Two of the Three Leading Causes for ER Visits Occur in the Home
Every parent wants their children to grow up healthy and strong in the place where they deserve to feel safest: in their own homes. Unfortunately, houses are not inherently danger-free for kids. Two of the three leading causes for emergency room visits, falls and poisonings, occur primarily in the home. But there’s great news too! There are simple and easy steps that families can take to avoid a vast majority of these injuries. Here are simple tips that you can apply all over your home to keep you kids safe.
- Use approved safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs and attach them to the wall, if possible. Remember to read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you have the right gate for your needs. Not all gates are safe for use at the top of stairs.
- Keep babies and young kids strapped in when using high chairs, swings or strollers. When placing your baby into a carrier, remember to place the carrier on the floor, not on top of tables or other furniture.
- Put the toll-free Poison Help Number into your phone in case of emergency: 1-800-222-1222.
- Store all household products and cleaning solutions out of children’s sight and reach. Young kids are often eye-level with items under the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Keep cleaning products in their original containers, and keep them clearly labeled. Even adults can make the mistake of mixing unlabeled solutions.
- Put all medicine and vitamins up and away and out of sight after every use.
Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine, not an inconsistent kitchen spoon!
Safety from Fire and Burns
- For the best protection, install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas. Test batteries every six months.
- Keep anything that can catch fire, such as dish towels or wooden spoons, away from your stovetop. Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency, and make sure you know how it works.
- Blow candles out and turn appliances off when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.
- Don’t carry a child while cooking on the stove. It’s better to put your child in a high chair where you can still see them.
- Keep an eye on appliances such as irons, curling irons or hair dryers that can heat up quickly or stay warm. Unplug and safely store these items after use.
To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting. Check the water with your wrist or elbow before giving your baby a bath.
- Make sure babies sleep on their backs and in their own crib, bassinet or play yard. Room sharing is a safer option than having your baby sleep in bed with you. If you want to bond with your baby, try breastfeeding or singing to your baby instead of sharing a bed!
- Choose a firm mattress covered with a tight-fitting crib sheet for your baby’s crib. Avoid using soft bedding, pillows, stuffed animals and bumpers in the crib. Opt for sleeping sacks instead of blankets for a cozy night!
- Actively supervise children in and around water. Once bath time is over, immediately drain the tub. Keep toilet lids closed and keep doors to bathrooms shut.
- Make sure home pools have four-sided fencing that’s at least 4 feet high with self-closing, self-latching gates to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised.
- Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. Teach young children from an early age not to go near or in water without an adult. Older children should swim with a partner, every time.
- Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. For the best protection, install a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- Don’t use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window. Don’t use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting. Don’t leave a car, SUV or motorcycle engine running inside a garage, even if the doors are open.
- Mount flat-panel TVs to the wall to prevent them from falling off stands. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you have a secure fit.
- Use brackets, braces or wall straps to secure unstable or top-heavy furniture to the wall.
- Make sure upstairs windows stay locked and/or have protective latch
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