Children are curious, and often clumsy. That is why it's so important to take the time to walk through our living spaces and reduce the risk of injury our homes present. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 2.5 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home each year. The good news is that most of these incidents are preventable by taking safety precautions and using widely-accessible safety devices. Here are some tips for children of all ages:
Household Hazard Protections
- Window screens are not designed to prevent falls, so it is up to you to child-proof your windows.
- Install window guards on the upper floors of your home to prevent children from falling out. Select guards that have a quick-release capability so that you can release them if there is a fire.
- Move furniture away from windows in children’s rooms so they are not tempted to climb on the furniture and open the window.
- If you decide to keep windows open, do not leave young children unattended.
- Purchase doorknob covers to prevent children from entering areas of the home that present dangers. Select covers that are sturdy and cannot break easily, but are also easily opened by an adult in the event of an emergency.
- Place doorstops and holders against doors to prevent children from shutting them on their fingers and hands. They can also prevent
children's hands from being pinched in the hinges.
- Place safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers in areas that house potential dangers to children, such as poisonous chemicals
and sharp kitchen utensils.
- Use safety gates to prevent falls down flights of stairs and to refrain children from entering areas of the home that are dangerous.
- Place corner and edge bumpers on wall edges, furniture and fireplaces to protect children against injuries from bumping into these areas of the home.
- Because stairway accidents can cause severe injury and even death, it is important to be watchful of your children near the stairs in your home.
- Instruct older children to always use the handrail when walking up and down steps. If any stairway, regardless of size, does not have a handrail in your home when you purchased it, install one for the safety of your family.
- Ensure stairs are visible with proper lighting at the base and on top of staircases.
- Keep stairways clear of obstacles and never use stairs as a temporary storage or as a place to display decorations.
- If the steps in your home are extremely smooth, place socks with grips on your children’s feet.
- Place safety gates at the base and top of staircases to prevent children from going up and down without supervision.
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Garage Door Precautions
- Install push buttons on garage doors at least 5 feet above the floor and out of the reach of small children. This will deter them from trying to push the button to open and close the door.
- Replace garage door openers that were manufactured before January 1, 1993. After that time, federal law required manufacturers to install an automatic feature that reverses the door if it comes in contact with objects while closing.
- Test this feature regularly by placing a piece of wood on the ground and then closing the door. If the door does not reverse, hire a professional to either replace or repair the door.
- Give your children the following advice to keep them safe:
- Do not stand, walk or run under a closing garage door.
- Never play under or near the garage door, even when it’s open.
- If there is a problem with the garage door, children should alert you or another responsible adult about the problem and to ask for assistance.
- Place the Poison Control Center contact information next to your phone in case of an emergency. 1-800-222-1222 will connect you to local assistance in your area.
- Store harmful products out of the kitchen and away from food and drinks.
- Remove medications from purses and low drawers that are potentially accessible to children. Place them in a cabinet with a lock that is out of reach.
- Place child-resistant caps on all chemicals that could pose a poison danger to your children, if the product does not already come with one.
Protections Against Electrical Hazards
- Cover electrical outlets and switches with faceplates when they are not in use, especially if you have young children. Kids may unknowingly stick their fingers or small toys into the openings.
- Place baby monitors and other items with cords a safe distance away from cribs and beds.
- Purchase Underwriters Laboratories (UL) recommended nightlights and replacement bulbs. Also look for nightlights that cannot be pulled apart by little hands.
- Replace appliances with frayed cords.
- Hide all appliance cords under furniture.
- Set your water heater to 120° F or less. This will likely be just below the medium setting.
- Before allowing your children to get into the bathtub, test the water first. Once kids are in the tub, watch them closely to make sure they do not turn on the water and burn themselves.
- Install special tub spouts and shower heads to protect delicate baby skin from hot water burns.
- Keep hot drinks away from the edge of your dining room table or countertop so children cannot knock them over and get burned.
- Do not drink hot drinks when holding a small child unless you are using a mug with a cover.
- Test foods and liquids placed in the microwave before giving them to children.
- Keep children away from the range when you are cooking or boiling water.
Practicing household safety to keep your children out of harm’s reach is just one of the many ways to protect your family, home and its contents. With our insurance solutions for your home, auto and life, we can also help to ensure that you are covered, no matter the mishap!
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