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Childproofing Saves Lives

 

Each year there are more than 3 million unintentional injuries to children ages 14 and under—injuries that happen in the home and require emergency room care, according to Safe Kids U.S.A.

Three million injuries. That is 8,210 injuries each day.

Each day, approximately six children in the U.S. die from home injuries, including injuries resulting from fires, burns, drowning, choking, strangulation, falls, suffocation, and poisoning.

Parents and caregivers can take steps to help prevent these injuries in the home.

What first steps should parents take to childproof the home?
If you have a toddler, get down on your knees and look at how the world looks from their vantage point.

Note any drawers, shelves, or other areas that are easily accessible from their height. Look for small items that could cause choking hazards—if it can fit into a cardboard toilet paper roll, they can choke on it.

Make sure furniture is stable and not easily turned over, especially items like heavy televisions and bookcases kids tend to climb on.

Check that your child cannot access cleaners or other things that could poison them. Cover wall outlets to keep small fingers from exploring them. Remember, even young babies crawling around can get into danger if a home is not childproofed.

At what age can you stop worrying about childproofing?
Childproofing does not stop with the toddler age. Parents should take safety precautions in their home from birth through the teenage years.

Big kids become more active and daring. During the early teen years, more deaths are the result of head injuries. More injuries are the result of falls.

During these years, it is important for parents to teach their children fire escape routes and emergency plans. Preteens are old enough to understand these instructions, and they can prove lifesaving for them and others in the home.

Flame burns are also prevalent during the preteen years. Remind children of the dangers of cooking—on a stove and in the microwave. Hot foods and fluids can cause severe burns. Teach teens to not play with matches, lighters, or fireworks.

For more information about keeping children of all ages safe in the home and outdoors, go online to the Safe Kids U.S.A. Web site at www.safekids.org/safety-basics
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Sherri Hannan is a registered nurse and program coordinator for Safe Kids Fayette County.

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