How Can Parents Prevent Child Injuries?
The best way to protect your child while they’re in the care of someone else is to child-proof your home as much as possible and give thorough directions of care to whoever is watching them. If they’re going to a daycare center, it’s important to make sure that the center has been child-proofed, isn’t overcrowded, has enough staff, and everyone is trained and aware of any health issues or allergies your child has. Below are a few tips on how to child-proof your home and what to look for in a daycare center in order to protect your child from personal injury.
At Keller, Woods & Thompson, P.A., we’ve helped Minnesota and Wisconsin parents move forward after all manner of child injuries.
Quick Tips For Childproofing Your Home
While there is no foolproof method to preventing child injuries, you can reduce the risk little ones face by preparing for their arrival in a few different ways:
- Keep candles, lighters and matches out of reach to prevent burn injuries and eliminate choking hazards. Keep heavy or breakable objects — like books and picture frames — out of reach as well to prevent objects from falling on them. If they break a frame, they are at risk to be cut by the glass.
- Mount your television, other electronics and picture frames. This will keep them out of reach and prevent your child from being able to pull these objects down on top of them.
- Keep open electrical outlets covered with outlet plugs and make sure power strips are out of reach. If an outlet is exposed, your child could try to put a metal object in it, risking electrocution. If you have a fireplace, make sure it’s covered by a locking, heat-resistant gate to prevent burn injuries. In case your child falls, you should also pad the edges of the hearth to prevent cuts and broken bones. Keep fire-stoking tools out of reach as well.
- Make sure smaller toys are put away and stay out of reach of younger children. They pose a choking hazard.
- Make sure table edges and any furniture with sharp corners are padded as they can cause bumps and bruises if your child falls. If tables are made of nontempered glass, they are easier to shatter and should be placed in a room your child doesn’t have access to.
- Make sure cribs are appropriately set up for the age of your child. Keep stuffed animals and blankets out of cribs for babies because they are at risk to suffocate. For children who can sit up, make sure the mattress is low enough so they can’t climb out.
- Windows should have cordless blinds installed to prevent strangling. If the window sits lower, it should also have a guard installed so your child can’t push the screen out and fall.
- Keep dressers secure and closed when not in use and make sure children don’t pull on open drawers while in use. Anchor it to the wall or the floor, along with any other furniture that they could tip over.
- Porcelain statues and piggy banks are a cute way to decorate a child’s room, but make sure they are out of reach so your child can’t break anything. Piggy banks can be especially dangerous if children are able to get coins out of it because of the choking hazard.
- In other bedrooms, make sure blankets are securely tucked in or out of reach. Keep breakable and heavy items out of reach. Also, secure furniture in this room as well and pad any edges that are a similar height to your child.
- Keep cabinets locked, especially ones that contain cleaners and chemicals. You could also store these toxic items in cabinets that are out of reach of your child. It’s not a bad idea to keep all lower cabinets locked so your child can’t open them and pull out heavy pots and pans.
- Store all cutlery in higher cabinets that children can’t reach. It may seem out of the way to have a knife block pushed into the corner, but most toddlers can still reach the counter-top. To be safe, keep sharp knives stored in cabinets out of your child’s reach.
- Lock your dishwasher to prevent your child from ingesting any detergent or grabbing at sharp knives or breakable dishes. Most dishwashers have a lock setting built into the machine. Otherwise, you can invest in an appliance lock that works with your machine.
- Keeping other appliances out of reach is also important. Make sure cords for these appliances are also out of reach so your child can’t pull on them and pull the appliance down on top of themselves. Microwaves are especially dangerous. It is best to have them mounted to the wall. Never leave a running microwave or heated food in the microwave unattended.
- The stove is another dangerous heating element in the kitchen. If burner knobs are at the front of the stove, remove them while not in use so your child can’t mess with them and accidentally turn on a burner. While cooking, try to use the back burners and don’t face handles outward for your child to pull on. Keep oven doors locked so your child can’t pull the door down on top of themselves.
- Consider latching your fridge if your child can open it. If you don’t install a latch, make sure items that are poisonous (like medication) or choking hazards (like grapes) are stored on higher shelves. If you can gate off your dining area, that’s also ideal. Children can push out chairs, try to climb on them and risk falling, and also pull items off the table.
- Keep your table cleared off when you’re not using it. Don’t keep a tablecloth on the table as your child can pull it down on top of themselves, along with anything else sitting on top of the table cloth. If you want to keep anything on the table, make sure it’s in the center and out of reach.
- The water for your bathtub can get hot enough to burn your child. If you can adjust your water heater, make sure the temperature isn’t above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, you can install an anti-scalding device to the faucet that detects when the water becomes too hot and shuts it off. It’s also a good idea to put a cover on the tub faucet so your child can’t bang their head on it. Make sure your child is always supervised when they’re in the bath and wipe up any puddles to prevent them from falling and hitting their head.
- Make sure medication in the bathroom is stored high in cabinets that are out of reach. Ingesting medication could cause poisoning and death.
- Store other small items out of reach as well that pose a choking hazard. This includes contact cases, some cosmetics, and toiletries. Adding a latch to cabinets that these items are stored in is also recommended.
- Heated styling tools are another bathroom danger for children. To prevent burn injuries, make sure all heated tools — like hairdryers, straighteners, and curling irons — are unplugged when not in use so a child can’t accidentally turn it on. Keep these items out of reach as well to prevent other personal injuries.
- Child-proofing doors aren’t just for the bathroom but for the entire home. If there’s a door that you don’t want your child to have access to, you can have covers or child locks installed on handles and door levers. To prevent doors from slamming and pinching or amputating fingers, you can also install door stops that keep doors from shutting all the way.
Injured Child? See How We Can Help
Use these tips throughout your home in order to prevent a personal injury to your child. Our hope is that your child is never severely hurt, but if your child has sustained a personal injury while in the care of someone else, contact a personal injury lawyer at Keller, Woods & Thompson, P.A. to see what your options are. Call us at 763-447-4076 or send us an email to get started.