Top 10 overlooked childproofing issues
Accordingly to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission), about 2.5 million children are injured and some killed each year by dangers right in their own home. It is estimated that 90% of these accidents are preventable. That's why it's so important to carefully childproof your home.
Your pediatrician will remind you when your child turns 6 months old that you need to begin the process of childproofing. You know that this is a necessary part of keeping your child’s / children’s home environment as safe as possible, the measures that the you take now and in the future is very important as to maintaining an adequate level of safety. Childproofing does not remove the need for parental monitoring and control.
Just stepping out of room can result in injuries or harm to your child (just ask the mom in Denver that stepped into her closet momentarily to walk out and see her 3 year old holding a loaded handgun shooting himself in the foot).
Always keep in mind that they can be faster than you think. As a reminder, there is no substitute for continuous and adequate adult supervision of children.
If you are not certain as to what should be done, many people refer to Professional Childproofers. These experienced individuals deal with each home project carefully. You can find more information companies that do this at the International Association for Child Safety (www.IAFCS.org).
There is no set way of making every home safer for a child. But from my own experience and from data gleaned from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Safe Kids Worldwide, I list out what I believe are the Top 10 most overlooked childproofing issues:
Falls – The number one cause of preventable hospitalization for children 4 and under is falls. Falls can happen from stairs, going through or over stair railings, falling after climbing up on the outside of a stair railing, or out windows.
Drowning – The next biggest preventable cause of injury or death in children 4 and under is drowning. It is possible for a child to drown in as little as 1 inch of water. Protect your child from any standing source of water, like pools, hot tubs, toilets, bathtubs and utility buckets.
Kitchens & Baths – These are the two most dangerous rooms in a home. All sorts of problems can occur here. There are many objects that are attractive and fun for kids here. Knives, glass objects, big food items, hot surfaces, poisons. The list goes on and on. Lock and latch as many areas as possible, or better yet put unsafe items way out of the reach of a child.
Strangulation – There are a great deal of ways for children to get strangled. These include window and curtain cords, electrical and video monitor cords, tethered pacifiers, etc.
Electrocution – Children are naturally attracted to items powered by electricity. Their inquisitive nature takes them to the outlet. Always ensure that outlets are properly protected.
Choking – All sorts of hazards for choking exist for children. The bottom line is if it is small enough to fit inside a toilet paper roll tube, a child may choke on it.
Door Safety – There have been many children that have injured or amputated their fingers due to closing of a door, whether on the latch or hinge side.
Falling Furniture & TVs– A very common area that parents forget about protecting is furniture, especially ones that are prone to falling over if a child pulls a drawer out or climbs on a shelf. And don’t overlook one of the more common issues – the unmounted flat-screen TV – as they are very easy to slide or be pulled over, many times with tragic consequences.
Poisoning – All sorts of items around your home a poisoning hazards. Chemicals, cleaning solutions, medications, even spices. 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt can be dangerous, more can be lethal. Fluoride toothpastes are also dangerous. It you are ever in doubt with what may happen after a child ingests something, immediately call the Poison and Drug Control Center at 800-222-1222. By the way, everyone who supervised a child should have this number programmed into their cell phone as you never know when an ingestion event may happen.
- Childproofing Too Late or Inadequately – You should childproof your home as soon as your child starts to crawl (preferably before), and no later than when they start walking. At this point in time, they can move to an item that looks intriguing but is actually an injury waiting to happen.
This list should not be considered comprehensive. It is a starting point for what you should be considering to keeping your child as safe as possible. But as stated earlier, childproofing is not a substitute for diligent, constant and appropriate adult supervision.
Childproofing goods can break or may not work properly over time. As many of the devices that are used for childproofing are made out of plastic, it is important that all devices are periodically checked for viability and proper operation. Lastly, most people do not budget enough time to childproof their home. It can easily take 50 or more hours, even if you are handy, to childproof a 2,400 to 3,000 square foot home. If you don’t feel you are up to doing the job, call in a professional childproofer, especially someone who is a Certified Professional Childproofer®. They have the right knowledge, experience, expertise, tools and products to help safeguard your child. They can also save you a lot of time and aggravation.
Louie Delaware, The Home Safety Guru® is a Licensed General Contractor, an Advanced Certified Professional Childproofer®, a Certified Aging In Place Specialist®, Certified Radon Mitigator along with other safety certifications. Louie’s book, The Home Safety Guru’s Definitive Guide On How To Childproof Your Home is available at Amazon in Kindle and print versions at www.HowToChildproofYourHome.com.
For more information about Louie Delaware, go to his web site, www.TheHomeSafetyGuru.com. © 2008-2013 The Home Safety Guru®. All Rights Reserved