Safety proofing your home for young children, adults with developmental or other disabilities, or older relatives with dementia can take a lot of time and effort. But it's important - each year more children die from preventable injuries than from all childhood diseases combined.
There are some simple things you can do to immediately improve the safety in your home that don't take too much time or money. See the quick tips below to get started. If you need more information about addressing certain safety issues, visit the recommended Web sites at the end of this list.
Keep medicine, poisonous household materials, matches and other flammable materials, sharp objects such as scissors and knives, and weapons out of the home or at least hidden and out of reach of young children. Secure them in locked cabinets that only you can open. With guns, use trigger locks; these can usually be found where guns are sold; keep the lock keys and ammunition in separate places. Install child proof locks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets (these are affordable and can be purchased from hardware stores, drugstores, and dollar stores.)
Whether it's to keep a toddler from falling down the stairs or to help a disabled relative move up and down the stairs, installing safety gates in front of stairs and having solid handrails in bathrooms and on stairwells can reduce the risk of injury for everyone in your family. Be sure that cribs and high chairs have safety guards.
Install these to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks, and landings.
These include, but aren't limited to, plastic bags, bags from dry cleaning, small objects and toys or appliances with small parts which could be swallowed. Check labels on toy packages for age-appropriateness before letting children play with the toys.
Child proof covers are cheap and easy to install and prevent children and others from putting fingers or other objects into outlets.
You can purchase toilet locks to prevent drowning, if you have a small child; faucet covers prevent drowning and anti-scald devices can stop accidental burning; and baby bath mats (for young children) and bathroom handrails (for adults) to prevent falls.
Be sure to use a car seat when transporting your child. Know how to install the seat properly and be sure it is the right seat for your child's size and weight. Also make sure relatives and caregivers child proof their homes and, be alert to potential dangers when visiting others' homes. It is your responsibility, especially during a casual visit.
To find out more about child-proofing your home, visit these Web sites:
Teach your children about safety and make the learning fun through online games, printables and activities. Some Web sites to visit include:
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