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Make Your Home a Safe Haven for Kids

Young people are our most precious and our most vulnerable family members. Although you might not suspect it, there are enough hazards lurking in your home to provide a real threat of injury, or even death. The multiple dangers of burning, scalding, fire, choking, poisoning, falling and countless others must be avoided through preparation and planning. Many of these same precautions protect your entire household. Here's a checklist for safeproofing your home:

Kitchen

  1. Emergency numbers posted near phones.
  2. Back burners used on stove, and pot handles turned toward back; guards on stove knobs, to avoid accidental burns or scalding.
  3. Fire extinguisher easily accessible.
  4. Detergents, pet supplies, vitamins, sharp utensils, and small, hard foods like nuts and carrots stored out of children's reach.

Bathroom

  1. Children never left alone, even briefly.
  2. Safety locks on toilet lids.
  3. Water temperature at 120 degrees F or less.
  4. Electrical appliances kept away from water.
  5. First aid supplies (and medicines, razors and cosmetics) locked in cabinet. Ipecac syrup on hand, to be used only if directed by a poison control center.

Family Room:

  1. Smoke alarms on every level and every sleeping area, tested monthly; batteries replaced twice yearly. Carbon monoxide detectors on every level.
  2. Multiple fire escape routes practiced from every room, and outside meeting place determined.
  3. Safety gates at top and bottom of stairs.
  4. Window blind and drapery cords tied up or refitted with safety tassels.
  5. Certified small-parts tester used to determine if a small toy or toy part presents a choking hazard.
  6. Poisonous plants kept out of reach.
  7. Firearms stored unloaded and locked up. Ammunition locked in a separate location.

Bedroom/Nursery:

  1. Crib has maximum 2 3/8 inches between slats; no protrusions over 1/16 inch.
  2. Toys, pillows, soft bedding and plastic materials removed from crib.
  3. Window guards on all windows except emergency exits.
  4. Tall or heavy furniture secured to walls; sharp edges cushioned.

Sources used to create this article include the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Lexington Herald Leader.