The numbers don’t lie. Did you know that 56,000 children are injured each and every day of the year which results in almost 21 million injuries a year? An even sadder statistic is that 22,000 of the children injured each year die of those injuries and another 60,000 become permanently disabled from their injuries. Given these figures, it is no wonder that the cost to the United States healthcare system is approximately $347 billion dollars.
This amount of money represents almost 300,000 hospitals stays for the children injured. Additionally, there were 8,700,000 visits to emergency rooms and 10,600,000 children who were seen in their pediatrician or primary care physician’s office. 90% of the children who were injured received their injuries at home. As frightening as these statistics are, your child does not have to become a statistic if you take some time to think about your home and how to ensure it is the safest place for your child to be.
Before this article begins to provide are a few tips for home safety, here is a definition for the word accident – an accident is anything that has gone wrong without warning even if it could have been avoided such as: acquiring and injury when touching a sharp object or hot stove, being injured by and electrical current and/or swallowing poisons. In general these injuries are caused by not putting into place basic normal precautions.
The key phrase in the definition is – injuries are caused by not putting into place basic normal precautions. This phrase is important because it means some injuries are preventable. Preventable means, you can stop your child from being injured in your home by taking precautions that will keep him/her safe. Read through the tips below to see just how easy it is for you to be sure your child does not become one of the statistics identified above.
1. Place locks and safety latches on your drawers the cabinets that hold poisons or toxins, sharp objects and other dangerous substances or objects.
2. Ask your pharmacist to use child-proof caps on medicine containers and, when buying off the shelf medicines, do the same.
3. Store all kinds of plastic bags out of the reach of your children so they do not get them and place them over their heads creating the possibility of suffocation.
4. Before giving your child a toy, make sure it does not have any small or loose objects that can be swallowed.
5. Place nightlights that have small plastic light bulbs in sockets out of the reach of a child.
6. Put all plants up on stands or tables where they are out of the reach of your child.
7. Only put your child in a crib that meets current federal standards. Be sure the mattress is firm and fits the crib tightly. The rule of thumb is – never put your child into a bed that has any obvious, or not so obvious, chances for them to be suffocated or strangled.
8. Use safety gates to prevent your child from a fall down steps and to keep them away from dangerous areas of the house such as the kitchen, a workshop etc.
9. Place window guards and safety netting on windows to prevent injuries from falling. It is important to know that window screens do not prevent falls. Children can push against the screens fairly easily and push them out of the bindings. Be sure that you have at least one widow in every room that can be opened in case of fire.
10. Get the cords from vertical blinds tied up and out of the reach of your child.
11. Get electrical cords out of the reach of children by either hiding them under baseboards or having large bulky furniture placed in front of them to obscure access.
12. Apply bumper cushions on the edges and corners of furniture that children may fall up against.
13. On the outside of bathroom and bedroom door, install emergency releases. You can also cover or take the locks off of doors. The point is to secure a lock so children will not be locked in a room.
14. Cover all electrical outlets.
15. Be sure you have your water heater adjusted to 102 degrees to prevent scalding and burns.
16. Keep all guns unloaded and in a locked box. Making sure you have the trigger lock on is a good idea too. Keep ammunition for guns in a different location than the gun(s) and make sure it is in a secure locked container. Keep the key(s) to these objects in a place that children can not reach.
Following through with these tips and putting your house into order to prevent injuries will help reduce the chances your child will be injured. But, all the preparation in the world does not reduce the need for you or someone to always supervise your child. As you recall from the definition of an accident -it is something that occurs unexpectedly. The closer you are to your child, when the chance for something unexpected to occur, the better chance you have of personally preventing it.