COVID-19 has so many of us, including families with young children, staying at home. Schools are closed. We’re working from home. These are stressful times and it’s easy for things to get hectic. Since we’re spending more time at home, it’s important to revisit some basic home safety guidelines to make sure your home is still a safe environment for your kids. Here are some simple things you can do to keep your kids safe during quarantine:
1. Don’t let your infant sleep in your bed. The safest place for your infant to sleep is their crib. Even though it can be comforting to have them with you, the risk of rolling over on them is always there.
2. Keep toys and blankets out of their crib. While it might seem like a good idea to have toys and blankets in their crib to keep them occupied, the risk of suffocation increases.
3. Use safety gates. Find safety gates that can be screwed into walls and place them by your stairs to prevent younger children from climbing and falling.
4. Protect them from household poisons. Now more than ever, we’re cleaning and disinfecting our homes often. Many common items around the house can be poisonous or harmful to children, including cleaning supplies, laundry detergents, toiletries, alcohol, and more. Here’s what you can do to help keep them away from your children:
- Lock up medications. If you store your medications in a cabinet or closet, make sure it’s locked to keep children from getting into them. Don’t leave them out. Once you’re done using a cleaning product or taking medication, put it away.
- Store them out of reach. Put hazardous materials on a high shelf so young children can’t reach them.
- Keep emergency phone numbers handy. If you suspect your child has ingested something hazardous, make sure the number for Poison Control is handy (1-800-222-1222).
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5. Protect your kids from choking hazards. Now that kids of all ages are home, it’s important to make sure that items that might be appropriate for older children are kept out of reach to your younger children. Here are some things you can do keep your kids safe:
- Make sure toys are age-appropriate. What’s fine for your older children may be dangerous to the little ones. Look at the age range on the packaging of your toys and make sure they’re appropriate for the child playing with them.
- Throw away old batteries. When you change batteries, dispose of the old ones immediately.
- Keep potentially harmful toys out of reach. Toys with backs that don’t screw-on, for example, can be choking hazards to younger children. Store those up high.
- Talk with older children. Make sure that when they’re playing with toys that could potentially be a hazard to younger children that they pay attention and put them away when they’re done.
6. Be aware of fire hazards. According to the American Red Cross, children under five are twice as likely as people of other ages to die in a house fire. Here’s what you can do to keep them safe:
- Store matches and lighters where your kids can’t get to them.
- Install and maintain smoke detectors all-around your house.
- Have a fire escape plan and practice at least twice a year.
- Teach your kids how to “stop, drop, and roll” if their clothes are on fire.
7. Practice gun safety. Accidental injuries or deaths from guns can be prevented. If you have guns in your house, make sure you:
- Keep them locked in a safe, closet, or drawer.
- Keep all guns unloaded.
- Store and lock ammunition in a different location.
- Make sure your gun safe keys or combination are hidden from your children.
8. Anchor heavy furniture.
Heavy or tall furniture items can fall and cause serious injury or death to a child if they climb onto or pull on them, so make sure they’re securely anchored to the wall. In addition to monitoring your children, make sure that items they typically use, such as toys or books, aren’t visibility stored in a tall piece of furniture, which will decrease the chance of them climbing it.
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