents – okay, there are a million things – but if there’s one area that outshines the rest, it’s the safety of a child. There are plenty of things in the home to be concerned about when you bring home a baby, but it gets even worse as your kids begin to crawl, walk, and get into everything. So even if you outfit your entire place with bumpers and outlet covers, it won’t be long before your curious kids find new dangers around every corner. So if you’ve resolved to address safety concerns for your infants, toddlers, or older children in 2012, here are a few home safety tips you may want to consider.
- Falls and falling objects. The most common cause of accidental injury and death for children in the home is falling or being hit by falling objects. As your kids start to stand on wobbly legs, their inclination is to climb. They may use any objects in the environment to pull themselves upright (couches, tables, shelves, and so on) and this can cause unstable furnishings or items atop them to fall on small children. And of course, they are often keen to grab interesting objects that are out of reach, which means they will find ways to climb. A fall from couch level may not hurt an adult, but it can definitely be detrimental to small children. So look for areas that kids might grab or climb and find ways to block them off.
- Fire. Burns and fire are another common household hazard. While it’s easy enough to keep toddlers away from the stove with a baby gate that blocks entrance to the kitchen, a fire in the home will threaten the whole family. However, it is easy to prepare for a fire by replacing batteries in smoke alarms every six months (use the time change to remind you), planning escape routes, and placing fire extinguishers at exits, on stairways, and in potentially hazardous areas (like the kitchen). Make sure to check their gauges frequently.
- Poison. Common household chemicals and medications can be extremely dangerous for kids, and keeping them on high shelves may not be enough to keep your kids safe (as evidences by the aforementioned urge to climb). So place household cleaners, bug repellent, prescription medication, cosmetic items, and even alcohol in high cabinets with child-safety locks (or actual locks).
- Choking/suffocation. Most parents are well aware of the hazard posed by plastic bags and therefor keep them away from kids or simply throw them in the trash. But choking and suffocation threats are all around. Even a fluffy blanket could be dangerous. So look at objects in your home and determine if they could pose such a risk for your kids. If you think they could, you’re better off getting rid of them.
- Weapons. While a home security system will help to protect you and your children from outside intruders, it won’t keep your kids safe from the weapons that are in the house with them. If you feel that you need to keep weapons in your home for protection, make sure to keep them properly stored (guns unloaded and ammo stored separately, for example) and out of reach. Locking them up in a safe is even better.