When you hold a tiny baby in your arms, it’s difficult to imagine the energy and curiosity that so quickly develop as that baby turns into a toddler. Pushing, pulling, moving, bending … they’re all important activities for a typical toddler. And for parents and caregivers, that means childproofing is a necessity.
“It takes a great deal of vigilance to keep toddlers and young children safe in the home,” explained Rick Coons, CEO of Indiana Electric Cooperatives. “Items that have never posed a threat can suddenly become a danger when young children start to walk, run and climb.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), injuries are the leading cause of death in those aged 19 and younger. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that about 2.3 million children are accidentally injured every year and more than 2,500 are killed. The good news is that the risk of injury can be reduced or prevented by taking precautions and planning ahead.
“We can’t wait until accidents happen to implement safety measures,” Coons commented. “We need to take action long before toddlers and young children are at risk.”
CPSC recommends the following safety devices for homes with toddlers and young children:
- Safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers
- Safety gates for stairways and rooms that pose dangers
- Door knob covers and door locks
- Anti-scald devices for faucets and shower heads
- Smoke alarms
- Carbon monoxide alarms
- Window guards and safety netting to prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks and landings
- Corner and edge bumpers on furniture and fireplaces
- Outlet covers and outlet plates
- Cordless window shades
- Wall anchors for furniture and television stands
- Layers of protection for pools and spas
“We encourage parents to evaluate hazards associated with electrical safety,” said Coons. “It’s easy to overlook appliances, outlets and cords that don’t pose a threat to older children and adults.”
Outlet covers and outlet plates can save lives. Ensure outlet protectors cannot be easily removed and are large enough so that children cannot choke on them. If you are replacing receptacles, consider installing tamper-resistant models.
The use of ground fault circuit interrupter outlets is also an important safety measure. These outlets monitor the flow of electricity and trip the circuit if an imbalance is sensed. They should be used in areas near water, like kitchens, bathrooms, decks and patios.
For more information on home safety for toddlers, visit the CPSC web site at http://www.cpsc.gov/ and search “safety guides” or visit the Safe Child section of the CDC’s web site at http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/.
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Consumer Product Safety Commission
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.parents.com, publishers of Parents magazine