Wellness News 4-2

By Jonathan Livingston, Ph.D.
      Each year, millions of babies and young children 0-5 are injured or accidentally poisoned in their homes.  Many of these children will be hospitalized, and some will end up with serious lifelong injuries and medical conditions.  Identifying potential dangers around the house is key in preventing many of the accidents that occur in homes with young children.  Potential dangers include electrical outlets, appliances, and household cleaners.  Surveying your home periodically to make sure that you have removed as many hazards as possible will help keep your child safe.
     Taking some simple safety precautions and closely monitoring your child could prevent many of the injuries children show up with in the emergency department. Childproofing your home is easy and inexpensive and, most importantly, could save your child’s life. The following are a few steps in ensuring your child’s safety:
     Use safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers, which may contain poisonous chemicals, sharp objects, or matches and lighters.  Buy all medicines with childproof caps and always keep them closed.     Keep lightweight plastic bags, such as dry cleaning bags, grocery bags, and packaging on clothes, out of reach of children.
     Check all toys for small parts that could be swallowed.
     Keep nightlights with small plastic bulbs out of reach of children.
     Make sure children can’t reach plants.
     Install safety gates to prevent children from falling down steps and keep children away from dangerous areas like the kitchen when you are cooking. Gates that screw to the wall are more secure than “pressure gates.”
     Install outlet covers and outlet plates to help prevent electrocution.
     Also, it is important for every parent to remember that no safety device is completely childproof. Young children are adventurous, curious, and may be able to figure a way around even the most seemingly childproof device.  Therefore, parents must always stay alert to make sure that their children remain safe.
     To increase awareness about the importance of child safety in our community, each month Ingham County Great Start will discuss topics essential to our children’s education, development, and health.  Ingham County Great Start believes that a safe environment is important in ensuring a healthy future for children in the Greater Lansing area.    For more information about childhood safety, please contact the Lansing Area Safety Council at 517-394-4614.