Childproofing Your Home
Each year, children are injured by hazards in and around the home. The risk of injury can be reduced or prevented by using child-safety devices and reminding older children in the house to re-secure safety devices after disabling them.
Most of these safety devices are easy to find and are relatively inexpensive. Safety devices should be sturdy enough to hinder access, yet easy enough for you to use.
Follow installation instructions carefully. Remember, too, that no device is completely childproof; determined youngsters have been known to overcome or disable them.
- Safety Latches and Locks on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access to medicine, household cleaners, matches or cigarette lighters, as well as knives and other sharp objects. Even products with child-resistant packaging should be locked away and kept out of reach because this packaging is not childproof.
- Safety Gates help prevent falls down stairs and keep children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers. Look for safety gates that children cannot dislodge easily. For the top of stairs, only use gates that screw in to the wall.
- Door Knob Covers and Door Locks can help keep children away from places with hazards. Be sure the door knob cover is sturdy, and allows a door to be opened quickly by an adult in case of emergency.
- Anti-Scald Devices for faucets and shower heads and set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent burns from hot water.
- Smoke Alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside sleeping areas to alert you to fires. Smoke alarms are essential safety devices for protection against fire deaths and injuries. Check smoke alarms once a month and change batteries at least once a year. Or consider using 10-year batteries for alarms.
- Window Guards and Safety Netting to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks and landings. Limit window openings to 4 inches or less, including the space between the window guard bars. If you have window guards, be sure at least one window in each room can be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens are not effective for preventing children from falling out of windows.
- Corner and Edge Bumpers to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces.
- Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates can help protect children from electrical shock and possible electrocution. Be sure outlet protectors cannot be easily removed by children and are large enough so that children cannot choke on them.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm to help prevent CO poisoning. Everyone should install CO alarms near sleeping areas in their homes. Change batteries at least once a year.
- Cordless Window Coverings helps prevent strangulation. Children can wrap window covering cords around their necks or they can pull cords that are not clearly visible but are accessible and become entangled in the loops. If you have window blinds from 2000 or earlier and you cannot afford new, cordless window coverings, call the Window Covering Safety Council at 800-506-4636 or visit www.WindowCoverings.org for a free repair kit. Window blinds that have an inner cord (for raising the slats of the blinds) can be pulled by a child and form a potentially deadly loop. Consumers should immediately repair these types of blinds.
- Furniture and Appliance Anchors. Deaths and injuries occur when children climb onto, fall against or pull themselves up on television stands, shelves, bookcases, dressers, desks, chests and ranges. For added security, anchor these products to the floor or attach them to a wall.
- Layers of Protection with Pools and Spas. A barrier should completely surrounding the pool or spa including a 4-foot tall fence with self-closing, self-latching gates. Doors heading to the pool should have an alarm or the pool should have a power safety cover. Pool alarms can serve as an additional layer of protection.
A well-stocked first-aid kit is a handy thing to have. To be prepared for emergencies:
- Keep a first- aid kit in your home and in your car.
- Carry a first-aid kit with you or know where you can find one.
- Find out the location of first-aid kits where you work.
First-aid kits come in many shapes and sizes. You can buy one from the Red Cross Store or your local American Red Cross chapter. Your local drug store may sell them. You can also make your own.
Some kits are designed for specific activities, such as hiking, camping or boating.
Whether you buy a first-aid kit or put one together, make sure it has all the items you may need:
- Include any personal items such as medication and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest.
- Check the kit regularly.
- Make sure the flashlight batteries work.
- Check expiration dates and replace any used or out-of-date contents.
Kohl’s Kids Safety Program
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 4-14, and research shows that 73 percent of all car seats are incorrectly installed. But, since 2008, an estimated 8,959 children have been saved because they were riding in a car seat and in the back seat of the car. Please review the information below to ensure that your child is riding safely.
REAR-FACING CAR SEATS
- Before your baby’s birth, parents are encouraged to make an appointment to have car seats checked and to learn how to install them correctly. We want your baby’s first ride to be a safe one.
- Always carefully read and follow your vehicle owner’s manual as well as the car seat instructions.
- Never install a car seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an active air bag. The back seat is safer for all children.
- Attach the car seat with seat belt or LATCH anchors. Use whichever gives the tightest fit. Do not use both, unless the instructions advise it. To check for a tight fit, hold the car seat at the belt path and pull side to side. The car seat should not move more than 1 inch.
- Make sure the baby’s head is below the top of the car seat and that the car seat is reclined enough so the baby’s head does not flop forward.
- For rear-facing seats, shoulder straps should be at or below the child’s shoulders. Adjust the harness straps so you cannot pinch any slack.
- Secure the chest clip so that it is even with the baby’s armpit.
