Ways to Protect Children at Home
You think that because you're children are at home that they are safe. While in some ways this is true, there is actually hundreds of ways a child can hurt themselves in their very own home. While you can't be with your child at all time, you can do several things that can do to minimize the chance of visiting the emergency room. Prevention is really the best means of defense.
You might have heard how more injuries and deaths occur in the home. This is true for all ages from the elderly to the newborn. Stairs, slippery floors, and sharp objects can be an unpleasant experience. Many things in your home can hurt every member of your family, especially small children.
Stairs -Yes, stairs can be extremely dangerous for the elderly. They can be very dangerous for your small child. What do little crawlers do? They crawl everywhere. Exploring is their favorite activity next to sleeping. Stairs offer an exciting place to explore. After all, adults go up and down them to some place. Yet, when they get to the top of the stairs and look down, its a long way as they begin a head over heal roll. Even going up stairs can be hazardous as they arch their backs and take a tumble backwards. The images going through your mind are not pretty and can rip your heart out. It doesn't have to be that way. Baby gates are wonderful to keep your child confined to the floor you want them to be on. Put the gate at the top of the stairs to prevent them from tumbling down. Put the gate at the bottom of the stairs to stop them from climbing. It also prevents toys being left on the stairs for you to use as a stumbling block in the middle of the night.
Bathroom - The bathroom is full of dangerous things for a small child. Never leave a child in the bathroom alone. They can easily drown in the tub when taking a bath. Stay with them at all times. Drowning can occur in the toilet. Prevent them from playing in the swirling waters by putting on a child's safety lock on the toilet seat. Place locks on the cabinet doors where cleaning supplies, medicines, and even toiletries are kept. Never underestimate a child. They will eat anything including toothpaste and deodorant.
Kitchen - Pages could be written on the items in a kitchen that could be harmful to your child. Knives should be placed far from a child's reach. That means in locked drawers and not in a block of wood on the counter. They can climb and do it rather quickly. Keep all cleaning supplies locked in the cabinets. Even cooking supplies should be out of reach. Items you don't think about can hurt them including cheese grater, potato peeler, and plastic wrap. A child can smoother himself in plastic wrap. Keep the trash out of reach as the safety issue there could be broken glass or plain unsanitary conditions. If you have items that you know are harmful in the trash such as broken glass, take the trash out immediately.
Living Quarters - Every part of your house that you live in has potentially dangerous sections. Your entertainment center is dangerous. There are cords everywhere. There are outlets everywhere. Even covering up exposed outlets is not enough. Children will remove plugs and play with things. They will bite on electrical cords. They will pull over things as they try to pull themselves up. Breakables can draw blood. Watch out for exercise equipment which can be extremely dangerous.
Outside - The outside of your home can expose your child to various hazards. Gardening tools, chemicals, and even snow removal equipment can be dangerous. Fences have sharp edges. Garages have chemicals and tools. Never leave your child unattended outside even if they are not toddlers.
Safety from Strangers
Even within your own home, you need to initiate safety measures from strangers. Too many horror stories have been seen on the national news of children taken from their home or harmed within it. A few safety procedures will help keep your family safe.
Locked Doors and Windows - Keep your doors locked at home. Cases fill police files of someone stealing in the home to snatch a child. It might not be a bad idea to put door locks out of reach of a smaller child.
Protocol for Answering Doors and Phones -It doesn't matter if you are home or not, have a protocol in place for answering doors and phone. Never have a child open a door when you have no idea who it is. Always have an adult answer the door. Never have a child tell a stranger where you are even it is just in the kitchen. If they do answer, have them get you immediately. Strangers will sometimes call to see who is home and access the situation before trying anything.
When Left Home Alone - Leaving a child home alone can be a hard decision to make. Sometimes you don't have a choice as they get home from school before you do. Have rules on what is to happen when they are left home alone. 1) Always lock doors. 2) Stay inside. 3) Only answer the phone if a parent calls. 4) Know where to go if scared of if in danger.
Security Systems - Install a security system in your home. There are some security services that include cameras that you can access anywhere on your computer and/or smartphone.
Code Words - The bad guys are smart. They can create a sob story that you might even believe. Imagine how easy it is to tell a child that their mommy is hurt and sent the stranger to bring them to the hospital. They stopped thinking of being scared when they heard mommy is hurt. Have code words that you and only you and your child know. If someone approaches your child and says they are to take them to a parent, they have to know the code phrase or the child doesn't go. That should be the same for police. Anyone can imitate a police officer. If they policeman doesn't know the code word, the child should run to another adult they know quickly.
If you really want to see if they understand, work with your local police department. Some of them have programs where they try to lure a child away with the parent watching. All to often, we as parents think they understand when in reality a cunning person could throw them off and make off with them before you have a chance to even blink.
When to Scream for Help - We teach our kids to be polite. There are times to teach them to kick, scream, punch, and bite. Teach them to fight back if they are taken physically against their will. Let them know that it is okay to do that when they are scared and someone is hurting them.
Computers - Even on computers you need to have safety precautions in place. Predators lurk there in all forms including posing as children as young as your own. Put up parental blocks, and monitor your child's activity. Even older children should be monitored to ensure they are not falling for the words of a predatory adult.
Always have emergency contacts easy to access and memorized. Know who to call, where to run, and who to trust. Just because someone says they are a policeman, firefighter, or their uncle doesn't make them a safe person. They need to know code words, names, and safe places.
Have them memorize your phone number, cell number, 911, and a neighbor's number.
Make your child's safety a priority. Teach them how to be safe even at home.
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