Guest post by: Ken Levinson, Child Safety Advocate and Child Injury Attorney
These child safety tips will make your home safer in 10 minutes or less. This minute by minute workout toddler safety schedule will turn you into a lean, mean, child injury prevention machine.
1. Chemical Safety
Let’s start out in the kitchen. Look around to make sure all household chemicals are not accessible to children. You might not realize it, but to children, these chemicals look similar to their favorite fruit drinks.
2. Climbing Safety
While you’re still in the kitchen, start looking for opportunities your child might have to climb to unsafe heights. Reposition any climbable pieces of furniture to deter children from using them as ladders to your kitchen counter.
3. Hot Water Safety
Still with me? If so, you’re doing great! Head to your basement or wherever your hot water heater is located. If your hot water heater is set to anything above 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit or above medium, it’s too hot. It only takes two seconds for a child to receive third degree burns from water at 150 degrees.
4. Sharp Object Safety
While you’re in the basement, grab an empty bottle of laundry detergent, tear the labels off and write “SHARPS” or “DANGER” on both sides. Whatever it may be, sewing needles, thumb tacks, nails, if you don’t have a place for it, put it in the sharps container. Store the sharps container in a secure, child safe location and get ready to move!
5. Electrical Safety
It’s time for an electrical outlet check. Head back up the stairs and through your house to each individual outlet to make sure they all have child proof covers. Children are more likely to tamper with your electrical outlets than you might think.
6. Suffocation Safety
Did you see any plastic bags lying out in the open during your last lap around the house? Kids who like to play make believe can see colorful, plastic grocery bags as masks that can turn them into astronauts and monsters, but these bags can easily suffocate your child.
7. Shelf Safety
Although your children may be learning to read, they see bookshelves more as ladders than “knowledge storage devices.” Secure bookshelves and all other shelving units in your home to walls, so there is no chance of them falling over.
8. Padding Safety
Alright, now do another lap around your house, this time looking for sharp corners and edges on furniture and walls. More than likely, there are more edges and corners that could use padding than you can do in under ten minutes, but make a note of their locations.
9. Window Safety
Windows always spell trouble for children. Windows with blinds usually mean low hanging cords that kids like to play with. These cords are choking hazards so secure them at a higher altitude by coiling them up with a rubber band or piece of string.
10. Refrigerator Safety
It’s the home stretch! If you have small magnets on the fridge, either take them off or move them higher and out of reach. Your child can easily pluck the magnets off the fridge and put them in their mouths. Also, determine if the door seal is strong enough to keep a child from opening it. If it’s not, add a latch system to the door.
I ended the workout in front of your refrigerator on purpose. Open it up and grab something cold to drink. Now your home is now child safety expert approved.
Ken Levinson is a child injury lawyer who actively speaks in the Chicago area and nationally on child injury prevention. In Levinson’s new book, Protecting Our Children, he draws from his experience as a trial lawyer to discuss how injuries occur and help parents proactively avoid crib death, school bullying, organized sports injuries, daycare injuries, street accidents, school bus hazards and more. Ken Levinson’s blog called “The Safest Line” also offers valuable safety tips. Levinson has been recognized in the Chicago Law Bulletin as a top lawyer in Illinois and was recently published in Chicago Magazine as a 2012 “Top 100 Illinois Super Lawyer” out of 85,000 lawyers in the state.