Whether you’re a new parent or a veteran, it’s helpful to be reminded of hazards in the home, during mealtime, play time etc.
The following article offers helpful tips and tricks for parents as you focus on protecting your children from choking hazards, dangerous items in the home and unsafe toys.
Choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death in children under the age of 5. It’s important to remember that the size of a young child’s trachea (windpipe) is approximately the size of a drinking straw in diameter. With that in mind, you’ll want to pay special attention to the size of your child’s food and check for smaller items laying around the house:
The following foods should be kept away from children younger than 4 years:
- Hot dogs
- Nuts and seeds
- Chunks of meat or cheese
- Whole grapes (grapes should be cut in half or quarters)
- Hard and sticky candy
- Spoonfuls of peanut butter
- Medium to large chunks of raw veggies
- Chewing gum
Be Alert for small objects in living spaces that can cause choking such as:
- Coins (change dish, pennies on the floor)
- Balloons (can easily break into smaller pieces)
- Small hair bows, barrettes, rubber bands
- Pen or marker caps
- Small, shiny button-type batteries
- Refrigerator magnets
- Pieces of pet food (pet food dishes on floor)
You may want to consider getting CPR certified in case a choking accident occurs. You can check on classes in your area by visiting the American Red Cross website.
It won’t take long before your baby starts crawling! You’ll want to make sure to child proof your home before he or she starts exploring. The following household items should be secured when child proofing your home:
- Bathtub – Make sure to set the water heater no warmer than 120 degrees! Never leave baby unattended. Also pay attention to the bath and bay oils you are using. Some contain liquid hydrocarbons
- Cabinets – Move sharp or poisonous items to locked cabinets or purchase safety latches
- Drapery and blind chords - Keep out of your baby’s reach (On average, one child will choke each month in the U.S) – Lets make it zero!
- Drawers – Make sure these stay closed so that your child can’t pull on them and possibly risk having a drawer or the entire dresser fall on them
- Electrical cords - infants can chew on them or pull on them causing larger objects to fall
- In the kitchen – dishwashers should be kept shut and hot pots and pans should be placed on the back burners of the stove so that they do not fall
- Hand me down baby gear – make sure equipment doesn’t have broken or missing safety parts
There are millions of toys on the market today and thousands of new ones are introduced each year. It’s important to be aware of the current toy guidelines. When shopping, you’ll want to look for the following:
- Toys made with fabric should be labeled flame resistant or flame retardant
- Stuffed toys should be washable
- Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint
- Art materials should say non-toxic
- Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that they have been evaluated by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Toys should not have loose buttons or any feature that can be torn off and create a choking hazard
You can always check to see if a toy has been recalled by visiting the Consumer Products Safety Commission website – check back often as the list changes weekly!
As a parent, we must do everything we can to protect our most precious little ones so that they have every opportunity to grow up and live to their full potential!