Take these steps to ensure your young ones are safe at home.
All parents have different perceptions of risk, which affect our choices about safety precautions for our children, regardless of whether we are strongly safety-conscious or only want to focus on the basics and prioritize how best to protect the young ones in our households.
The good news is that accidental injury among children ages 1 to 14 has declined by approximately 40 percent over the past 30 – 40 years. While motor vehicle accidents represent the greatest overall risk for children — making it essential to have our children properly secured in a child restraint appropriate for age, size and weight — home-related injuries account for the majority of childhood injuries.
Home-related risks evolve as children grow from being preciously immobile to rolling, crawling, standing, running, climbing and jumping. Parents need to review safety precautions periodically to consider new phases of physical growth, mental development and access to areas around the house. Many families tackle this in a reactive manner, but far greater safety and peace of mind will result from scheduling a quarterly family safety review.
The first phase of baby-proofing should begin prior to a child being able to move more freely around inside the crib. Young children spend a lot of time in their cribs, and parents often overlook a myriad of safety hazards in and around the crib. Common hazards include: bumpers, blankets (a suffocation risk), electrical cords, wall hangings, mobiles and window treatments/cords.
Toddler-proofing questions to consider
- What hazards are applicable at the current stage of development?
- What are the potential sources of serious injury vs. minor “boo-boos”?
- Where are you really spending time vs. areas you can ignore or block off?
- What hazardous items can be addressed by simply relocation/removing them?
- Can you reasonably watch and steer your children away from certain hazards and still have the ability to relax?
Taking proactive measures with children’s safety at home truly makes a difference. Remember, as your child grows, the safety measures should progress, too.
Robert Carter is a professional safety consultant and president of PrepareFirst, Inc., a company specializing in injury prevention and emergency planning. A Certified Professional ChildprooferSM, Mr. Carter holds a B.A. from Yale University and a Masters Degree from Harvard University. His background includes extensive research and training in the fields of child safety, senior adult safety, home environmental safety, fire safety, and emergency preparedness. Mr. Carter has earned certifications from the International Association for Child Safety, Safe Kids and the American Red Cross, among others.