Larry D. Jones, MPH, Health Director
July 2, 2012
For young children, everyday household structures can turn into potential dangers. It is important to remember that young children are still developing mobility and coordination during this time and can be prone to more injuries due to falls.
When children start to learn how to walk, typically around the age of 1 year, they start to pull themselves up using furniture. Once they have mastered walking, toddlers may try and climb furniture to reach whatever they can see.
There are many simple, easy and inexpensive ways to improve the safety around your home.
If you have a rug covering a hardwood or tile floor, make sure that the rug has a pad underneath to hold it securely to the floor’s surface so the child does not slip and fall.
Never place a baby in a bouncer or infant seat on a countertop or on top of furniture. A baby’s movement can make the seat unstable and tip over and off of the countertop or furniture.
Make sure that all pieces of furniture a child might climb (dressers, TV stands, cabinets, etc) are secured to the wall using an “L” bracket. These brackets are designed to secure furniture to the wall so they will not fall over and onto a child.
Another important safety tip is to put nonskid strips on the bottom of bathtubs to prevent children from slipping and falling in the tub.
Some structures in your home such as window and stairs are also potential danger areas.
When it comes to windows, the best recommendation is to get windows that open from the top. If you do not have a window like this, you may purchase window guards to prevent a child from falling through screens. Screens are designed to keep bugs out and not designed to keep children from falling out of windows.
When it comes to stairs in the house, you still need to supervise your little one even if there is a gate. Children can climb up baby gates and fall trying to get over the gate. You also want to make sure to install hardware-mounted safety gates at the top and bottom of every stairway.
When it comes to outdoor safety, the number one rule is to always supervise your child.
Make sure that all the play equipment is safe and does not have any loose parts or rust. Check to make sure the sidewalk and outdoor steps are clear of toys, objects, and anything that could block a clear path for the child.
Also, if your child is learning how to ride a bike, make sure they have a bike helmet, you are there to supervise, and the child is taught about bike safety.
Keeping our children safe is a priority to every parent, so make the effort to childproof your house. Look around your house and identify potential dangers from a child’s perspective. It can be difficult to identify every danger in your home and it is really up to you on how much or how little you childproof your home.
Remember to create a safe place for your child to explore. Always supervise your child, especially during the early years when children are learning how to walk and developing mobility and coordination.
For more information contact the Independence Health Department at 325-7185.
*information provided by safekids.org and kidshealth.org