Child Safety Tips At Home
Balloon is within reach. "Latex balloons should be kept completely away from children under 8," says Dr. Smith. "As many as half of children's choking deaths caused by toys are due to balloons." If a child puts a popped balloon in his mouth, the balloon can drape itself over the entrance to his larynx, covering it like shrink-wrap, and suffocate him, he explains.
Lower cabinets are protected. Cleaning products like drain openers, automatic dishwasher detergents, and furniture polish are toxic. Either secure the cabinet with a magnetic lock, use a traditional latch along with a childproof locked box, or place chemicals high up, well out of reach, recommends Jim Schmidt, M.D., a pediatric emergency-room physician and cofounder of Child Safety Housecalls, a childproofing and safety company in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Toilet is open. The toilet is just the right height for your toddler to stick his head in, and since he's top-heavy, he could fall over and not be able to get up. Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional-injury death in kids ages 1 to 4. Keep the toilet-seat lid down, install a latch, and remind visitors to use it. In a Home Safety Council survey, only 21 percent of parents said they'd installed toilet latches.
Crayons are left out. Even little hands can snap a crayon in two, and then it's small enough to choke on. Always supervise your child while he's using art supplies, and consider getting chubby round crayons like Crayola Tadoodles.
Door can't shut. The most common types of amputations in kids involve fingers and thumbs, ac-cording to recent research from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The usual cause among those age 2 and younger? Doors. "I've stitched up the ends of so many fingers -- frequently from a game of chase that ends with a door slamming," says Dr. Schmidt. You can buy devices that keep doors from closing all the way, or simply drape a towel over the top.
However, home injuries are a leading source of accidental death for children. Almost 21 million medical visits and 20,000 deaths each year are the result of accidents in the home [source: Home Safety Council ]. Media reports bring attention to the possible accidents that can occur, such as being bitten by a trusted pet, choking on balloons or wandering out the front door.
Adding latches to your drawers and cupboards should be considered too. Also be wary of appliances being left plugged in. Toasters, blenders, or anything of the sort should be unplugged with their cords tucked away. You should also get stove-knob covers too.
Fireplace is covered. Install heat-resistant gates to use while the flames are burning. Kids could fall and injure themselves against a sharp or stony hearth, so make sure you buy pads for the edges. Artificial fireplaces often contain small rocks that are a choking hazard -- if yours does, remove them. Two risks in our picture: The doors should be locked when not in use, and the fire-stoking tools should be out of reach.