Keeping the kids safe can be quite a challenge. After all, there’s a world full of dangers out there that many parents just dread. From ill-meaning strangers to suffocation to burns to allergies to poisoning, there is certainly a lot to keep in mind all at once!
However, with the steady grind of everyday life, it can be easy to forget common safety tips even for just one day. These lapses are typically harmless. However, with just the wrong sort of timing, they can also have disastrous results.
Of course, things needn’t be that way. It’s important to be consistent when it comes to enforcing home safety policies. We’ve listed here some of the things that parents often forget to keep in mind.
15 Allergen Information
Food production companies are required to list allergen information prominently in their packaging. Nevertheless, it may not occur to you to check allergen information, especially if your child has no history of allergies in the first place. It is mostly only monitored by parents with kids who get extreme allergic reactions.
But it’s still important to check this label regularly, along with the nutritional facts. This is because some allergies turn up later in childhood, sometimes even during adolescence. Monitoring sources of common allergens may be able to help you identify an allergy when it turns up.
14 Toy Age Restrictions
You may have noticed that most toys have a listed age recommendation. Toy manufacturers are legally required to put these on the labels of their products in most countries.
The main reason why these recommendations are in place is because certain toys may serve as a choking hazard for young children. Very young kids, after all, explore the world by putting things in their mouths. This can be dangerous if an object lodges in their throat, preventing breathing. Other hazards include the potential danger of electric shocks or strangulation hazards. You must therefore follow these age restrictions strictly.
13 Hide the Cleaning Products
It’s common advice to keep all cleaning products, such as those used to clean the bathroom, out of plain sight. However, some parents do occasionally forget to hide these items immediately once they’re done with them. This can pose a danger as the different chemicals in cleaning products can result in poisoning or even chemical burns if ingested or if it comes with contact with the skin.
Another thing to note is that cleaning products in this case even includes adult hygiene products like mouthwash and toothpaste. These, after all, may contain chemicals such as fluoride. If a young child gets his hand on these and swallows them, it may result in a fluoride overdose. If you think your child has ingested a cleaning product, call an emergency hotline immediately.
12 Keep Batteries Away
Batteries may not look dangerous, but there is a reason why they must be disposed of in specific ways. Batteries contain chemicals that store its electric charge. Lithium ion batteries contain manganese dioxide. Alkaline batteries may contain potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide. Acid batteries on the other hand may have manganese dioxide and ammonium chloride.
These chemicals are toxic, some of which can even cause chemical burns if the battery breaks and touches the skin. In this case, you must rinse the affected area in water for 15 minutes. If, however, you suspect that the chemical was ingested, call your local poison hotline immediately. The faster you get help, the better your child’s chance of getting better. Any delay in treatment could be fatal.
11 Handles Away from Edges
It’s pretty much common knowledge to keep the handles of your pots and pans away from the edge of your stove. In fact, it’s best to not to place any part of them near the reach of a child at all.
This is because children love exploring, reaching out and touching things, especially if they’ve seen their parents do so as well. If your child manages to touch a hot pot or tips the scalding contents of one over herself, she will get serious burns that will require immediate treatment.
10 Install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Many parents forget to install a carbon monoxide alarm in their houses. We are, after all, told that it is important. But many of us never actually go around to doing it. However, getting a carbon monoxide alarm could be just as important as getting a smoke alarm. This is because carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. Often, you won’t know that something is wrong until it’s too late.
Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by incomplete combustion of all sorts of fuels, including wood and natural gas. It binds to hemoglobin in your red blood cells, making them incapable of carrying oxygen, and just basically starving your blood cells of oxygen. They are especially dangerous for small children whose blood cells can get easily overwhelmed by this dangerous gas.
9 Looking for Strangulation Hazards
The strings of your blinds, electrical cords, and even just long pieces of anything can be a hazard for your little one. For young children, it’s important not to leave these anywhere near her bed or room. It becomes an even bigger danger for kids who can already walk. If you lose sight of her for just a few seconds, she might end up playing with these dangerous things and strangle herself.
