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Toddler Home Safety Tips

Toddler Home Safety Tips Header

Home may be where the heart is, but it is also where many child accidents and injuries occur. When someone becomes a parent, simple household items that were never an issue suddenly become a safety concern. In addition to childproofing cabinets and stairways, parents and other family members can take a number of steps to keep babies, toddlers, and young children safe in the home. These tips can prevent serious injuries and even deaths.

Appliances

  • Never use electrical appliances around a child who is wet from swimming or bathing.
  • Avoid using electrical appliances when a child is in the bathtub.
  • Unplug small appliances and store them out of the reach of children. Toasters, microwaves, electric can openers, and other similar items should be stored in high cabinets or as far back on countertops as possible.
  • Do not allow children to play around electric appliances like hair dryers and space heaters.
  • Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove. (PDF) This reduces the risk of toddlers grabbing them and spilling hot food or liquid.
  • Use back burners to keep pots and pans out of the reach of children.
  • Some ovens have locks used during self-cleaning cycles. Use the oven lock any time the oven is not in use. This will prevent a child from standing on the oven door and accessing the controls of the stove.
  • Anyone with a freestanding stove should install an anti-tipping device to prevent the stove from toppling over on a child.
  • Use stove knob covers to prevent children from turning on the controls when the stove is not in use.

Automobile Safety

  • Little Girl Strapped in Car SeatAlways use an approved child restraint system when transporting a child in an automobile.
  • Ensure that all car seats are installed properly.
  • Never allow a toddler to sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle.
  • Always use harness straps correctly. These straps should fit snugly and lie in a straight line without any twisting or sagging.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, especially during warm weather. Toddlers do not cool their bodies as efficiently as adults, putting them at greater risk for heat stroke. Even when temperatures are only in the low 60s, the inside of a car can heat up to 110 F.
  • Use a forward-facing child seat for toddlers. (PDF) A toddler should sit in this kind of seat until he or she reaches the upper weight limit of the seat. This usually occurs at 40 pounds or four years of age.
  • Inspect car seats regularly to detect any defects that could put a child’s safety at risk. Immediately replace any car seat that shows signs of wear or has obvious defects.
  • Check state laws to determine what type of car seat is required.

Cabinets

  • Little Girl reaching for Unsecured PoisonsAdd childproof latches to all low cabinets in the home. These latches are easy for adults to remove, but they prevent toddlers from opening cabinets that contain hazardous items.
  • Move cleaning products and hazardous chemicals to a high cabinet or a high shelf in a closet. (PDF) This helps prevent poisoning accidents in the home.
  • Store knives, scissors, and other sharp objects in a locked cabinet or in a cabinet that is out of a child’s reach.

Cribs

  • Use fitted sheets made specifically for cribs.
  • Make sure the mattress is firm and fits tightly into the crib frame. This can prevent a child from getting trapped between the frame and the mattress.
  • Avoid using a crib that has cutouts at the head or foot of the frame. A child’s head can get trapped in these spaces.
  • Avoid putting stuffed animals, pillows, and other objects in the crib, as they pose a suffocation risk.
  • Regularly check product recall lists to determine if a crib needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • Never put a baby to sleep laying on his or her stomach. (PDF) They should always sleep on their backs.
  • Avoid placing cribs near windows, heaters, or dangling objects. This increases the risk of injuries.

Electricity

  • Inspect electrical items regularly to ensure that no frayed cords or other defects are present. Frayed cords can shock children or even electrocute them.
  • Do not put electrical cords under carpets and rugs. This increases the risk of fires and trip and fall injuries.
  • Avoid overloading electrical sockets with an excessive number of plugs. This increases the risk for electrical fires.
  • Use outlet covers to prevent children from inserting objects into electrical outlets. (PDF) This reduces the risk of electrocution.

Hard Surfaces

  • Use caution when waxing or cleaning floors. (PDF) Keep children out of the area until the floor is no longer slippery.
  • Encourage children to play in carpeted areas instead of rooms with tile or wood floors. If a child falls, the carpet will cushion his or her landing, preventing serious injuries.
  • Disinfect surfaces regularly to prevent children from picking up germs. (PDF)

Pet Safety

  • Do not allow children to play with pets without supervision.
  • Teach children how to avoid dog bites. Children should know how to protect their faces and hands. They should also be taught to call for help instead of screaming at a biting dog. Screaming or running away can further provoke the dog.
  • Boy Snoozing with Big Dog
  • Designate a safe spot where pets can spend time away from children. Teach children the importance of allowing a pet to have alone time.
  • Teach children about pet body language. (PDF) Explain that there are certain ways a pet demonstrates that it wants to be left alone. Instruct children to pay attention to these signals.

Stairs

  • Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways. This will prevent children from playing on the stairs and putting themselves at risk for falls.
  • Parent Watches Baby Climb Stairs
  • Repair worn carpet or loose boards on stairs as soon as you notice the problem. These defects increase the risk of falls.
  • Do not use baby walkers. Children can fall down the stairs while using this type of product.

Toy Safety

  • Check Recalls.gov regularly to see if any toys have been recalled. Follow the recall instructions carefully.
  • Inspect toys regularly to identify any missing or broken pieces. Repair or replace these toys before returning them to the play area.
  • Look for labels that identify toys as flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Wooden Toy train with Orange Wheels
  • Store toys on shelves or in plastic bins. Putting toys away prevents children from tripping on them.
  • Toy chests should have ventilation holes. Curious children sometimes climb into these boxes and close the lids, making the ventilation holes necessary for breathing.

Water Safety

  • Never allow children to swim without the supervision of an adult.
  • Ensure that young children wear life jackets when boating, fishing, or performing other activities on or near the water.
  • Always empty cleaning buckets and other containers of liquid. Just an inch of water is enough to drown a child.
  • Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub.
  • Always test the temperature of the water before putting a child in the bathtub.
  • Install fencing around swimming pools. The fence should be at least 4 feet high and have slats less than 4 inches apart.


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