(Family Features) Every year, more than 2,200 children die from injuries that occur at home, according to estimates from Safe Kids Worldwide. While every parent knows that accidents can and do happen, there are many areas of the home where some preventive steps can help reduce the risk.
Go throughout your home to check for these common risk factors and implement corrective actions based on advice from the experts at Safe Kids.
- Although it may be tempting to hold a fussy child while working in the kitchen, a safer alternative is a high chair where they can see all the action but be safely out of harm’s way. Place the chair or seat on the floor to avoid possible toppling from atop a counter or furniture, and use the provided straps as instructed to prevent falls and strangulation hazards.
- Keep pan handles turned inward, out of reach of little hands, and before opening the oven door, ensure little ones are a safe distance away, putting your own body between the child and the oven so you can prevent any sudden lunges.
- Use the rear burners when possible and keep dishes filled with hot food out of reach on counters or table tops.
- Always check the water temperature before placing a child in the bathtub. Remember that small children cannot tolerate the same level of heat that many adults enjoy.
- Use a minimal amount of water in the tub, as drowning can occur in as little as a couple of inches. Drain the tub as soon as you are finished.
- Reduce access to other water sources by closing toilet lids and keeping bathroom and laundry room doors closed.
- Immediately unplug and store items such as hair dryers, curling irons and straight irons, which can retain heat long after being turned off and pose an added strangulation danger with dangling cords.
- Keep medication out of reach and always use the intended dosing devices. Common kitchen spoons vary greatly, so using these to measure a medication may be imprecise and result in over or under medicating.
- Prevent window falls and injuries by installing window guards and stops. Remember that windows located upstairs should have an emergency release in case of fire.
- Eliminate dangling cords from blinds, either by hooking cords out of reach or using an alternative window covering.
- When possible, place heavy items on low, sturdy furniture and use safety brackets, braces and wall straps to attach furniture and large items like TVs to the wall to prevent tipping.
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases to prevent falls.
- Ensure gates are securely attached on both sides and review manufacturer instructions to verify gates are constructed for their intended use. For example, not all gates are intended for use at the top of stairs and may give way under pressure.
- Products containing harmful chemicals, such as cleaners, should be stored out of reach, but also out of sight to avoid temptation.
- Keep products in their original containers, which include instructions for proper use and guidance on what do to if ingested, rubbed in eyes, etc. This also helps ensure items are not mistaken for something else and used dangerously.
Find more tips for safer living at eLivingToday.com.