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How To Keep Your Toddler Safe

Aug 17, 2007
Betty is one of the best grandmothers ever. But the day she entered the bedroom and saw the cord from the window blind entangled around her grandson's neck, she felt like the worst person alive. How could it have happened?

She had cut the cords short, but still the child had pulled them into his crib. When Betty found the baby alive and well, she wept with relief. Then she moved the bed away from the window.

Between the ages of six months and two years, children are beginning to walk, run, climb, jump and explore everything. It's a wonderful time for their development, but a time when adults need to watch them like hawks.

We can't allow for every danger a child will face here, but we can list some of the most common ones. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, the biggest threat to a child's life and health at this age is an accident.

Fire And Burns

* Cover unused electrical outlets with rotating-style safety plugs.

* Keep appliance cords out of reach by tying them up or taping them down.

* While working in the kitchen, keep children in playpens or high chairs.

* Turn pot handles to the back of the stove where they are out of reach of curious hands.

* Use place mats instead of table cloths, because toddlers may try to pull themselves up by grabbing hold of the cloth.

* Never carry a child and hot liquids at the same time.

* Turn your water heater to 120 degrees or lower to prevent scalding.

Falls

* Move chairs and other furniture away from windows to discourage young climbers.

* Don't let toddlers play on or near stairs. Use permanent safety gates at the top and bottom.

* Remove or cushion sharp-edged furniture where a child goes.

* Avoid accordion gates with large openings; a child's neck could get trapped in the openings.

* High chairs cause almost 10,000 injuries to small children each year. Use restraining straps that run around a child's waist and between the legs to keep them from escaping from the seat and falling to the floor or getting their head caught in the structure.

* The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that baby walkers not be used.

Choking And Poisons

* Do not store household cleaning products under the sink. Keep them and all poisons locked up and out of reach.

* Small children use their mouths to explore the world. Keep them away from objects they can pick up and swallow, such as toys for older children, safety pins, coins, broken or deflated balloons, jewelry and batteries. Remove refrigerator magnets.

* Remove wall hangings and mobiles over the crib.

* Avoid all foods that could lodge in a child's throat, such as hot dogs, nuts, raw carrots, grapes, candies, gum, popcorn and food with pits.

* Learn how to save the life of a choking child. Consult your doctor.

* Use a small parts tester "choke tube" to see if small toys or parts present a choking hazard.

* If small children are present, keep potentially hazardous cleaning compounds capped while in use.

* Use safety caps on medicines and toxic household products.

* Keep all purses out of reach.

* Safely dispose of plastic cleaning bags immediately.

* Keep the number of your local poison control center by all phones.

The Dangers Never Cease

* Keep window cords out of reach. Cut looped chains or cords of window blinds in half and add large safety tassels to the ends.

* Never leave a child alone in or near a bathtub, pail of water, or any other water for even an instant.

* Lock all cabinets and drawers from the countertop down, and oven, dryer and dishwasher doors.

* Buy clothes with snaps, buttons, or Velcro instead of long, loose drawstrings which can snag and present a choking or falling hazard.

* Be sure you can always hear a child if they cry.

* Encourage grandparents and caregivers to childproof their homes.

* There are numerous products designed to keep your child safe. Some that you should consider are: toilet lid locks; bathtub products such as cushioned covers for spouts and knobs; anti-scald devices; cabinet and drawer latches; corner and edge bumpers; door guards; electrical-cord products; electrical outlet covers; medicine cabinet latches; stove guards; window blind products; and window locks.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
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