Safety Tips For Children and Pets

Surprising Home Dangers

These tips are not meant to scare you. You will get all kinds of advice from relatives and friends, and some of those pieces of “wisdom” will be contradictory. Solve the dilemma of choosing between all those bits of advice by heeding the information included here. I have made a career of keeping children safe and healthy. You can feel certain you are protecting your child if you follow these tips. Enjoy your baby and feel secure about safety.

SUFFOCATION HAZARDS:

-Soft and loose bedding, including pillows, quilts, blankets, comforters, bumper pads, sleep positioners, sheepskins and stuffed toys. Remove these items from baby's sleep area. Use sleep clothing-- such as a one-piece sleeper--with no other covering, as an alternative to loose blankets. For an extra layer, use a wearable blanket or sleepsack.  In fact, the only thing that should be in the crib is the mattress with a tightly fitting sheet and the baby. (Remember to always place babies on their backs to sleep at bedtime and naptime on a firm, tight fitting mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards.) click here to view the latest crib information from the CPSC:http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Safety-Education/Neighborhood-Safety-Network/Posters/Crib-Rules/

-Latex balloons. More children have suffocated on uninflated balloons and pieces of broken balloons than on any other type of toy.  Keep latex balloons away from children under 8 and pets. Choose mylar balloons (shiny, metallic) over latex.

-Latch type clothes dryers, refrigerators and freezers; combination washer-dryer units; iceboxes, file cabinets and storage chests. Suffocation deaths occur in such places when children crawl inside and cannot escape. The best choice for a toy chest is one without a lid or one with a lightweight, removable one.

CHOKING HAZARDS:

-Coins, keys, jewelry, paper clips, batteries, water bottle tops, safety pins, removable rubber tips on door stops, jeweled decorations on child's clothing, firm/ round foods (including small pieces of hot dogs, hard candy, marshmallows, nuts, grapes and popcorn) and crayon pieces.

-Small magnets. Today’s magnets are much more powerful than magnets we used to play with as kids. The serious danger is that if a magnet falls out of a toy, it can be swallowed or inhaled by a child. If more than one magnet is swallowed, they can attract inside the body and cause intestinal perforation, infection or blockage, which can be fatal. Keep small magnets and toys that contain them away from children.
  High-powered magnet sets are hazardous to young children, who have mouthed and ingested these magnets.  The magnets also pose a serious risk to teens and tweens, who have used them to create mock lip, tongue, and nose piercings. http://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/News-Releases/2014/CPSC-Approves-Strong-Federal-Safety-Standard-for-High-Powered-Magnet-Sets-to-Protect-Children-and-Teenagers/

-Anything that can fit inside an empty toilet paper tube is a potential choking hazard.

POISONING HAZARDS: 

--Button Batteries. When swallowed, these coin size batteries can get stuck in the esophagus (throat). The saliva triggers an electric current which causes a chemical reaction that can severely burn the esophagus in as little as two hours. Lithium batteries can be found in everything in your home. They are used to power remote controls, toys, musical greeting cards, flameless candles, calculators, watches and other electronics. Tape battery compartments closed and keep these objects out of the reach of small children.

-Laundry Detergent Pods.  These squishy, brightly colored, small plastic packets can look like candy, juice, or a toy to a young child. And since the detergent is concentrated--it can be especially harmful if ingested.  Last year, 11,700 children younger than 5 years old were exposed to the caustic detergent within the pods. It can take just a few seconds for a child children to swallow the toxic chemicals they contain, or get the chemicals in their eyes. Do not let children handle; Keep LOCKED up high, out of a child’s sight and reach. I recommend not using the pods if your home has children less than 6 years of age. Use traditional detergents, which are much less concentrated than laundry pods. 

 -Antifreeze. The main ingredient in many major antifreeze brands is ethylene glycol, which is very toxic. Antifreeze has a sweet taste. Children or pets will drink large amounts of it if it is left out in an open container or if it is spilled on your driveway. Use antifreeze formulated with propylene glycol, which is considerably less toxic, or use antifreeze that has a bittering agent (denatonium benzoate) added to make it taste unpleasant.     (In December 2012, manufacturers voluntarily agreed to add a bittering agent to antifreeze, but please still take precautions.  For more information visit http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/antifreeze.html


-Dieffenbachia and Philodendron. These common houseplants contain oxalates, microscopic crystals that get released into the mouth when the plant is chewed, causing extreme pain and inflammation. Parents should purchase only nontoxic plants when they have children under the age of six and pets.

-Metal Jewelry. Not only do these items pose a choking hazard, but in addition, lead and cadmium has been found in inexpensive children’s jewelry.

-Table salt: A little as half a teaspoon to an infant or a tablespoon to a toddler can cause damage to his central nervous system.

-Baby oil. When you swallow baby oil and other hydrocarbons, they can easily go down the wrong way and get into your lungs. Only a small amount can cause pneumonia within a few hours.

-Alcohol.  It can lead to seizures, coma and even death in a young child. (Examples of household products that can contain alcohol: mouthwash, perfumes, colognes, and aftershave, vanilla extract, cough and cold medications and hand sanitizers.)

-E-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine. Poison centers are reporting a recent uptick in calls about exposures to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine. Tiny amounts, whether ingested or absorbed through the skin, can cause vomiting and seizures, or even death. Always keep cigarettes and cigars, e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked up and out of the reach of children.

