You’ve already child proofed the cabinets, covered electric outlets and put dangerous objects and chemicals out of reach. But reduce the risk of injuries further, be aware of areas and objects in your home that may seem safe, but could actually be dangerous.
Dishwashers An open dishwasher gives a child easy access to sharp knives and forks, and dishwashing detergent can be poisonous if ingested. To prevent accidents, you should point all sharp items down in the utensil basket in addition to keeping the machine latched shut when it is not being loaded. Keep dishwashing soap in a high cabinet outside of your child’s reach.
Secondhand toys and equipment Used toys can have missing or broken parts that could injure a child. Older items may no longer meet current safety standards or could have been the subject of a recall. Before allowing your child to play with any used toys, you will need to inspect all of their parts. Do not let your child play with any painted toys that are several decades old, as they may contain lead. It’s better to have a few toys that work and challenge your child that to have a ton of toys in poor condition.
Windows Do not allow children near open windows unsupervised, and do not depend on screens to keep them from falling outside. Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent children from gaining access to them. Although not in the home, the same logic applies to power windows in cars as well. Enable the lock function to keep children from operating the windows and possibly crushing their fingers.
Cleaning Materials: While you would never leave chemicals within your child’s reach, it’s easy to become distracted in the middle of a chore. Never leave a bucket with any liquid where your child can get it. Toddlers will still put anything in their mouth. And they are also “top heavy”. If they stick their head in a bucket they can be unable to pull out. Buckets are a poison or drowning accident waiting to happen.
Since 1973, more than 110 children have choked to death when chewing on or blowing up latex balloons. “Latex balloons are one of the worst things to choke on because they can conform to a child’s throat and completely block breathing,” explains Mariann Manno, MD, associate professor of clinical pediatrics and emergency medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, in Worcester. Buy Mylar balloons instead of latex ones. Always supervise children playing with latex balloons, and never allow biting or chewing on balloons. Don’t let children blow up latex balloons until 8 years old, and then watch closely to make sure they don’t accidentally inhale one. When a balloon pops, immediately throw away the pieces.
Kitchen Stove/ Range
Toddlers have been critically injured when they tipped over a stove and were doused with a pot of scalding water. Make sure free-standing or slide-in ranges are installed with anti-tip brackets that secure the rear legs to the floor. Manufacturers are required to provide these brackets on ranges made after 1991, but you can contact the company for the parts, or order them from an appliance-parts store. Keep the oven door closed when not using the oven, and never allow your child to lean on or climb on the range or oven door.
Fluffy comforters and bumper pads These are so cute and many people do not want to give these up but soft bedding can mold around babies’ faces and suffocate them. Although deaths from SIDS have dropped dramatically thanks to the widely publicized “Back to Sleep” as many as 900 infants suffocate in soft bedding each year, Place babies on their backs on a firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting mattress pad and sheet. Don’t put pillows, comforters, thick bumper pads, or soft toys in the crib until they are a year old. Keep them warm with a lightweight blanket tucked tightly around the mattress, or dress them in a blanket sleeper.
Most accidents are caused by moments of opportunity and curiousity and can be prevented with planning and watchfulness.
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