Parents might like to joke that they've got a spare set of eyes on the backs of their heads to offer that air of authority and omniscience, but when it comes to child safety measures, there's no room for puns and pretending. Home accidents, unfortunately, happen to thousands of families across America each year, and in many cases, the causes of those injuries might have been completely preventable with a few choice safety measures put into place.
As we roll into National Child Safety and Prevention Month this year, consider implementing a few of these key safety measures to make sure your little ones are as well-guarded against accidents at home as they can possibly be.
Get the baby gates.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injury in American children, particularly when it comes to infants under one year of age. So, while the idea of installing a baby gate at every possible precipice might seem like a chore, it's worth it to keep your bouncing bundle of joy from suffering a major booboo from taking a spill down some steps.
Get serious about fire safety.
There's no doubt that a dying fire alarm battery can be a bane and a pain when every room is filled with the requisite units and one starts to beep for a new battery, but it's well worth that temporary inconvenience and audio annoyance factor to ensure the safety of your entire family. So, follow the fire safety guidelines for smoke alarms and extinguishers set by the National Fire Protection Association to make sure your family sleeps soundly and safely.
Anchor your furniture.
It might seem like your dressers and bureaus are heavy enough to withstand a tug or two from tiny hands, but there's more danger in an unanchored piece of furniture than you might expect. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, tipovers account for more than 22,000 child injuries a year and can be prevented with a few common sense steps, including anchoring your furniture to ensure it won't fall if and when your curious little climber tries to make Mt. Everest out of his or her chest of drawers.
Lock up your medicine cabinet.
The Food and Drug Administration reports that thousands of childhood hospitalizations happen each year due to accessing improperly stored prescription drugs, so the agency recommends using a locked box and proper disposal methods to ensure your meds don't end up in the wrong mouths.
Secure your cleaning supplies.
It's no secret that most household cleaning supplies aren't meant to be ingested by tiny tummies, so under-the-sink storage needs to be approached wisely, if at all. Childproof cabinet locks are a start for securing those reachable storage spots for such products, but opting for higher storage in the laundry room or pantry could provide an extra layer of protection to ensure those grabby fingers don't get into something that looks tasty, but could hurt them.
Stow your pet food in an unreachable spot as well.
Studies have shown that humans, especially children under two, may contract salmonella from eating dog or cat food which has been contaminated with the bacteria strain, so it's important for those parents who do have some furbabies to match their two-legged kids to keep any animal food out of reach.
Install some safety provisions in your bathtub.
The Center for Disease Control recommends installment grab bars and safety mats in a child's bathtub as well as using proper ventilation in the restroom to avoid mold or mildew contamination that might impact their allergies. It's also important to use a door knob cover to keep them away from the tub area at night time if the room connects to their own, a latch on the toilet seat cover to prevent falls into the basin and squished fingers, and, of course, keeping an eye on bathing children at all times until the draining and drying process is done.
Cover up those sharp edges.Cabinet corners, table legs, lamps -- you name it, and if it's got any kind of a squared off edge, it can be a hazardous for kids who are just coming to understand the bounds of their bodies. Invest in some soft protective covers for your sharp edges to avoid the ouchies that might come from those kiddos being their clumsy, uncoordinated (and cute!) selves around the house. It might dial down the adult aesthetic of a room just a bit, but the good news is, the edges will also protect your furniture from damage in exchange for protecting the little ones. Win-win.