-Sugarless products: Pet owners beware! Sugarless chewing gum and products containing xylitol can be poisonous to pets. Other food items that can be toxic to pets include chocolate and caffeine products (coffee, tea), onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, avocado, macadamia nuts and pork.

-Common household products. Keep all medicines (prescription and over-the-counter), vitamins, dietary supplements, cleaning products, grooming products, and other chemicals locked up, out of reach and sight of children at all times. Never leave potentially poisonous products unattended while in use. It takes only seconds for a poisoning to occur.

Whenever you suspect a poisoning, immediately call the Poison Help Hotline (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week), 1-800 222-1222, which automatically connects you to your local poison center. Prominently post this number on your refrigerator and near every phone in the home.  Put this number in your cell phone. ALWAYS CALL THE POISON CENTER FIRST, BEFORE TREATING A POISONING.

ITEMS THAT CAN PIERCE OR BURN:

-Toys with sharp edges and points and electrical toys with heating elements. Avoid for children under 8.

-Toys that include propelled objects. These can be turned into weapons, so avoid them for children of all ages.

-Arrows and darts. If children play with such items, they should have cork tips, rubber suction cups or other protective tips.

-Hot tap water. Set water heaters no higher than 120°F to reduce the chance of scald burns. (Water that’s 140°F can give a child a third-degree burn in just 3 seconds!) Be aware that 120°F can still burn your baby, so always mix hot water with cold water before it touches your child's skin. A comfortable bath water temperature for a child is near his own body temperature, 98 to 100°F  Do not exceed a temperature of 100°F.

STRANGULATION HAZARDS:

-Necklace or pacifier tied around a young child's neck. It can get caught on a crib, play yard or doorknob.

-Corded baby monitors, and other items with cords, strings or ribbons. Keep out of  the reach of small children.

-Window treatments with hanging cords. Please replace with new cordless window coverings. 1.usa.gov/WTvgiO  http://parentsforwindowblindsafety.org/

FALLING HAZARDS:

-Large and heavy items such as TVs, microwaves, fish tanks, bookcases, heavy furniture and appliances.  Because of the tipping hazard, secure it to a stud in the wall using brackets, braces, anchors or wall straps. If you have a newer, flat screen TV, make sure it’s properly anchored to the wall. Read the manufacturer's instructions for tips or warnings regarding placement of your TV or furniture.

-Open windows. A child can fall out of a window that is open more than four inches, and screens offer no protection. Install window guards on all windows in your home. Use quick-release mechanisms on any windows that are part our your fire-escape plan. A less-costly option is to use a window- stopping device. The device attaches to the inside of the window frame to prevent the window from opening more than 4 inches.

DROWNING HAZARDS:

-An inch of water. A child can drown in just one inch of water (such as in buckets, bath tubs, inflatable pools, diaper pails, toilets, hot tubs, and spas). Small children are top-heavy, and they don't have the upper body strength to lift themselves out of one of these dangerous situations.
·    Never leave a small child unattended in or near water, even for a second.
·    Immediately empty water from a tub, sink, inflatable pool, or container  after it has been used.
·    Install locks on the toilets and store all buckets upside down.
·    Install four-sided isolation fencing, at least 5 feet high and equipped with self-closing and self-latching  gates around a home pool or spa.

UNSAFE AND RECALLED PRODUCTS:

-Unsafe Products. If you experience a safety problem with a consumer product or want to search for incident reports, go to http://www.saferproducts.gov/ 

-Recalled products. When a product is found to pose a threat of injury or death, a recall is issued. To stay current on this matter, contact the CPSC to receive free recall information sent to you by  E-mail, visit  http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/  or call the CPSC at (800) 638-2772. Be sure to also visit--and sign up to receive e-mail recall notifications--at www.Recalls.gov which lists recalls for six federal agencies, including CPSC, NHTSA and the Food and Drug Administration.

BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCIES:

Click here to download Debra's emergency preparation sheet,
taken from her new book, "The Safe Baby."
Excerpted, with permission, from The Safe Baby (2009) by Debra
Smiley Holtzman, available wherever books are sold.

-All parents and anyone who provides care for your child should take an infant/child first aid and CPR course. It’s one of the best investments of time you will ever make.

-Post emergency telephone numbers near every phone in your home and on the refrigerator, and put emergency numbers in your cell phone.  Include the National Poison Hotline (1-800-222-1222), Police, Pediatrician, Veterinarian, Dentist, Family Doctor, and Fire Department. Also include the telephone number of a friend or relative living outside of the emergency area. (A caller is more likely to connect with a long-distance number outside the emergency area than with a local number within it.)

-Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.

-To prepare for hurricanes and other natural disasters, assemble a fully stocked disaster supplies kit. Include baby supplies, nonperishable foods, water, prescription and necessary OTC medication, manual can opener, flashlights, radio, and batteries. Include essential items for your pets. Your kit should contain at a minimum, a 3-day supply.  Buying tip: Look for flashlights and radios powered by hand cranking so you won’t have to worry about depleted batteries when blackouts or emergencies hit.

-Assemble a fully stocked first aid kit. Include a first aid manual, disposable gloves, bandages of several sizes, antiseptic wipes and sharp scissors and tweezers.


Tip of the Month

Buy From Local Growers

-- In this way you avoid buying food shipped over long distances or stored over long periods of time and there is accountability for the manner in which it was produced. It also provides tremendous support to the local farmers. Moreover, it can often mean lower prices, too! You can also grow your own chemical-free produce right in your own backyard, (or even in a container), which can be a fun family activity.

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