Back to From the Editor

Child Safety Month

 
     
 

November is National Child Safety Month. This month serves as a reminder that there are a lot of everyday dangers to children that can be prevented with a little forethought and planning.
  Here are several tips and trick to try and implement to keep your kiddos safe!
  Basic household safety can go a long way to preventing in-home accidents. Here are some tips to make your home safer for your kiddos.
  Use safety gates. Even before your baby crawls, install safety gates to match your home and protect curious children from harm. Hardware mounted gates should be installed at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  Prepare for bedtime: Remove all soft, fluffy and loose bedding from the baby’s sleep area. This includes pillows, blankets, quilts, bumper pads, sleep positioners, sheepskins, stuffed toys and other soft products.
  Be mindful of plants. Choose decorative plants that are nontoxic. Common household plants can often cause serious sickness.
  Update your exterior. Place a welcome mat outside your home or apartment. Pesticides and other toxins may be carried inside on the soles of people's shoes.
  Keep things tidy. Storage bins offer a great way to store toys and baby supplies, preventing anyone from tripping. 
  Get creative. Hand paint electrical outlet covers to blend into walls. Install doorknob covers as a means to keep little hands from opening doors.
  Lock it up. Put locks on anything and everything that can open.
  Be cautious of choking hazards. Be vigilant about coins, marbles, keys, jewelry, paper clips, water bottle tops, safety pins, removable rubber tips on doorstops, jeweled decorations on children's clothing, crayons, and hard and round foods.
  Check out your furniture. Use angle braces or anchors to secure large furniture to the wall. Place TVs, and entertainment systems on lower furniture, as far back as possible.
  Hot water: Set hot water heaters no higher than 120 degrees F. A lower water temperature reduces the chance of scald burns. Munchkin's White Hot Super Safety Bath Ducky can help you manage the temperature of water in your children's baths.
***
  The recent flash flooding in our area serves as a reminder that we should always be prepared for disaster. What can you do to help keep your family safe during a disaster?
  Make sure all disaster plans are up to date and that everyone in your family knows them. If your family does not have one, now is a great time to plan. Have a practice run to ensure everything will run smoothly when the real thing happens.
  Update your emergency bag. Include things your children require, or use, on a daily basis; for example, diapers, pacifier, baby formula. This bag should be changed periodically to make sure it meets your child’s current needs (and that food/medication is not expired). Don’t forget:
• Extra water
• Non-perishable snacks and food that your child likes
• Toys or a stuffed animal
• Spare clothing
• Blankets
• Toiletries
• Any medications (like an inhaler)
• A flashlight for your child to use
• A copy of important documents: birth certificates, immunization records, insurance cards, etc.
***
  As a parent, you take all of the precautions for the physical safety for your children such as car seats, seatbelts, bike helmets, and training wheels. Many parents talk with their child about never talking to, getting into the car with, or accepting anything from strangers.
  You should consider putting together a plan for what to do if your child is taken by an estranged relative, goes missing, or even is kidnapped. You have a plan for if a fire strikes your home, a designated case of emergency person should something happen to you and even a will for when you pass away. Knowing what to do if something should happen to your child is just as important.
  A current photo-id will enhance efforts to locate your child. The recent photograph that you took using your smart phone can become important should your child wander off.
  Fingerprint your children because a child’s appearance will change even in a short time. Fingerprints are the best way to identify a missing child.
  Know your child’s schedule during the day and especially secret places they like to hide or go to with friends.
Where to Get a Fingerprinting Kit
  Contact your local police department to ask if the department provides home fingerprinting kits. Some departments will fingerprint your child for you. If your local police department does neither, you can easily find fingerprint kits for sale online. http://www.yoursafechild.com/ or http://www.fingerprintamerica.com/ YourSafeChild offers inexpensive child fingerprinting kits as well as materials for keeping dental and other records.
***
  Do you have a teen that is about to start driving? Here are a few ways to provide teens and preteens with the tools and support they need to make responsible choices before they are ready to drive or ride with other young, new drivers.
  Kids are always watching, even when you think they’re not. So be a good example. Try to eliminate distractions by not using a cell phone or texting while driving. Use your teen or preteen to read maps and help with finding locations.
  Teach your kids to ride with experienced drivers and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Parents must decide what “experienced” means.
  Make it a rule that kids younger than 13 ride like a VIP—in the back. This is the safest place for preteens and younger children to sit.
  When carpooling, make sure you have enough seating positions and booster seats for every child in your car and that kids enter and exit curbside.
  We all know seatbelts save lives. Be sure your kids are ready for a seat belt by giving them the following Safety Belt Fit Test:
  Your children's knees should bend at the edge of the seat when their backs and bottoms are against the vehicle seat back; and
  The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs; and
  The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.
  Once your children pass the Safety Belt Fit Test, teach them the importance of using seat belts on every ride, whether they're with you or not. This is a habit you can instill at an early age. If they learn this lesson early, they'll be more likely to buckle up when they're older or when you're not around.
  When adults wear seat belts, kids wear seat belts. So be a good example and buckle up for every ride. Be sure everyone in the vehicle buckles up, too.
  A lap and shoulder belt provides the best protection for your children and should be used on every ride.
  We know kids like to slouch or lean against the windows during the drive, but it makes a difference in terms of safety. Have your children sit upright when using seat belts.
  We all live busy lives and kids make them even busier. With a little planning and information you can make sure that your kids live safe and happy lives!