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Sunday, January 21, 2018

5 Ways to Make Your Home Safer for Kids

Parents and kids alike feel safest and most comfortable at home, sweet home. We all love the feeling of arriving home and relaxing with our nearest and dearest relatives.

Unfortunately, according to a recent study by the National Safety Council, 71% of unintentional injuries occur in the home.

Parents have even more concerns with young children who don’t understand the danger associated with some common household items. Baby-proofing and home safety are multimillion dollar industries for good reason, but all the safety gear in the world is no replacement for knowledge of the danger zones in the home and diligence in supervising and protecting all members of the household.

The following are suggestions for helping families with children create the safe haven that a home should be.

Prevent Falls

Homes with stairs are always an area of concern, but trips and falls can happen anywhere. In fact, falls are the most common injuries that result in hospital visits.

There are many ways to decrease the likelihood of a fall:


  • Install safety rails on all balconies and stair entries, and handrails on all staircases. Teach children to always use handrails when going up or down stairs.

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  • Use baby gates at the top and bottom of stairwells.

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  • Install night lights in bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways where family members may walk when the house is dark.

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  • Keep high traffic areas of the floor clear of toys and other objects that could cause a fall.

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  • Keep windows, especially second floor windows, locked.


  • Proper Storage of Dangerous Items

    There are many household items that are obviously dangerous that parents keep away from their children, but others may be just as dangerous and left in plain sight. 

    If you have older children, discuss with them the dangers of these items in the event they find them in your home or a friend’s.

    The following items should be stored in a high, locked cabinet: 


  • Matches/lighters

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  • Medications and supplements

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  • Knives and scissors

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  • Chemicals

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  • Cleaning products, especially laundry pods

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  • Guns (combination or fingerprint safes are suggested, as well as storing unloaded firearms separately from ammunition)


  • Functioning Alarm Systems

    According to the National Fire Prevention Association, “For many years NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, has required as a minimum that smoke alarms be installed inside every sleep room (even for existing homes) in addition to requiring them outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. (Additional smoke alarms are required for larger homes.)”

    Following these regulations creates the best possibility of safely exiting a home before a fire escalates.

    Also paramount to home safety is the installation of carbon monoxide detectors.

    Permanent units can be installed during construction or portable units can be purchased at most home improvement retailers. These devices are installed near the floor, where dangerous carbon monoxide fumes would be found.

    This is especially important in homes where young children frequently play or crawl on the floor.

    Emergency Information and Supplies

    In the event that an accident occurs despite all precautions, being prepared can often mean quicker and more effective treatment.

    Every home should have a central location, known to all family members (and babysitters), that stores the following items and information:


  • Address and phone number for the home

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  • Emergency contact numbers including doctors, poison control, non-emergency police and fire department

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  • Current list of allergies and medications/dosage for all family members

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  • Extra phone charger/battery

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  • First Aid kit


  • Outdoor Safety at Home

    Most families with small children spend at least some time outdoors, and there are many toys and spaces that require special supervision and precautions.


  • Pools/Water Toys: These areas should always be fenced and have a locked gate that prevents children from entering the pool area unsupervised. Children should always be supervised when playing in or near water, as drowning can occur in as little as a few inches of water. Even if children are using flotation devices, there should always be an adult present.

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  • Trampolines: Proper safety elements and practices should always be used with trampolines as a great number of injuries occur with improper usage. Make sure you only use  recommended trampolines. Safety nets and padding, one user at a time and ongoing maintenance of the trampoline are important to safely using this backyard toy.

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  • Riding Toys: Bicycles and ride-on toys are staples of childhood outdoor fun, but accidents can occur easily with new riders. Always require your children to wear a helmet and protective wrist/elbow/knee pads. Ensure that the surface your child is riding on is appropriate for his or her experience or skill level. Supervise riders and avoid riding in areas with heavy vehicle traffic.


  • While accidents can occur in even the safest homes, following these steps can help minimize the number and severity of in-home accidents.

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