Parent’s guide to keeping your children safe! Keep you child safe with these simple and affordable tips!
Automobiles and Child Safety
The safety of your children is of course very important to you. You would never knowingly do anything to harm them. But, there are times when people are trying to be safe but are still accidentally putting children at risk due to lack of knowledge about whether something is safe or not. Let’s go over car safety and how kids can be kept safe.
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Car Seats – A Lifesaving Inconveince
First, every child should have a car seat – duh, right? A seat belt should lie across the upper thighs and shoulder in a snug manner. Seat belts do not go across the chest and stomach. In addition, children should always ride in the back until they’re adult size because it is safer. Keeping your children safe is worth the effort.
There are two basic types of car seats:
- Infant seats – These are for children who are under 12 months of age and are rear facing. You can buy seats which are only for infants or that adjust for older children. However, keeping them in a rear facing position is the safest. Do this as long as you can find a seat that is appropriate for their height and weight.
Be sure to post the limits of your car seat somewhere prominent so that you don’t forget. Note: If your baby is premature, there are special seats for them called car beds.
- Toddler seats – These are sometimes called booster car seats. They should only be used for toddlers who have reached at least 30 lbs (check your model’s instructions). Once you move to a toddler seat your child will be able to use this seat until they’re approximately 80 lbs. Your child should be using a booster seat until they are close to five feet tall. Some children will graduate to regular seat belts as young as 8, while some will not until they are 12.
Tip for Keeping Your Children Safe: Read the Directions
Another important factor to remember for car seats is to always read your manufacturer’s instructions as to who it’s meant for and installation. Some local communities offer proper installation help through fire stations and other local organizations – which I find super helpful. Car sears are not fun to deal with – but they are worth it, and if we are going to use them, we might as well use them right!
Other Car Safety Issues
- Kids in the car alone – As tempting as it may be to pop in someplace quickly, leaving children in the car is a very dangerous practice. Many things can happen in a split second. Just don’t do it. If you can’t take them in, don’t leave them and do your business another day.
- Power windows – Power windows offer a child lock safety feature. It’s important to activate this feature because children have been killed because of power windows. Either they made the window go up and down and got caught, or a parent wasn’t paying attention and rolled the window up while their child’s head was out the window. Sorry to be graphic – but it really is important.
- Keeping Your driveway safe – Children don’t think when they get behind or in front of a vehicle in a driveway. However, it’s not only important for the adults to pay attention, but it’s also important to teach your children not to run in front of or behind any vehicle, whether it’s parked or not.
- Trunk safety – Children are curious by nature, and if they can get into a small space and shut it they will. Many vehicles now come with glow-in-the-dark pulls that open the trunk from inside. If yours doesn’t have one you can get one. Teach your children about the pull cord just in case they ever find themselves inside a trunk.
The other end of the spectrum: Driving Safety
There comes a time in all parents’ lives that they dread – their teenager getting behind the wheel. But, driving is a teenage rite of passage and one that most do safely when trained properly. The statistics are staggering, however. Half of all deaths of 13- to 19-year-olds happen due to a car crash with 16-year-olds having the most. There are ways that you can reinforce safety to your teenager, and that is by example.
1) Don’t Talk on Your Phone
Most teens do report to talking on their phone while driving and guess what – an even higher percentage of parents do. You may think that your years behind the wheel make it okay but the truth is, kids, do what they learn. Don’t do it. Set the example for safety to your kids and they will be less likely to talk on the phone too.
2) Wear Your Seat Belt
Not only should you wear your seat belt, you should also insist that everyone in your vehicle wears a seat belt. Studies show that teenagers who have parents who demonstrate this practice consistently are more likely to wear seat belts themselves. Seat belts do save lives. Minor fender benders can become death traps without a seat belt.
3) Never Drink and Drive
Parents often set bad examples without even realizing it. Even having one or two glasses of wine or a couple of beers at dinner out, then driving the family home, is a bad example. Even if you’re not legally intoxicated, your reaction time is still going to be lower, and frankly it’s just a bad example.
