Tips for Keeping Children Safe
Posted on March 29, 2017 by CHS
One of the most important things you will do for your child is to make your home a safe place to grow and learn. Young children will always need supervision, but if you take the time to make the environment as safe as you can it will help prevent injuries.
Start by looking at each room of your home the way a child would. Lie down on your stomach and prop yourself up on your elbows and arms. Look around for anything that might look interesting to a young child such as a dangling cord, electrical outlet, sliding glass door, drawers to pull out, or spaces that can be crawled into.
Make a list of the things you see that could be a potential hazard to your child and then you can either fix or remove the problems. As children grow it may be necessary to change your safety equipment. For example, once a child can climb over a baby gate, you will need to find a different way to make that space safe.
Make sure to explain the reasons behind safety measures to children. This helps them understand what is, or is not, safe. In time they will develop a sense of personal safety and be able to evaluate the safety of a place or activity on their own. Start with simple explanations such as:
- It is my job to keep you safe. You can help me by staying where I can see you.
- Hold my hand (sit in the stroller) so we can stay together and be safe. There are a lot of people here today and it would be easy to get lost.
- Everyone buckle your seatbelt. It keeps us safely in the car.
Be prepared to repeat explanations often. Children learn through repetition. Encourage them to actively help you keep them safe. Invite them to do a safety walk in the house with you and look for things that are broken or might not be safe.
The following are basic safety tips to help you protect your child from accidents or injuries. There are also a number of resources you can link to at the bottom of this page.
Tips for Indoor Safety:
- Install smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors and test them once a month.
- Use safety covers on any electrical outlet that is not in use.
- Use plastic door knob covers or baby gates to prevent young children from entering unsafe rooms, or stairs.
- Place plastic door knob covers on front and back doors to prevent children from leaving the home without your knowledge.
- Install safety locks on windows, sliding doors, cupboards, and drawers.
- Use wall straps or brackets to attach furniture or flat screen televisions securely to walls. This will prevent them from tipping over.
- Use clothes pins or cord winders to keep blind cords out of reach.
- If you have furniture with sharp corners you can cover the corners with foam.
- Use decorative window clings on sliding glass doors to make the glass visible.
- Remove strings that could be choking or strangulation hazards from the clothes of infants and toddlers.
- Choose appropriate toys for your child’s age. If you can drop a toy through the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels it is too small for a child under three.
- Create a safe sleep environment for your baby by using this checklist
- Make sure that cleaning supplies, medications, and sharp objects are inaccessible to children; preferably in a locked cupboard.
- The bathroom can be a potentially hazardous place. Use a plastic door knob cover to make the room inaccessible.
- If you have a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washing machine, or dryer and you cannot block that space off from a child with a baby gate, then install safety latches to keep children from crawling inside them.
- If you live in a two-story home or upper level apartment make sure each bedroom has an escape ladder for the windows.
- If you own a firearm, store it in a locked metal box with the ammunition in a separate location.
Tips for Safety Outdoors and in Cars:
- Make sure the plants in your outdoor areas are not poisonous. If you are not sure what plants may be poisonous you can contact the California Poison Control System for assistance at 1-800-222-1222. The California Poison Control System can answer questions about poisons, medications, animal bites, insect bites, and give you directions for a poison emergency.
- If you have a pool or hot tub, make sure it has a cover that is child proof and can support the weight of an adult. The safest option is to have it enclosed with a five foot tall fence that has a locking gate.
- Fence in patios and yards and use locks on gates to prevent children from leaving unsupervised.
- Before your child plays outside, check the area for anything dangerous that may have been tossed over your fence or fallen. Then make sure there is no standing water in low areas or containers that could be a drowning hazard.
- When visiting parks check the play area for dangerous items and test the temperature of the play equipment.
- Always use the appropriate car seat for your child and never leave him alone in the car. See the resources on car seat safety and preventing heat stroke below.
Following these tips will make your child’s environment safer and prevent many accidents and injuries. If you received a crib, baby gate, or other items second-hand you can check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to see if they have been recalled. Explore the resources below for more information.
- Safety: Protecting Children Through Prevention brochure by CHS https://www.chs-ca.org/_docs/FEP_Safety_Eng_print.pdf
- Safety Checklists for the Home from Kids Health http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/household-checklist.html
- Safe Sleep for Your Baby https://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/Documents/Safe_Sleep_Environment_English.pdf
- Car Seat Safety http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/auto-baby-toddler.html?ref=search#catoutdoor-esp
- Car Safety: Preventing Heatstroke http://www.kidsandcars.org/files/2016/07/LBYL_English_both_25Mar2015-small.pdf
- Playground Safety http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/playground.html#
- Water Safety http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/water-safety.html#catoutdoor-esp
- Emergency Contact Sheet http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/emergency-contact.html
- First Aid Kit Supplies http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/firstaid-kit.html#catoutdoor-esp
- Consumer Product Safety Commission https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Guides/Sports-Fitness-and-Recreation/Playground-Safety/Public-Playground-Safety-Checklist/
- California Poison Control System http://www.calpoison.org/