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It's not long after newborns arrive home that they begin curious crawling adventures and, soon thereafter, take those magical first steps. As children reach early milestones, ensuring their safety around every corner of the home is of critical importance. To best avoid accidental injury, baby-proofing should take place before a baby is born. Following a room-by-room approach helps eliminate potential dangers in the home, so moms and dads can focus on life's memorable moments with less new-parent angst.
In the Nursery According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children ages 5 years and younger have a higher risk of fire-related injury than any other age group. Having a working smoke detector reduces the chances of dying in a fire by half.
Install Smoke Detectors: At least one smoke detector should be installed on every floor of the home, and one in every bedroom, mounted high on the wall or on the ceiling, away from windows, bathrooms and cooking vapors. Test smoke alarms once a month and change the 9-volt batteries twice a year. If smoke detectors are more than ten years old, replace them with newer models.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Carbon monoxide is a "silent killer" that is odorless, colorless and tasteless. Safe Kids Worldwide strongly recommends installing a carbon monoxide detector near every sleeping area in the home and in the basement at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances. Test the alarm according to manufacturers' instructions.
Check Cribs for Safety: According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the distance between crib slats should not exceed 2 3/8 inches or about the size of a soda can. Cribs should have firm, tight-fitting mattresses, and pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and other potential suffocation hazards should be kept out of the crib. Babies should be put to sleep in a crib on their back. They should never sleep in an adult bed where they are at increased risk of suffocation.
Create a Safe Nursery Layout: Secure tall or heavy furniture to the wall using angle braces or anchors and keep furniture away from windows.
In the Kitchen Many American families consider the kitchen the hub of their house. With hot stove tops, knives and household cleaners, it's no wonder many people also identify the kitchen as the most dangerous room in the home. Constant supervision and these tips will help keep kids safe.
Supervise Mealtimes: Babies need constant supervision when eating. Cut food into small pieces and avoid giving a baby food that is too large, hard or round as these are choking hazards. Children do not fully develop chewing techniques until the age of four.
Buy a Safe High Chair: Ensure high chairs are sturdy and include safety straps, and always strap baby into the seat.
Always Check the Temperature of Food and Drinks: Microwaved foods can develop hot spots, so always stir baby's food before serving. Use a bottle warmer to ensure liquid is evenly heated and lukewarm, not hot. Always test the temperature on your wrist before giving it to your baby.
Exercise Safe Cooking Measures: Use back burners when cooking and turn handles toward the back of the stove to prevent them from being grabbed or knocked over by children. Stove knob covers can be used to stop children from turning on the oven and burners accidently.
Install Safety Locks: Store sharp objects, cleaning products, medications, vitamins and all matches and lighters out of reach of children, and install locks and latches on the cabinets and drawers in which these items are stored.
Keep Emergency Numbers Close By.
In the Bathroom Hot water can burn a baby's skin in mere seconds. And, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children. The following tips can help protect children during bath time.
Conduct a Temperature Check: Before placing your baby in the tub or shower, run your hand under the water to feel for hot spots. Water thermometers and anti-scald devices also come in handy.
Supervise Bath Time: Always supervise your baby in or near water, keeping one hand on him/her at all times, as young children can drown in as little as one inch of water.
Keep Toilet Lids Closed: Babies' heads are larger relative to their bodies, which creates a top-heavy effect and makes drowning in a toilet a real possibility. Always use toilet lid locks.
Safely Store Hazardous Products: Store medications, vitamins and other potentially hazard products out of reach of children in a locked cabinet.
In the Playroom Kids love toys, and playtime allows them to develop physically and mentally. Taking simple precautions can help ensure your child enjoys the benefits of safe play.
Read Labels for Age: Ensure toys are age-appropriate and safe for your baby. Throw away all wrappings and packaging from new toys after opening. Check toys regularly for damage and/or recalls.
Survey the Play Area: It's best to assess the play area from your child's eye level to see what they see. Cover sharp table corners with corner cushions and search for small toys or objects such as marbles, coins, jewelry, etc. that can easily be swallowed and pose a choking hazard.
Try the Toilet Paper Roll Test: Toys should be too large to fit in a child's mouth. If a toy fits easily through a toilet paper roll, it is too small. Keep older children's toys separate and out of baby's reach or use safety gates to keep young children away from areas with toys unfit for their age.
Around the House Little ones spend most of their day inside, making it critical to ensure safety within the home. Parents can take numerous proactive measures to make their homes a safer space for baby.
Install Safety Gates: Avoid falls by installing safety gates at the top and bottom of all stairwells, and measure the width of each stairway before purchasing the appropriate gates. Stairwell safety gates should be wall-mounted to ensure they can withstand the weight of kids leaning against them. Safety gates can also be used to block access to fireplaces, furnaces, driveways and other areas.
Cover Electrical Outlets: Ensure children cannot stick their small fingers or other objects inside unused electrical outlets by installing outlet covers. Parents often underestimate how many accessible outlets are in their home, so count them before shopping. Electrical cords should also be out of reach of children.
Empty Wading Pools and Buckets: Since babies can drown in as little as a few inches of water, wading pools and buckets containing water should be emptied after use and stored upside down.
Install Window Guards: These should be installed on all windows - screens are not strong enough to keep children from falling out. Make sure guards have a "quick release" feature so they can be opened fast in case the window is needed to escape a fire.
Use Safety Door Knob Covers: Attach safety door knob covers to the outside of all door handles to keep children from entering rooms unsupervised.
Install Pool Fencing: Close off access to pools with five-foot high fences that have self-closing, self-latching gates. Use a lock to keep children out when no adult is available to supervise.
Place Space Heaters Cautiously: Keep space heaters at least three feet away from flammable materials and do not let babies near them. Turn them off when adults leave the room or go to sleep.
Secure all TVs and Furniture: Televisions and furniture tip-overs are one of the most dangerous hidden hazards for children in the home. Use TV and furniture straps to secure these items in place to help keep your family safe.
These tips were created by Toys"R"Us, Inc. with guidance from Safe Kids Worldwide and other leading safety organizations. For additional baby safety information regarding travel, sleep and play, as well as product recall updates, please visit Toysrus.com/Safety.