4) Don’t Speed
Each mile per hour you or your teenager goes over the speed limit ups your risk of accident proportionally. Speed limits aren’t made arbitrarily. They make them based on the rate of accidents that happen at certain speeds in certain conditions on certain roads. Follow the rules of the road – for yourself and as an example for your teenager.
5) Teaching Teens to Drive
Most of the time a parent teaches their child to drive. Some schools have driver’s education programs but due to how many students move through the school program, they’re not going to learn as much as if you do it yourself. Or you hire someone to do it for you. Be committed to providing your child the number of hours required by law before getting their driver’s license. This will help your child feel more confident and be a better driver.
6) No Passengers
When a teenager is learning to drive, they don’t need the added stress of extra passengers in the car for the first year of driving. It may sound like a relief to let your child drive your younger children around, or fun to drive their friends around. But it’s not safe and they’re often not ready for the added responsibility.
In a nutshell, it’s important to be very careful driving. An automobile is a very dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. Don’t drink, don’t use a cell phone, and wait until experience is earned before adding passengers. Of course, don’t speed and don’t drink and drive and you’ll be less likely to have an accident.
Fire Safety in the Home, Keeping Your Children Safe
The very best fire safety is fire prevention. It’s important when cooking, or starting a fire in a fireplace, or using a space heater, to always be aware of the dangers and practice smart safety tips. Always read the directions of any equipment the first time you use it, and take precautions to avoid accidents – such as not allowing children to light candles or cook alone. Install a fire alarm in every room of the house and test it periodically to be sure it is working.
House fires are one of the most feared and devastating disasters a family can face. They can occur at any time and get out of control quickly. That’s why it’s important that the entire family is trained (where age appropriate) to use a fire extinguisher, and how to get out of the house during a fire.
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Regular fire drills should be the norm in a house with children. Children who are trained how to get to safety during a house fire are much more likely to survive than those who are not trained. Teach them if they catch their clothing on fire to stop, drop and roll.
During everyday life events, sometimes people are burned or scalded. This can happen in the kitchen and in the bathroom.
Always be extra careful when boiling water or handling hot foods. If possible, cook on the back burner and turn handles away from the counter edge to stop little children from grabbing or you from accidentally hitting it and knocking it over. In addition, use dry potholders; wet ones will transfer the heat. Never open a hot food container toward your face because the pressure will cause it to spit. Never heat bottles in the microwave.
If your hot water is too hot, readjust it. It should not be set higher than 140∞ F with an anti-scale mechanism installed to deliver the water at a lower temperature. You need the higher setting to avoid bacteria in the water heater. Teach children which is hot and which is cold and tell younger children not to turn the hot on without your help.
If you do get a scald or a burn, the best treatment is to run it under cool water. When badly burned, cover the burn with a clean cloth to avoid infection, and seek immediate medical attention. If your fabric is burned into the skin, don’t remove it; seek attention immediately. If a child has blisters from a scald it is best to seek medical attention.
There is also a risk in your home that you may not realize. It’s carbon monoxide. The problem with this gas is that you cannot smell it, and you will not know it exists. But, a family can die while sleeping because it will cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea and fainting. If you are in bed when this happens you may not wake up to save yourself. This is why in addition to a fire alarm installed in your home you should have a carbon monoxide detector, too.
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Home Safety for Keeping Your Children Safe
Home is supposed to be your safe place, but the home is full of potential dangers. Some are obvious, but some aren’t as obvious. Nothing brings home safety to the forefront like having a child in the house. Whether it’s a grandchild or your own baby, you suddenly see your home for what it is – a trap full of danger. Seriously, though, you can make your home a lot safer just by being cognizant of the potential dangers and acting on the advice here.
Keep all medications up and out of the way of little hands. This is not always possible due to the fact that children are known to climb to find things they aren’t supposed to have. And sometimes the person who needs the medication can’t reach an area out of sight of the kids.
The best thing to do is get a locked box that cannot be opened by anyone but the person using the medications or delivering the medications. You can purchase a simple locked box like this one with a combination lock. They also make some with keys: Medication Box.
There are many items in your home that are poisonous, from shampoo to laundry detergent and bug sprays. Keep these in a locked area as well, out of the way of children. You can get safety doors on all your cabinets that small children cannot open. You can train older children about the dangers of household chemicals.
