Your home can present some of the biggest dangers for your child’s safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “an estimated 9.2 million children annually had an initial emergency department visit for an unintentional injury.” The good thing is, most of these accidents are preventable. Here are some things you should know and the steps you can take to make your home a safe place.
Install latches on lower cabinets – It is a good rule of thumb to have locks on any cabinet and drawer that is within reach of your child. These latches will impede your child from getting into anything potentially hazardous in your kitchen, such as breakable dishes and heavy kitchen appliances (blender, griddle, toaster, etc.).
Put away sharp objects – Another precaution to take is to put away any sharp objects in your kitchen, making it impossible for your child to get a hold of things like knives, scissors, etc. When using sharp utensils in the kitchen, never leave them unattended and in reach of your child.
Another tip for the kitchen is to turn pot and pan handles inward and away from the front of the stove so children can not bump or grab them.
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Anchor dressers and heavy furniture – Many times, children cause a tip-over by climbing on the front of a dresser or playing inside a drawer. Furniture tip-overs can result in tragic injuries and death. You should anchor wardrobes, dressers, bookcases, televisions or any large piece of furniture because these items have the potential for tipping over. Securing these items only takes a few minutes and could save a life.
Cover electrical outlets – Electric shock is a severe injury among young children. Covering electrical outlets will prevent your child from sticking fingers, silverware, toys, etc. into an outlet and experiencing severe electrocution.
Shield sharp corners/edges – Covering the sharp corners on your tables, counters, cabinets, etc. will prevent hurtful bumps or cuts to your child’s head. Children are typically unaware of their surroundings when running and playing at home, making it your job to be sure that when the inevitable bumps happen, they do not result in injury.
Utilize doorknob locks/covers – exterior doors, interior doorknobs, cabinets and sliding patio doors can and should be appropriately child proofed to ensure the safety of your little ones. Potential dangers await inside and outside the home, such as traffic in a street, a balcony, cleaning supplies or a backyard pool, to name a few.
Put away potential choking hazards – Small items such as marbles, paper clips, wrappers, etc. can easily restrict your child’s airway if put in their mouth. Make sure to collect those types of objects from your floor/low surfaces around your home and be aware of anything you may drop or break to ensure it will not end up in your child’s hand or mouth.
Install safety gates - The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends baby gates as an essential part of home safety. The most common spot is stairway safety, both at the top and bottom. Gates can help protect kids from pets, non-child proofed rooms (within your home or when traveling) and can be used to establish safe play boundaries.
For your windows, cords on blinds and shades pose another household hazard to your child. Choose cordless window treatment options or prevent access to cords by keeping them out of sight to reduce the risk of strangulation.
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Never, under any circumstance, leave a child alone in the bathtub – According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, babies can drown in as little as just one or two inches of water. It can happen silently and within seconds. Always stay with your child during a bath.
Store medication out of reach – It is easy for your child to overdose on medication. You can prevent this by placing medication in a high-up, locked cabinet at all times. Never leave medicine on tables, nightstands or dressers when in reach of your little one.
Install toilet locks – This will prevent children from flushing foreign objects down the toilet and causing damage to your toilet/pipes or flooding your bathroom. More specifically, toilet seat locks will help refrain your child from opening the lid in any circumstance.
Store all chemicals – like medication or cleaning supplies in a locked cabinet or somewhere high-up so your child isn’t exposed to potential poisoning. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 1 million poisoning incidents occur each year in children six years and younger, with 90% occurring in the home.
Playsets – When setting up equipment, be conscious of staying away from trees, power lines, etc. If they were to fall, it would pose a severe threat to your child’s safety and well-being, putting it in your best interest to avoid trees and power lines entirely.
Trampolines – Out of all playground equipment, trampolines are the riskiest. Your trampoline should be netted, fenced-in, or both to ensure that there is no possible way your child can fall off and sustain an injury. Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover your trampoline or playset, but only if it is properly maintained and you have followed safety measures. It is important to check with your independent insurance agent to find out if you are covered.
These tips can help keep your child safe and could potentially reduce the chance of injury at home. Remember, the most important safety precaution is always to supervise your child carefully. Protection for your entire family starts with an affordable home insurance policy. Contact your local, independent insurance agent today.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Environmental Protection Agency
- American Academy of Pediatrics
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and suggestion purposes only. Implementing one or more of these suggestions does not guarantee coverage. If any insurance policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. For full details on Integrity’s home insurance coverages and discounts, contact your local, independent Integrity insurance agent.