Stapleton Pediatrics Blog

How Safe is Your Home?

By Nicole Erwin, MD

Injuries are the leading cause of death in children 19 years and younger. Nearly nine million children a year are treated in emergency rooms because of injuries. As a mom and a pediatrician, home safety is a passion of mine. Cuts and bruises are bound to happen, but I worry more about preventing serious and tragic injuries, such as falls, poisoning, drowning, suffocation, choking and burns – all things that can happen right in your kitchen or backyard. That’s why evaluating the safety of your home and child proofing are so critical.
Child’s-Eye View
Before child proofing your home, do a safety “audit” by crawling on your hands and knees around your house. Watch out for electrical cords and outlets, sharp corners, glass objects, cleaning products, and medications, just to name a few common hazards. Go outside as well; be aware of open window wells, sharp lawn edging and unlocked gates.
Home Safety Checklist
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers an excellent home safety checklist that you can use as a guide for child proofing. Print this off, follow it closely, and keep it posted somewhere visible in your home. While this is an extensive and thorough list, no amount of child proofing can replace adequate adult supervision. Make sure your child is within arms reach at all times.
Involve Caregivers
Take the time to talk to anyone who is caring for your child about your safety concerns and procedures. Babysitters, grandparents and friends who are in charge of your kids should always know how to reach you and emergency personnel. Also take caregivers through your home so they know where medications are kept and what areas are on and off limits.
Educate Your Kids!
At about age 2 (depending on your child’s maturity level), you can begin to talk to your kids about safety in your home. Teach your child about calling 911 and learning both the home address and phone number when he or she is about age 5. Be careful not to frighten your children. Emphasize that they are safe, but that you just want them to be prepared.
For me, home safety is an ongoing, re-evaluating process. I continue to educate myself regarding new products, recalls, safety products, etc., and I encourage you to do the same. As always, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.
Posted: 9/15/2014 12:07:57 PM by | with 0 comments

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