Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Home Safety Tips for Parents

Keeping Babies and Toddlers Safe in the Home

We hear a lot about keeping our kids safe from the perils of technology – texting, social media, internet predators. However, I recently had a new mom ask me: What do I do to keep my baby and toddlers safe in the home? There is so much emphasis on older kids and computers and phones and iPods that I feel like those basics are being forgotten.

So started a great conversation about home safety – and none of it really had anything to do with computers or Facebook. It was about getting back to the basics, keeping kids safe, and teaching them how to make safe decisions. While there are things parents can do to extremes when keeping their children safe from peril, there are certain safety tips my household probably couldn’t have survived well without.

Safety Check-List for the Home

The precious first years can also be the years that try parents’ patience and energy, as exploring hands want to try everything. Just because a decorative plant your Aunt Sally gave you isn’t intended to fly or be eaten does not mean that your toddler won’t explore these options.

Remember the golden safety rule for kids under 5:

If it can be chewed, licked, torn, shoved up a nose, thrown, climbed, hidden, smashed, or lost – it will be.

  • Explore on your belly and crawling. This is how your little ones are going to be seeing the world for a while, so get down on their level and make sure that their perspective is free of dangers. Look for things like cords that are under tables, breakables on low shelves, unsecured cabinets and drawers, etc.
  • Set your water heater to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and until your kids are old enough to know better, test the bath water before they do.
  • Use plastic electrical safety plugs to cover unused outlets and invest in cord guards like these for groups of cords that you just can’t tuck away easily, like in your home office or near the TV.
  • Install cabinet and drawer locks. I kept two cabinets without locks – the Tupperware and pots/pans ones – so that my toddlers had the unfettered joy of banging lids and “helping” in the kitchen. If you have Lazy Susan cabinets, locks like these will help protect against smashed fingers.
  • Use doorknob safety covers for entryways to rooms and stairs that just aren’t safe for kids. You can find lever lock covers like these, but we found that the safety covers for round handles were easier for our older kids (who still needed/wanted access to rooms) so we just switched out the lever handles and temporarily replaced them with round ones in order to accommodate.
  • Secure tall or unstable pieces of furniture to the wall. I used to think this was extreme until I had 3 boys under the age of 5 – who climbed. Everything. Bookshelves and dressers become miniature Mount Everests, and these little monkeys can be severely injured, or worse, when those objects fall.

Safety Plans

There was no magic age when we introduced our kids to safety plans around the home. These are just things that we always practiced and reviewed with them, in age appropriate terms.

Have a fire safety plan. For our family this meant showing the older kids how to take the screens off of windows, and for all of the kids, how to stop, drop, and roll, move low to the ground, and touch doorknobs first before entering a room to check for heat. One of the most important things we also established is a Safe Meeting Zone – the place where we all meet outside if something happens inside the home (such as a fire). This way we aren’t all running around looking for each other. We also took our kids to a practice run held by local firefighters. This included a miniature home that was filled with “smoke”, and the kids learned to maneuver along the ground and not panic in the dark.

Create a weather safety plan. For us this means tornados, thunderstorms, and blizzards, but maybe it means tropical storms and hurricanes for your family. Teaching even very young children about the safety precautions you can take during bad weather gives them control over the situation and can reduce childhood fears. As part of our weather safety plans in our home, the kids:

  • Know where the flashlights and batteries are located
  • Know to select 2 comfort items to bring to the basement during tornado warnings
  • Understand the importance of staying together and listening for directions from Mom and Dad

Keeping our precious children safe is not always easy, especially on our hearts and minds. But we don’t need to roll out the bubble wrap – we just need to take a few deep breaths and remember how to think like a kid. Remember:

If it can be chewed, licked, torn, shoved up a nose, thrown, climbed, hidden, smashed, or lost – it will be.

Related posts:

  1. Communication Tips for Work-at-Home Parents
  2. Toddler Swimming Safety Tips
  3. Bringing Your Baby Home – Tips to Make the First Days Easier

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

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