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The sad fact is that homes with firearms, whether trained or not trained in proper use and safety, are more likely to have a devastating accident. The best thing to do with firearms if you must have them is to buy a locked cabinet. Store the arms in the locked cabinet and the ammunition in another locked cabinet away from children and untrained individuals.
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These little packs of energy seem harmless enough but children have been known to put them in their mouth, and then of course swallow them. Almost 3000 children are treated each year after swallowing batteries. They’re in children’s toys; they’re in everything. Due to that the death toll has risen exponentially over the last 10 years.
Keep batteries locked away and ensure toys that children use can have the battery area locked by screws that children cannot remove. If you think your child has swallowed a battery, go to ER immediately.
If you live in a cold climate you are likely used to space heaters and know about their dangers. But, if you live in a warm climate and have a cold snap, space heater use is common but most people don’t realize how dangerous they are. Follow all the instructions with your space heater and buy only from reputable stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. Most house fires that start in the winter months are from space heaters being used improperly.
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Before using an electric blanket, especially if you have not used it for a long time, check for damaged areas. Also check the heating element and ensure there are no burn marks or issues. Electric blankets should be on top of the other blankets on your bed and not covered by other materials. Keep pets and small children away from electric blankets.
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The risk of falling in a house is quite high. Almost everyone, young or old has fallen inside their own house. The best way to avoid it is to always turn on lights when walking through the house at night to the bathroom. Also keep items such as shoes, backpacks and purses tucked neatly away from walking paths. Salt and scrape sidewalks, and avoid slippery areas.
There are many dangers inside a house, but you can help reduce or eliminate most of them through education and planning.
Using the internet is sort of like letting your children loose in NY City. It’s a dangerous place and much can go wrong if you’re not educated on the facts. You need to understand how dangerous the internet is, what can happen, and how to prevent the bad things from occurring. You don’t want to keep your kids from using the internet to discover wonderful things, but you do want to protect them from the seedier parts of life as long as you can.
Talk to Your Child
Talk to your child about the internet and how it’s not private. They’re not anonymous on the net no matter how careful they are with screen names, picture sharing and other instances. While most social networks offer some privacy settings, there are always those who can find ways to get around them. Assume anything you say or share online is available for the world’s viewing. Any strange who asks to meet them is a danger.
Place the computer in the family room while children are younger. After a child has reached an older age, about 15 to 17 years, and has shown how responsible they are, you can reconsider and allow them to have access to computers in their room. But, until then it’s best that you can monitor their activity at all times.
Make sure they know you’re monitoring, too. For children, privacy is overrated when it comes to the internet. Would you let your child at their age alone to take a bus in NY City? If not, don’t leave them alone with the internet.
Give Your Child Rules
The following set of rules will help keep your child safe on the internet.
- No downloading anything without permission.
- Don’t share pictures unless approved by a parent.
- Create screen names that offer no personal information.
- Ask before sharing any personal information.
- No talking to strangers.
- No bullying – report bullying when you see it.
- Follow the rules.
- Use real research websites (ask a librarian).
- If someone makes you uncomfortable, tell.
- Don’t meet anyone or invite them over that you met online.
These rules are in place to keep your child safe. Explain to them that just because someone says they are a 14-year-old boy doesn’t mean they are. Their pictures can be stolen and everything they say can be a lie. Talk to them about other children who have been kidnapped due to meeting a stranger from the internet.
A really great person to follow online regarding this issue is Alicia Kozakiewicz. She was abducted when she met someone online and met him on the street. Her story is horrific, but she did survive and she has a lot to teach parents and teenagers. http://www.aliciaproject.org/
Play and Playgrounds – Keeping Your Childen Safe
Playing is fun, but it can also be dangerous. It’s important to use a few rules and common sense when your children are playing to ensure they stay safe as possible. There are issues that can happen in a split second that you may not have foreseen.
Toys and playground equipment can be dangerous without you even realizing it. There are safety regulations in place, but sometimes a toy or a piece of equipment is old and was made before a new regulation was put into place. Even in the best circumstances, using a little common sense can go a long way.
