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1. Smoke, Fire and Carbon Monoxide DetectorsThe rate of home fire death among children ages 4 years and younger is more than double that of older children. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, two-thirds of deaths caused by fires occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Install smoke detectors on each level of your home. There should be one smoke detector in every bedroom. Mount them high on the wall, or on the ceiling, away from windows, bathrooms and cooking vapors. If possible, buy interconnected smoke alarms that cause all to ring if one is activated.
Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide is a "silent killer" that is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each level of your home and near where your family sleeps. (You can also buy combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.)
Test all alarms once a month and change the batteries every 6 months.
Develop a family fire escape plan with two routes out of every room and a meeting place outside. Hold family fire drills twice a year.
Emergency escape ladders are important to have when windows might be the only way out during a fire.
2. Safety GatesAccording to Safe Kids Worldwide, falls are the number one cause of emergency department visits for accidents among children, resulting in nearly 2.4 million nonfatal fall-related injuries each year.
Installing safety gates greatly reduces the chance of infant and toddler injury.
Before purchasing safety gates, count the number of staircases in your home and multiply by two. Safety gates should be installed at the top AND bottom of all staircases. Before selecting the appropriate safety gates, measure the width of both the top and bottom of stairwells, as the measurements may differ.
Safety gates used at the top of the stairs should be mounted so it's stable enough to withstand the weight of a child leaning against it, thus avoiding a fall. Installation kits may be needed to properly install gates around stair banisters or rounded posts. Gate extensions attach to safety gates and expand to fit wide openings and odd angles.
Safety gates can also be installed around fireplaces, furnaces and other potentially hazardous areas, such as driveway entrances, and can be used to contain a child in a certain room of the home (such as the playroom) or to block access to areas that are off limits.
3. Outlet Plugs and CoversBabies' tiny fingers are the perfect size to poke uncovered electrical outlets. According to data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of six children each day are seen in emergency rooms for incidents related to electrical outlets - over 70 percent of whom are under 6 years of age.
Count the number of outlets in your home that need outlet covers. All unused electrical outlets should be covered with outlet plug covers.
For outlets in use, wire guards and power strip covers keep dangerous cords out of sight and out of mind.
In addition, cord shorteners can be used to store the unused portion of electrical cords to prevent tripping or strangulation.
Buy window guards or stops that have a quick release mechanism inside the window, so in case of fires windows can be opened quickly.
To best spot danger zones in any room, look at it from a child's eye level. To a child, those table corners look awfully sharp. Use corner and edge cushions to protect children from sharp corners and edges. Additionally, TV and DVD player guards keep little hands from pushing buttons.
Install stove guards as a barrier to protect your children from skin and scald burns which most frequently occur in the kitchen. Stove knob covers should also be used to stop children from turning on the stove accidently.
5. Locks and LatchesAccording to Safe Kids Worldwide, over the last decade, nearly 60,000 children ages 4 and under each year were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal poisonings. Approximately 90 percent of child poisonings occur in the home.
Install locks and latches on cabinets and drawers within a child's reach that contain sharp objects, cleaning products, medications or any other potentially harmful items. Use them in the kitchen, bathroom, office and any other rooms as necessary.
Appliance locks such as refrigerator latches and oven locks are great for keeping curious kids out of trouble in the kitchen while washer/dryer locks make sure they never crawl in the loader or get locked inside if the door is left open.
Use door knob covers or handle locks on the outside of all doors to keep children from entering rooms unsupervised or getting into closets and pantries.
6. Bath and WaterHot water burns most often occur in the bathroom and can be severe as they cover a larger portion of the body. It only takes a few seconds in hot water to burn a baby's skin.
Before placing your baby in the tub or shower, perform a temperature check with a bath thermometer and run your hand through the water to feel for hot spots. Set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and use an anti-scald device on faucets that turns off water automatically if it becomes too hot.
Young children can drown in as little as a few inches of water. Always supervise your baby in or near water, keeping one hand on him/her at all times.
Use bathtub soft spout covers to protect young children from bumps and bruises, as well as bathtub handle grips and tub mats to prevent slips. Keep toilet lids safely closed with toilet locks.
Keep a large first aid kit in the home, in a locked cabinet, out of baby's reach. Smaller, "on-the-go" kits are available for use in diaper bags, purses and the car.
By adding extra items to the many prepackaged safety kits available, you can create one that's tailored to you and your little one.
Along with first aid essentials, include emergency contact information such as doctor's information, hospital information, allergies, the Poison Control Center phone number (1-800-222-1222) and numbers for local police, fire and rescue squad services. Also in the kit, keep numbers of close family members, emergency neighbor contacts, and numbers for yourself and your partner.
8. TV and Furniture StrapsTelevisions and furniture tip-overs are one of the most dangerous hidden hazards for children in the home. Much like childproofing with a toddler gate or electrical socket cover, the use of tv and furniture straps is an important step to keeping your family safe.
Place TVs on a low, stable piece of furniture
Mount flat screen TVs to the wall to reduce the risk of TVs toppling off stands. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation.
When mounting to the wall is not an option, secure flat screen TVs using a TV safety strap or anti-tip strap to reduce the risk of TV tip-overs.
Use furniture wall straps to attach heavy pieces like bookcases and dressers to the walls so nothing tips over if the child tries to climb on them.
Avoid placing remote controls, food, toys, and other items on TV stands or furniture that might attract children to climb up or reach for them.
Keep TV and/or cable cords out of reach of children.