It can be hard to believe as a new parent that - in a blink of an eye -the tiny human we hold in our hands will become a fast moving, curious, and adventurous crawler or toddler. Lucky for us, we have a few months after recovering from our sleep deprived state to work through baby proofing our home in preparation for this fast moving little being.
As new parents with infants, our focus on safety primarily revolves around safe sleep practices, car safety and keeping them away from illnesses. Though we will always maintain these safety precautions, we will shift our focus on many other dangers as our child begins to grow and develop. As soon as we move out of the fog of the newborn period, it is a good time to re-evaluate and attempt to safety-proof our homes for the next phase in our lives, “the mobile years.” Did you know that more than a third of child injuries and deaths happen at home, according to https://kidshealth.org/
? Below are several safety tips to help you prepare for having young children in your home:
- Evaluate danger in your home by getting down on all fours and crawl around to see any potential hazards that a curious and mischievous child might want to play with.
- Cover electrical outlets and make sure nothing is plugged in where your child may venture.
- Move window blind strings where a toddling child can’t reach them (or better yet use cordless blinds)
- Cover sharp edges and corners, and place baby gates on stairways or anywhere else you do not want your baby to go
- Place covers on oven knobs to save your child from burns if you have a stove with adjustments in the front
- Place anchors on furniture and appliances that can tip over or fall forward if your child were to climb it
- Lock any cabinets or place medication or household chemicals out of reach from infants and toddlers to prevent poisoning
- Keep small items like button batteries and small toys away from your child to prevent choking.
- Look out for potential dangers and place secure locks on doors that lead to water to prevent drowning. Never leave your child unattended in presence of water. Drowning can occur in a bathtub, swimming pool or hot tub. If you have a pool, make sure you have at least a 4-foot barrier and a gate that self-closes in latched position. Any door that leads to the pool should have an alarm that sounds if door opens to notify you of potential danger. It takes just a few seconds for an unfortunate event to occur.
In addition to child-proofing your home, it is important for the entire family to be prepared for emergencies. Emergency preparedness has many aspects that we can do as parents to help prevent injury. Here are a few examples:
- Check all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Consider setting your water thermostat to 120 F or less so not to scald your child in case they turn on bathroom faucets.
- If you have multiple floors in your home, keep safety netting or ladders in rooms to place outside of windows in case of a fire.
- Have a plan for a disaster like a tornado or flood, such as make sure your weather radio works and discuss which room you would go (interior room or basement). Also check to make sure you have extra flashlights and batteries in your safe room.
Finally, taking a CPR, choking and first aid course can help you feel more confident in the event you need to use these skills. The Women’s Hospital offers classes including American Heart Association (AHA) Family and Friends Pediatric CPR (www.deaconess.com/healthybaby
) and certified AHA Heartsaver Course (www.deaconess.com/certcpr
) if you or your caregiver are interested.
Click here to look at several checklists for different rooms and emergency equipment you may need > https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/watch/?WT.ac=k-nav-watch
Topics and Information obtained from the CDC and National Safety Council websites.