The Potential Dangers In The Home and How to Prevent Them
Every parent wants to give his child a safe home, a place to live and grow that is free from foreseeable danger and harm. Your efforts in child-proofing your home have a double benefit: they protect your youngster from physical harm and also establish a consciousness about general safety she can use wherever she goes.
The risk of injuries increases dramatically once your child is able crawl and walk. With physical mobility comes an enhanced sense of curiosity and an intense desire to explore the world. Before he even begins to crawl, go through your home at her own level-literally, on your hands and knees, or even better, on your stomach-searching and looking out for hazards that might attract his attention. Make your home as safe as possible for your young child, so you can also avoid having to say "No" all the time.
Also remember that dangers and hazards change constantly according to your child's age and development. Childproofing your home is continuing process with different requirements for each stage of development. Parents must not only recognize present dangers but anticipate those to come.
Remember too that moods, general temperament and circumstances of your family have an important influence on your child's safety. Accidents and injuries are most likely to occur:
- When children are so hungry or thirsty, they are most likely to drink or eat anything within their reach. Many poisonings take place just before meal times.
- When children and parents are tired, usually before nap or sleep time.
- When mothers are pregnant or parents are ill and not able to fully supervise the children with their usual patience.
- When children are overactive and don't allow enough time to do things.
- When the family routine is upset or changed suddenly by moves, long trips and vacations.
- When baby-sitter is not properly trained to supervise the child.
Possible Danger : Falls
They are common in the home at every age and a major cause of injury. Make sure your floors are not slippery.
- Keep them clean and dry, and don't wax them to a high gloss. Wipe spilled liquids immediately.
- Keep carpets and area rugs anchored firmly in place.
- Install safety gates at the top and bottom of all stairways if you have children under three.
- Make sure steps and stairs are kept uncluttered to avoid tripping. They should also be well-lit and have hand rails on both sides, if possible.
- Bathroom falls can also be prevented by installing grab bars and rubber mats inside tubs and showers.
- Baby walkers have been the cause of serious falling injuries and should be avoided.
Possible Danger : Suffocation
Infants are susceptible to suffocation. Parents must stay constantly alert to this danger and learn to take the following precautions.
- Never put your infant to sleep on a water bed, bean bag or soft pillow or cushion. Don't put large pillows and stuffed toys inside his crib.
- Keep plastic bags out of your child's reach.
- Never suspend toys across a crib or playpen or tie playthings onto them. Don't tie pacifiers around a child's neck. Crib mobiles should be kept at a safe distance and removed once she can already pull herself up.
- Never leave your infant unattended with a feeding bottle propped up in his mouth.
- Never let your child run with food in his mouth. Small toys present the same dangers. Make sure small round objects such as marbles, buttons, coins or pebbles are kept away from his reach.
Possible Danger : Poisoning
Most poisonings take place in the home and involve children under five eating and drinking toxic substances left carelessly left within reach. The following substance should be stored where a child can't get them. They should be locked away high up and out of reach.
Soaps and detergents, cleansers, dyes, bleaches, insecticides, solvents, paint thinners, gasoline, charcoal starter, matches, fertilizers, pesticides, paint, varnish, waxes and polishes, aspirin, laxatives, rubbing alcohol, boric acid, prescription and OTC drugs, herbal and home remedies, mothballs, disinfectants, glue and other chemicals.
Possible Danger : Fires and Burns
Fire poses a serious threat to everyone in the family as well as children. Smoke inhalation is a particular hazard, causing more deaths than burns.
- Smoke detectors offer your family the single most effective protection. Install one on every level of your home. Test them every six months to make sure they are working properly. If batteries are needed, replace them regularly.
- Teach your child, as soon as he's old enough, about what to do in case of fire and review it to him frequently.
- Have an escape plan and practice it frequently with your household. Also figure out other escape routes. Establish a meeting place outside the home where you can convene and be counted. Emphasize that no one should go back to a burning house for any reason.
- Teach children to crawl low in smoke, keeping their heads down.
- If their clothing should catch fire, tell them to stop, drop and roll. Make sure they understand that the fire will only grow stronger if they run.
- If you live in an apartment building, use the stairs and never the elevator to escape.
- Make sure the electrical wiring in your home is sound.
- Never overload circuits. Be cautious about using extension cords and multiple sockets.
- Keep electrical appliances out of reach, away from water and unplugged when not in use.
- If you smoke, keep lighters and matches out of sight and reach and never smoke in bed.
- Use a fire screen in front of your fire place.
- With burns, make sure your child understands that burns can hurt and that he is to stay away from the stove, heaters, open flames, hot liquids, matches and cigarettes.
- Always use the back burner when cooking or whenever possible. Keep high chairs away from the stove.
- Block off unused electrical outlets with childproof covers or heavy electrical tapes. Teach your child never to stick keys, pins and other metal objects and things into an outlet.
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