According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States. More than three million children experience a household injury each year. It’s never too late – or early – to take steps and practices towards accident prevention.
Here are some ways to childproof your home and keep your loved ones safe:
- When cooking, be sure to keep pots and pans on the backburners, with handles facing toward the back. Anything else hazardous, such as kitchen knives and appliances, should be kept away from the edge of the counter, as well.
- Potentially poisonous or hazardous items should be labelled and kept out of reach of children. It’s always a good idea to keep the poison center phone number (1-800-222-1222) on the refrigerator or somewhere easily visible in case of an emergency.
- Install safety latches on drawers and cabinets.
- Install toilet locks to ensure that toilet lids are closed, and always drain bathtubs immediately after use - the leading cause for unintentional deaths in the home for children ages 1 to 4 is drowning, and it only takes a few inches of water.
- Be sure to keep medicines in their original containers and not in any other kind of unlabeled/mislabeled storage.
- Unused electrical outlets should be covered with safety caps. Any outlet near a water source should be updated with a ground fault circuit interrupter in order to ensure that electricity is turned off if an appliance falls into water.
- Use cordless window coverings in your child’s bedroom (and anywhere else in your home). It is easy for an infant or toddler to accidentally wrap a looped window cord around his or her neck and become strangled. You can also replace existing cord loops with safety tassels.
- You should bolt large furniture items – such as dressers, book shelves, or changing tables – to the walls, in order to prevent them from toppling over. Babies start pulling up on their surroundings soon after the crawling stage.
- Put heavier items on the bottoms of shelves and dressers to make them less top-heavy.
It is also wise to stock up on first-aid supplies, and to make sure that anyone in the household watching your children knows where these items are. When it comes to the safety of your loved ones, take the preventative approach. Check out the CPSC’s website here for more information on how you can better protect your children from home accidents.