CONVERTIBLE CAR SEATS
- For best protection, keep your baby rear-facing as long as possible — 18-24 months is safest. At a minimum, keep your baby rear-facing until he or she is 1 year old and weighs 20 pounds.
- Read your vehicle owner’s manual and the car seat instructions carefully.
- Make sure the correct belt path is used.
- Fasten the car seat belt or LATCH lower anchors — use whichever gives the tightest fit. Do not use both. Press down on the car seat to tighten the belt or straps. The car seat should not move more than one inch forward or side to side.
- If available, always use tether straps because they make the car seat much safer.
COMBINATION CAR SEATS
- A combination car seat is a forward-facing-only car seat that has a 5-point internal harness and also can be used later as a belt-positioning booster seat.
- Combination seats cannot be used rear-facing. Unlike booster-only seats, the combination car seat has a harness that is used for children under a certain weight.
- Booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing car seats. They are designed to raise the child up so that the lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly.
- High-back and backless booster seats are available. They are used with the lap and shoulder seat belts in your vehicle — the same way an adult rides.
- Always check second-hand seats; they may have missing parts or labels. Avoid car seats that are over six years old. If a car seat has been in a crash, it should not be used again.
- The Child Passenger Safety Program is the regional resource for children with special health care needs who are unable to use traditional car seats. Our Child Advocates make certain that each of these children is provided with a device that ensures their safety as they are transported.
All inspections are free,but are by appointment only. Call for the inspection site nearest you. You must have a car seat with you. Through our grant program, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida has car seats available at a reduced rate.
Please call Kohl’s Kids Safety Program at 239-343-5224. Take the time to make it a safe ride — your child’s life may depend on it.
Drowning is the leading cause of death in Florida for children younger than age 5. You can prevent drowning by placing layers of protection around water. If your home has a swimming pool, or if you live near water, six layers of protection must be in place:
1. Touch supervision
- Never leave a child alone near water. An adult should always be an arm’s length away — within touching distance of the child. During social gatherings, adults can take turns being the “designated child watcher.”
- Don’t leave the child near the water to answer the doorbell or phone, attend to another child or go to the bathroom.
- Surround your pool with a pool fence that is at least 5-feet tall with a self-closing, self-latching gate that opens outward, away from the pool.
- Install alarms on house doors and windows that lead to the pool.
- A pool alarm also is needed — it will make a warning sound if motion is detected in the pool.
3. Water safety
- All nonswimmers should wear approved life vests when near the water.
- A lifesaving ring or shepherd’s hook should be readily available in the pool area.
- Swimming and water safety lessons at appropriate ages are good, but anyone can have a water-related accident — even children who know how to swim — so safety precautions are always required.
4. Environmental safety
- Cover the pool drain to prevent entrapment and lessen the risk of drowning.
- Know the location of the shut-off switch for your pool’s filter system. Label it with a large sign so it can be shut off quickly if someone is trapped in a drain.
- Pool covers should be motorized and able to support the weight of the child.
- Covers should be tight to prevent children from crawling under them and getting into the pool.
- Remove toys from the pool so that children are not attracted to reach for them, which can result in the child falling into the pool.
- Keep chemicals out of the reach of children.
5. Keep a phone by the pool
- Never leave the pool area to answer a phone.
- Teach children how to dial 911.
6. Learn CPR
- CPR saves lives. The steps are simple and easy to learn.
- Teach children CPR and first aid.
- For CPR classes, contact Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida at 239-343-5101, the American Heart Association at 239-495-4900 or at www.heart.org, or the Red Cross at 239-278-3401 or www.redcross.org.
Be a Child Watcher
If you would like to pick up a free Child Watcher lanyard for your designated child watcher or if you would like a speaker for your group or organization on the topic of drowning prevention, contact Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida Child Advocacy Program at 239-343-5224 or 239-343-5890.
Creating a Safe Environment for Children to Live, Play and Grow
Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties is working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children and teens in Southwest Florida.
Through education, advocacy, training and hands-on demonstrations, Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties supports parents, educators, safety professionals, caregivers and the media with data and injury prevention information on a variety of topics including the following:
- Bicycling and skating
- Car seats, boosters and seat belts
- Car safety
- Choking and strangulation
- Drowning, water and pool safety
- Fire, burns and scalds
- Gun safety
- Sports and recreation
- Toy safety
COLLABORATING FOR KIDS
Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties hosts events throughout the community to empower parents, grandparents and other caregivers with information to help keep kids safe.
- Bike helmet fittings
- Car seat inspections
- Health and safety fairs
- Safe pool parties
Safe Kids Lee/Collier Counties’ experts include nationally certified child passenger seat safety technicians who travel throughout the five-county region of Southwest Florida inspecting child safety seats, providing hands-on instruction, answering questions and replacing car seats at cost or donation, when necessary.
For a complete list of events, dates, times and locations, visit www.SafeKidsLeeCollier.org or call 239-343-6199.