Tag Archive: childproofing tips

How to Make a Safer Home for Your Child, Part 3 Outdoors

How to Make a Safer Home for Your Child, Part 3: Outdoors

May 15, 2017 2:16 pm

How to Make a Safer Home for Your Child, Part 3 OutdoorsJust a quick web search for “childproofing” will give you countless ways to make your home safer. But as thoroughly as many parents prepare the inside of their home, they commonly overlook the largest area: their yard, garage, and other outdoor spaces. Our board-certified pediatricians at Children’s Wellness Center in Atlanta are passionate about keeping children safe and healthy, so we’ve put together a list of measures recommended by trusted sources (our own pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics) that you can take to help your children enjoy the outdoors safely.

  • Ideally, install a fence and make sure your child only stays within the fence, so that he or she cannot run out into the road. If a fence is not feasible, set a very specific border that your child understands not to cross, such as a certain seam in the driveway or a specific tree.
  • Children should be supervised by an attentive adult at all times when they are outside, even if they are only permitted to play in the back yard.
  • Some plants can actually be poisonous for children, so make sure all the varieties of plants in your yard are not toxic. It’s also a good idea to teach your child not to eat anything from a plant they’ve found outside, in case they encounter a dangerous plant at a friend’s house or at a park.
  • Make sure all pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other lawn care chemicals are in a locked cabinet that is out of your child’s reach. You should also make yourself familiar with the instructions on your lawn care chemicals about how long you need to keep children off your lawn after using the product.
  • If you have a grill, make sure it is secured when it is not in use so it will not tip and fall over. Teach your child not to touch the grill, and make sure propane grills are stored in such a way that your child cannot reach the knobs.
  • Go through the materials stored in your garage and identify any that are potentially dangerous for children, such as paint, antifreeze, gasoline, and most other automotive fluids. Lock these products in a secure cabinet your child cannot reach, and always remember to return the products to this cabinet as soon as you’re finished using them.
  • Keep all tools in a safe area where children cannot reach them, and make sure all power tools stay unplugged when they are not in use.
  • As with your grill, make sure all furniture in the garage or outdoors is not a tipping risk. If it could tip over and injure your child, secure it to the wall or the ground in some way.
  • If you have an automatic garage door, check that the automatic reversing system (which senses when a child is in the way of a closing door and stops the door from continuing to lower) is working properly. Remember to check this on a regular basis.
  • Try to keep your lawn as level as possible and fill in any unused holes in the soil.
  • If you have any type of pond, swimming pool, or fountain in your yard, make sure it is fenced in or blocked off in a way that your child cannot fall into it, and follow other water safety tips for children.
  • If you have a swing set or other playground equipment, follow these safety steps:
    • Surround the area with mats or soft fill materials (like shredded rubber or sand) and extend it at least six feet around the equipment.
    • If you are installing your own playground equipment, follow all instructions closely and make sure you install it on level ground.
    • Check occasionally for any loose nuts and bolts or other issues, and cap all bolts and screws.
    • Do not have any type of rope, clothesline, jump rope, etc. attached to playground equipment.
  • If you have a sandbox, make sure it is made from safe, intact materials. It is common to use old railroad ties, but these often have splinters and may contain unsafe chemicals as well.
  • Make sure any sandboxes are covered when they are not in use so they don’t bring in unwelcome insects or animals. However, if it rains outside, wait for the sandbox to dry out before covering it, because the moisture can leave bacteria growing in sandboxes.
  • If you are using sand around playground equipment or in a sandbox, try to avoid sand that contains tremolite. While manufacturers are not currently required to label sand as containing tremolite, the best choice is to only purchase natural river sand or beach sand, and to avoid sand that is made from crushed limestone, marble, or crystalline silica, as well as any product that looks dusty.
  • Although trampolines may be fun, even the proper safety equipment does not fully prevent injuries in children, so the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend having a trampoline at your home.
  • If you have a tree house, inspect it regularly for damage and wear, including splinters and loose parts, and make sure the tree it stands in is sturdy as well. Keep the boards close together, install a safety gate at the top of the ladder, and attach non-slip materials on the rungs of the ladder.

When you first begin looking around your home and making a childproofing to-do list, it can feel overwhelming. But just relax, take it one step at a time, and look for tips like those listed above that can let you know about tasks that may otherwise slip your mind. For more child safety advice, health tips, and more, follow Children’s Wellness Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, and schedule your child’s next well child visit with us via our convenient patient portal.

