Tag Archive: poison risk for kids Atlanta

How to Make a Safer Home for Your Child, Part 4: Attics and Basements

June 12, 2017 11:05 am

How to Make a Safer Home for Your Child, Part 4 Attics and BasementsChildproofing your home is no quick job. Our board-certified pediatricians and other providers at Children’s Wellness Center (CWC) have written a series of blogs with helpful tips to make your home safer for children of all ages. But today, we’re highlighting some childproofing tips for lesser-considered areas of the home: attics and basements. Even if these spaces are rarely accessed, they should be arranged and protected in a way that keeps your child safe.

  • Attics and basements are common places to store tools. Regardless of whether you store them in your basement, attic, garage, or an outdoor shed, make sure that power tools are always unplugged when they aren’t in use and that you store them in a locked cabinet that your child can’t reach. It’s also a good idea to set a border your children are not allowed to cross, so that the area with the tools and any other dangerous equipment is off-limits to them.
  • Basements are common places to house laundry areas and to store cleaning supplies and other household chemicals. It’s important that all potentially dangerous products be stored in a latched or locked child-safe cabinet that is out of your child’s reach. Items to look for include (but are not limited to):
    • Any type of cleaning products, like all-purpose cleaner, bleach, drain cleaner, laundry detergent, and more
    • Automotive fluids (antifreeze, motor oil, spare gasoline, etc.)
    • Pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers
    • Paints, stains, and varnishes
  • Be very cautious about single-use laundry detergent packets (often called “pods”). The detergent they contain is highly concentrated, so it’s more dangerous if a child ingests it, and unfortunately, their bright colors and compact packaging make them look like candy to some children. If you use these products, keep them stored in a locked cabinet that is out of your child’s reach, and be careful to put them away between every use. However, many parents prefer to stay on the safe side and use traditional laundry detergents instead, while following these same storage precautions as well.
  • Don’t forget to install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your attic and basement—these areas are easy to overlook when families don’t spend as much time in them. Make sure to check the batteries at least twice per year, too—try putting it on your calendar so you won’t forget.
  • Both attics and basements have some type of staircase or ladder leading to them, so protect your child from falls and injuries with these tips:
    • Ideally, have your stairs carpeted so that it’s less likely that your child will slip and fall.
    • Install a childproofing safety gate until all of your children are old enough and have the motor skills to go up and down stairs safely. Look for gates that are not accordion-style and that firmly attach to both sides of the doorway.
    • When your child has reached an appropriate stage of development (usually around 18 months), teach him/her how to climb stairs (using the handrail) and how to crawl down stairs backward on his/her belly. Then, when he/she is old enough, teach him/her how to walk down stairs (using the hand rail).
  • Just as in the rest of your home, make sure any large pieces of furniture are anchored to the wall so that they will not tip over.
  • Keep a child safety latch on the trash can, especially if you’re throwing away potentially dangerous items.
  • Use child safety locks on washers and dryers, to prevent your child from climbing inside.
  • If you have a laundry chute, install it out of your child’s reach if possible. If the chute is already installed, use child locks to prevent your child from opening the doors and falling down the chute.
  • If you have windows in your attic or basement, don’t forget to install childproof locks on them, as well as on all other windows in your home.

In blog articles such as these, our goal is to inform patients about childhood health and safety measures they may not know about or think about otherwise. But the purpose is not to make you panic about potential dangers in your home. Instead, we simply hope to give you the information you need to make your home as safe as possible, today and at each stage of your child’s development. If you have additional questions about childproofing your home or about other aspects of your child’s health and safety, contact Children’s Wellness Center and we will be happy to help. Or, to access your child’s records or schedule an appointment, log into our pediatric patient portal for a convenient choice.

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.