Boy climbing on counterEach year, about 3.5 million children go to the emergency room for injuries like falls, cuts, burns and poisonings that happen in the home. And about 2,200 of these children will die, says Gina P. Duchossois, MS, an injury prevention expert with the Kohl’s Injury Prevention Program at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“While the best defense in preventing accidental injuries is proper supervision,” Duchossois says, “there are a lot of things families can do to prevent injuries in their homes.”

This year, as your family starts planning spring cleaning projects, take some time to check each room in your house — as well as your yard, garage and shed — for potential safety hazards, then follow Duchossois’ advice for keeping kids safe at home.

TV and furniture tipovers

Children are frequently injured when they attempt to climb furniture or reach televisions. Every three weeks in the U.S., a child dies from a TV toppling over.

Spring safety checklist

  • Secure TVs and furniture to the wall.
  • Check the stability of every TV in your home.
  • Place larger, older TVs on a piece of stable furniture that is low to the ground, ideally below knee-height.

Poisonings

Each year, CHOP’s Poison Control Center answers thousands of calls from concerned caregivers about children who have eaten, drank or been exposed to dangerous products, such as medicine and cleaning products.

Spring safety checklist

  • Keep medicines up high and away from children — even ones you take every day.
  • Be alert to medicine stored in other locations in the home, such as pills in purses, vitamins on counters, and medicine on bedroom night stands.
  • Store cleaning products and other chemicals where kids can’t reach them or lock the product in a secure cabinet.
  • Check less-used areas of your property for poisoning hazards and make sure they’re safely secured out of reach. Your basement, garage and shed may contain paint, antifreeze and pesticides that could harm your child.

Suffocation

Suffocation is the leading cause of injury-related deaths for babies up to age 1. Unsafe sleeping environments are a major cause of these deaths, though crib location can also play a part.

Spring safety checklist

  • Keep toys, stuffed animals, blankets and bumpers out of the crib. All are potential suffocation hazards for babies.
  • Never place a crib next to a window, and remove window blind cords that could reach to the crib. Instead, install tension devices to open and close the blinds or curtains.
  • Make sure babies sleep alone, on their backs, and in a crib every time they sleep.

Drownings

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death for toddlers 1 to 4 years old. What’s more surprising: Every week, a child dies from downing in a bathtub.

Spring safety checklist

  • Always supervise children in and near water; never leave them alone. Children can drown in just a few inches of water in the time it takes to answer the phone.
  • Drain the bathtub immediately after your child’s bath.
  • Home pools should have four-sided fencing at least 4 feet high, with a self-closing, self-latching gate.
  • Teach your kids to swim.

Falls

Last year, almost 2 million children visited an Emergency Room for a fall-related injury. And more than 93,000 children younger than age 5 went to the hospital for stair-related injuries.

Spring safety checklist

  • Keep children strapped into high chairs, swings and strollers.
  • Never place infant carriers on tables or other elevated surfaces.
  • Install approved safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, and attach them securely to the wall.

Contributed by: Gina P. Duchossois, MS

Categories: Safety