It’s therefore important to keep these hazards well out of reach. For electrical cords, some stores sell special containers that ensure that only the amount of cord needed is out. The longer the material, after all, the greater the risk that your little one will tangle herself in it.
8 Car Seats and Seat Belts
In many areas, you’re legally obliged to get a car seat for your little one. But even if it’s not mandatory where you live, you will still want to get one. After all, it’s still one of the best ways to ensure that your little one is safe in the event of an accident or even a fast stop.
But car seats aren’t the only places where you want to keep your little one well secured. If your little one is on a high chair during a meal, for instance, she might manage a way to wiggle out of her seat and fall off. It is therefore important to get high chairs that have little seat belts to ensure that this does not happen.
7 No Pillows for Babies
Many parents have heard that pillows, soft mattresses and stuffed toys are not recommended for babies. However, that does not stop them from buying these soft items to ensure their baby’s comfort. But this is dangerous considering that these items increase the risk for sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. This is because babies still do not have full control of movement of their neck muscles.
If your baby manages to trap her head inside the pillows or toys, or faces downwards in the soft mattress, she may not be able to breathe. If she can’t lift or move her head in time, she may get smothered.
6 On Guns
If there is a gun in the house, it’s vital that it is stored properly. First of all, the gun must have a child-safe lock that can prevent your child from pulling the trigger if she gets her hands on it. Second, when not in use, the gun must always be unloaded. Ideally, the ammunition should be stored in a separate location as the gun itself. Finally, keep it out of sight in a locked container.
This may seem like excessive precautions, but they’re necessary for your child’s safety. Accidents involving guns are often tragic. This is especially since many gun owners keep these for their family’s safety, only to have it threaten that safety instead.
5 Toilet Seat Locks
When your little one is around water, make sure to always keep watch. After all, you never know when she might accidentally slip into a pool or bathtub and drown.
But another water-related hazard that you must watch out for is your toilet. For one thing, the inside of the toilet may have large numbers of germs that can cause infection. For another, it is possible for small children to reach and fall into toilets out of curiosity. It’s safer, therefore, to invest in toilet seat locks that can ensure your child’s safety in the bathroom.
4 Keep Grocery Bags Away
When you bring plastic bags home from the grocery, make sure to dispose of them or store them properly if you’re planning on reusing them. Plastic bags are often colorful and therefore interesting to little kids. Your child might put them over her head and end up suffocating if she gets herself trapped in it.
This doesn’t just apply to grocery bags, though. Anything that your child could put over her head and nose, preventing her breathing, such as cling wrap, should be placed well out of sight and out of reach.
3 Childproof Electric Outlets
Getting childproofing for electric outlets is another thing that many people mean to do but might forget in the flurry of everyday life. However, it is a very important safety precaution, especially when you have toddlers or preschoolers in the house.
Your child might attempt to imitate adults by plugging in appliances or, worse, stick her fingers in the outlet holes out of curiosity. In fact, it is important that anything that poses an electric shock hazard have necessary protection.
2 Learn CPR
If you can, it’s important to take some time off to enroll in a class that teaches you first aid and basic life support for children. It might take a few days off of your busy schedule, but it will allow you to learn things that are extremely important in order to prevent or deal with many of the situations above.
Of course, CPR is one of those skills that you’d never want to actually use. However, it is essential to learn and, you might find, a literal lifesaver when things go wrong.
1 Talk to Your Kids
Finally, it’s also important to talk to your kids about basic safety, especially when they’re school age. You must, for instance, teach them to look before crossing the road. You might also want to teach them not to talk to strangers and not allow anyone to touch their private parts. You should also teach them what to do if they happen to get lost.
But there’s a balance that you must strike here. While you’re teaching them basic safety, it’s also important that you do it in a way that they don’t become paranoid about everything.