Child Safety – Keeping Your Home Safe for Your Baby
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If you have a baby in your house, you need to make sure they stay safe. Children don’t understand danger. And as they grow, babies become curious. Because of these things, you may need to change some things in your house to make sure they don’t get hurt.
Path to improved health
Go into each room in your house and look for dangers to your child. Here’s a list of some items that may need your attention
In the bedroom
Remove any cords that could get around the baby’s neck. Tie up electric cords, drapes and curtain cords, or tie up the cords so they are less than 6 inches (15 cm) long and out of your child’s reach. Mobiles and hanging crib toys should also be kept out of your baby’s reach. Remove strings on crib toys and pacifiers.
The crib is the main piece of furniture in the bedroom. A CSA-approved crib is always the best option. It should include a permanent label and detailed manufacturing information, instructions and a warning statement about mattress size and proper use. Never use a crib that is missing this label or made before 1987. Check that the bars of the crib no more than 6 cm (2 3/8 inches) apart.
When setting up the crib, place it away from all items with cords.
The crib should not have corner posts that stick up. Corner posts can be catch‑points for items placed around a child’s neck or clothing worn by the child. Unscrew the corner posts or saw them off.
The mattress should be firm, flat and fit tight within the crib frame. You should not be able to fit more than two fingers between the mattress and crib bars. Sheets should be smooth and tight-fitting. Do not use bumper pads, pillows, lambskins, quilts, stuffed toys or comforters in the crib.
- Choose carefully when shopping for toys. Look for toys that are well made and appropriate for your child’s age.
- Watch out for toys that have sharp edges, small parts or sharp points.
- Young children pull, prod and twist toys. Look for toys with tightly secured parts.
- Look for safety information on the toy or label such as “Not recommended for children under 3 years of age,” or “nontoxic” on toys likely to end up in little mouths. Look for “washable/hygienic materials” on stuffed toys and dolls.
- Avoid marbles, balls, games with balls and other toys that have parts smaller than 4.5 cm (1 3/4 inches) in diameter or smaller than 5 cm (2 inches) long. These products can choke young children if swallowed.
- Keep toys meant for older children away from babies and toddlers
In the bathroom
Because children can drown in very little water, you should always stay with your child when they are in the bathtub. NEVER leave your child alone or with an older child in the bathroom or tub – not even for a minute. If you have to answer the phone or doorbell, take your child with you.
Always test the water before putting your child in the tub. Young children have tender skin and are easily burned if the water in the sink or bathtub is too hot. Set your water heater to 48.9°C (120°F) or less. To check the temperature of the hot water from the faucet, run the water over a meat or candy thermometer for 3 minutes.
Add non-skid rubber mats or decals to the bottom of your bathtub to reduce the risk of your child slipping while in the tub. Make sure your child sits during a bath. Encourage this by giving them water-safe toys to play with.
Keep electrical items such as hair dryers away from the water. Unplug them when you aren’t using them. They can cause an electric shock if they fall into the sink or bathtub while they’re plugged in.
Encourage your child to never run in the bathroom. Your child or the floor can be wet. Running on a wet surface may make your child fall.
In the kitchen
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
- Use the back burners on the stove for cooking.
- Keep hot foods and drinks out of reach – away from the edge of a counter or table.
- Keep knives and other sharp objects out of reach or in locked or “childproof” drawers or cabinets.
- Wind up appliance cords and keep them out of reach.
Throughout the house
Keep medicines, vitamins, cleaning supplies and other poisons in locked cabinets. Children can’t tell the difference between medicine and candy.
If your child swallows something they shouldn’t, call your poison control center at 1-800-565-8161 right away. Keep the telephone number by your phone.
Plants should be placed out of your child’s reach. Some houseplants are poisonous. Call your local poison control center to find out if your plants are poisonous.
Use toddler gates at the top and bottom of stairs. Do not use gates with big spaces between the slats – children can get trapped in the openings.
Place door knob covers on doors that lead to the garage, basement, attic, or outdoors. This will help prevent your child from going where they shouldn’t go.
Keep children away from windows to prevent falls. Screens are made to keep bugs out ‑ not to keep children in. Use window guards to keep children from falling. Keep chairs and other furniture away from windows so children can’t climb up. If possible, open windows from the top, not the bottom.
Anchor furniture to walls. This will prevent it from tipping over if your child climbs on it. All large furniture, such as bookcases, dressers, and TVs not mounted on the wall, should be anchored. Visit your local hardware store for safety-strap kits. If you purchase new furniture that comes with safety straps, install them right away.
Other safety tips
- Use plastic inserts to cover electric outlet openings that are not being used.
- Keep guns and other firearms out of the house. If guns are in the house, unload them, put them in a locked place and keep the keys out of your child’s reach. Store the gun in a separate place from the bullets.
- When your baby is placed on anything above the ground, like a changing table, always stand close with your hand on your baby.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Child Safety Link
Caring for Kids (Canadian Pediatric Society)