How to Create a Safer Home for Your Children, Part 2: Childproofing for Every Age

April 21, 2017 5:45 pm

child-safetyThe transition to parenthood when your first child is born is undoubtedly one of the most drastic changes you will ever make in your life, and many parents need every bit of those nine months of pregnancy to prepare. One item on that mile-long to-do list is babyproofing the home. While that’s an important step, many parents cross it off their list when their home is ready for a newborn and assume the task is finished. But in reality, every stage of development your child reaches carries its own dangers for pediatric injuries—crawling, walking, climbing, and so on, so it’s important to reassess your home’s safety at each developmental milestone, even including adolescence. Our physicians at Children’s Wellness Center have a few childproofing tips that are often overlooked for each age range, so following the steps below for your child’s age can create a safer home, so you can worry less and enjoy your child more.

Childproofing for Infancy

  • Anchor all potentially tippable furniture (bookshelves, desks, etc.) to the wall. Be sure that all televisions are secured as well, because these are often overlooked as large, heavy items that can easily be tipped onto a child.
  • Comb the house for choking hazards (which includes anything smaller than the opening in a toilet paper roll).
  • Place a paper on the refrigerator or in another prominent place that lists the phone numbers for all emergency services, such as poison control, the local police station, your pediatrician, and any other relevant providers, as well as your own cell phone and work phone numbers. Not only is this helpful for babysitters, but it makes the information for emergency action easier for you to find in a hectic situation as well.
  • Research any houseplants you have (or are planning to get), because some can actually be dangerous for children.
  • Make sure your windows’ blinds do not have looped cords. Ideally, you should look for blinds that are entirely cordless.

Childproofing for the Toddler Years

  • Single-use packets for laundry or dishwasher detergent can look like candy and be particularly dangerous because the soap is highly concentrated, so either avoid them or store them in a very secure place that is out of your toddler’s reach.
  • On top of storing poisonous chemicals out of your child’s reach, choose a specific sticker or picture to put on these bottles and teach your child what it means
  • Children can drown in as little as one inch of water, so install a lock on your toilet lid.
  • Install window guards, and avoid having furniture placed in a way that children can climb on it to get to high windows.
  • As soon as your child is using the bathtub without a baby bath, install a non-slip mat, and remember to never leave your child unattended in the bathtub.
  • Store all medications out of your child’s reach.
  • Install outlet covers on all of your electrical outlets, and be sure to use covers that are too large to be choking hazards.
  • Remove or modify furniture that has sharp edges (such as certain coffee tables, television stands, etc.).
  • If you have a fireplace with stones surrounding it or with a stone hearth, cover the stones to avoid injuries.

Childproofing for the Elementary Years

  • As soon as your child is tall enough to reach the edge of your countertops, be cautious not to place anything too close to the edges of countertops.
  • Make sure your child is still unable to get through door latches and other safety locks, and step up to more difficult locks if necessary.
  • Show your child what the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm sound like and explain to them what to do if they hear one of the alarms.

Childproofing for Adolescences

  • Make sure all medications (especially prescription, but ideally over-the-counter as well) and alcohol is locked up. But keep in mind that this should also be paired with educating your teen about the dangers of underage drinking.
  • When your child is able to drive, make very specific teen driving rules about when and where they are allowed to drive. The Georgia Department of Driver Services offers a wealth of information and tips for parents about keeping your teen driver safe.
  • As much as you may trust your teenager, don’t avoid taking precautions. Not only can teens act out-of-character when they’re under peer pressure, but you can’t trust that their friends or guests will be as responsible as your child is.
  • Consider a rule against allowing your teen to use certain equipment or appliances when you aren’t home, such as the lawnmower or power tools, the stove, or other potentially dangerous items, regardless of how routinely they use them while supervised.

Making your home a safe environment for a baby and toddler is one of the top concerns on many parents’ minds, but the older a child gets, the easier it can become to forget what new types of hazards they may encounter. While the list above is absolutely not a comprehensive one, it can be a helpful way to start thinking about your environment and help you think of precautions you may have overlooked. To further discuss creating a safe home for your child, schedule an appointment with Children’s Wellness Center in our patient portal. Plus, keep an eye out in the coming weeks for Part 3 in our childproofing series.