One of the primary responsibilities of a parent is to keep their kids safe from harm. Kids deserve a healthy home environment where they can play, sleep, learn and simply be kids without being exposed to common safety hazards. Sadly, it seems that many parents devote insufficient time and resources to this effort. According to one report, more than three million children suffer a household injury every year with more than 2,000 children dying from those injuries. In order to help you improve the safety of your home, here are five tips for making your home kid safe:
- Eliminate Falls
Falls are one of the leading causes of household injuries for both children and adults. When your children are learning to walk, their balance is often shaky and their path wobbly. You can guard against a fall from furniture or down the stairs by installing toddler gates and similar safety devices. Simply keeping the stairs free of loose objects is a very effective safety measure. Sharp table corners can be covered with soft material. You should also look for and remove electrical wires and extension cords that could trip a child. If such wires are vital and cannot be eliminated, consider covering them with a device made for that purpose, such as a cable management system. You can take a look at some of the examples of this system at Tripsafe. Be aware that simply covering them with a rug does not provide adequate protection.
- Reduce the Risk of Fires
Fires are the leading cause of death among children between the ages of five and nine. Preventing such fires requires a multi-step process beginning with a thorough inspection of the home. Look for any faulty outlets and wiring in need of repair. Be sure to not overload your home’s electrical system. If you have any doubts about this, you might want to check with a licensed electrical contractor. Never leave pots and pans on the stove unattended, and keep a kitchen fire extinguisher handy. Make sure that your clothes dryer is adequately vented and that its filter is clean.
- Minimize the Risk of Scalding
Although fires present a significant threat to children, many children are burned every year as a result of scalding. To avoid scalding, be sure to keep the handles of all cookware pointed away from the front of the stove so that a child cannot reach them. Make sure that the setting on your water heater is not too hot. Most authorities recommend a setting of 45 to 50 degrees Celsius. Also, if you use a humidifier, be sure to use a cool mist humidifier instead of a vaporizer because many vaporizers produce scalding temperatures.
- Provide Clean Air
Your children should be able to breathe clean, fresh air. It is important that you maintain your heating and cooling system so that it is not contaminated with mold and mildew or other types of pollutants. The filter should be replaced on a regular basis. It is also important to make sure that your home is free of lead paint and has a low level of radon and carbon monoxide. If there is any doubt about this, testing kits are available. Alternatively, a home inspector can be hired to test the levels.
- Safeguard Chemicals and Other Harmful Materials
To avoid poisoning, it is extremely important to keep all chemicals and other harmful materials out of the reach of children. This applies to medicines, cleaning agents, garden chemicals, cosmetics and any other substances that could poison a child. Such materials should be placed in a closed cabinet out of the reach of a child. Medicine cabinets should be locked.