Ensure that the toys your child is using meets the right age requirement. Those age restrictions are in place to help prevent strangulation, choking and other issues. For instance, a puzzle meant for a six-year-old, might be able to be put together by a 3-year-old, but they probably shouldn’t because the pieces might be choking hazards. If a toy fits in a child’s mouth all the way, they probably shouldn’t play with it unless you’re directly supervising them. And even then, if they are younger than 3 or 4, they shouldn’t play with it at all.
Ensure that the playground that you choose for your child to play on is up to date and safe. No sharp edges, soft ground to fall on, and updated safer play areas and equipment to help keep injuries to a minimum – such as netting for climbing that doesn’t allow your child’s head to fit through it. The highest any toy should be from the ground, no matter how soft the surface, is 12 feet.
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The biggest protection for children is to have adult supervision at the playground. Children think they’re safe at a playground and will test their limits there. Having a parent or adult supervision is your best source of protection. It doesn’t matter how old the child is, if he’s old enough to play at a playground he needs adult supervision.
Pedestrians and Strangers
Teach children not to talk to strangers at the playground other than a polite “yes ma’am” or “yes sir” to other children’s parents or while you are standing right there. A stranger who wants to play with or talk to your child, who has no other children or who was a random pedestrian, should be avoided.
Sharing and Keeping Your Children Safe
Children can be selfish on the playground. Teach children to play and take turns without pushing, shoving or grabbing. It can be difficult to teach children to wait their turn, or deal with bullies, but with you being right there to intervene and help, they’ll be that much safer and less likely to get injured.
Finally, do a check of the playground each time you take your children to play. Check for broken glass, metal or other sharp objects. Check for holes that running children could fall in, or protrusions that can be tripped over. Doing a quick inspection each time your children want to play can prevent accidents.
Keeping Your Children Safe While They Sleep
Most people don’t think about the dangers of sleeping. But for babies it can be one of the most dangerous times of their life – especially if their parents are not educated on the proper sleeping positions, suffocation risks, and other perils in the crib. Parents want their children to be safe, and sometimes take advice from well-meaning family and friends who haven’t read the most up-to-date information regarding sleeping safety and children.
Even this information can become out of date. Always check with the National Institute of Health for the most updated safety precautions you can take for your child’s safe sleep.
The baby’s bed should have no bumpers, pillows, blankets or toys inside it while the baby is sleeping. On colder nights put baby in pajamas with feet so that he’ll be warm. Babies who die in their crib typically die of suffocation from one of these items. Babies will pull anything they can touch into their mouths and suck on it. A baby has very powerful sucking and can choke and suffocate himself easily with the right materials.
Place babies to sleep on their back. You can swaddle an infant that doesn’t roll over yet tightly in a receiving blanket, as long as it cannot be rolled off or come off from natural movements of the baby. The surface of the baby’s bed should be firm so that if the baby does turn over, they can still catch their breath and the material doesn’t block their mouth and nose.
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The best location for your baby’s crib until at least six to 12 months of age is in your room so that your baby is nearby. It’s going to be more convenient anyway for the multiple times during the night you’ll need to get up to feed them. If the crib is within arm’s distance, all the better. But don’t let your baby sleep with you unless you purchase an approved co-sleeping device that fits on the side of your bed.
In addition, do not smoke around your baby. Smoking in the home has been shown to increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and it’s just not worth it. If you’re nursing, stop smoking. If you are not nursing, go outside to smoke away from the children. It’s just not worth the consequences. Also, never put a pacifier or binky on a string if you choose to give one to your child.
As your child gets older you can allow them to have a blanket and a pillow, but only after 14 to 16 months of age. Ensure that the pillow and blanket are light weight. If your child is cold, dress them warmer and turn the heat up. Once your child moves to a toddler bed, you can use normal blankets and pillows, but do use a protective and approved railing to keep your toddler from falling.
Once your child moves to their own room, and their own “grown-up” bed, it’s time to start teaching children about fire safety and getting out of the house safely. This can start as early as 2 to 3 years of age.
Keeping Your Children Safe is Simple
In conclusion, with a little forethought, we got this! Our children are ours to keep well and safe. Enjoy every moment you have with them!
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