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Make your House ""Kid Safe""
Research by Eng. Iqbal A. Khan

Hazards found around the home are often the cause of childhood injuries. When a child is injured in an accident, the parents are devastated, especially when they realize that his injuries could have been anticipated and prevented. Making the house a safe environment fro children isn’t difficult, it just requires that you identify the danger zones and then eliminate them. Take a look at things in your home from a child’s viewpoint and try to anticipate the dangerous situations that may await your child.

In the kitchen
The kitchen is an area of the house where many accidents take place. That’s because it’s where heat-producing appliances, sharp objects, and household chemicals can be found. A child can be hurt in the kitchen if adults are too busy preparing a meal or cleaning to really pay attention to what he is doing nearby. To avoid an accident in the kitchen, take the following precautions:

  • Keep young children away from the stove. Remember to keep furniture that can be climbed on away from the stove and kitchen counter, too; kids will use anything as a ladder.

  • Keep pot and pan handles turned toward the back of the stove, so that children cannot reach them.

  • Install guard latches on lower cabinets and drawers to keep their contents off limits. Dangerous contents include household cleaning supplies, medications, vitamins, utensils, tools, etc.

  • Store household chemicals high out of children’s reach.

  • Get a shorter pone cord or add a hook high on the way a child can’t trip on it or get strangled if the cord gets caught around his neck.

  • Never leave a bucket of water unattended, not even for a second. Young children can drown in as little as 5 cm (2 in) of water.

In the bathroom
The bathroom is a very dangerous area for young children for three reasons: bathroom cleaners, hot water, and medications. Here’s what to do to avoid accidents in this room:

  • Keep the bathroom door closed, if possible, to keep young children out.

  • Add guard latches to the cabinets and drawers so that medications and cosmetics are out of children’s reach.

  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCls) on electrical outlets near all sinks. Put safety covers/caps on unused outlets.

  • Never leave standing water in a bathtub to prevent drowning or scalding.

  • Close the toilet lid after use-get a lid lock to secure it-to prevent an accidental drowning.

  • Set the maximum temperature of the water heater to 49oC (120oF) to prevent accidental burns.

  • Choose non-slip floors/mats for your bathroom to prevent slips and falls.

Throughout the house
Other areas in the house can be dangerous, too. Here are a few precautions to take for the rest of the house:

  • Install safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways. A safety gate on the bottom will prevent a young child from climbing onto the top of the staircase and one on the top will prevent him from falling.

  • Cover unused electrical outlets with plastic plugs to prevent shocks.

  • Place miniblind cords out of the reach of children to prevent strangulation.

  • Install and use safety latches that permit windows to be opened only a few centimeters. Keep windows on the second floor locked so that children cannot open them.

  • Move furniture, such as tables, chairs, and beds, away from windows so that children cannot climb on them and fall out the window.

  • Keep balcony doors locked so that children cannot go out alone. If the balcony’s railings are too low or easy to climb on. Install a higher railing. If the gaps between the bars are too wide, use wood or wire netting to fill the gaps.

  • Avoid putting long tablecloths on tables; a child an pull the tablecloth with everything on it-on top of himself.

  • Don’t put the crib near a wall where the electrical service panel or fuse box is located; it could be a hot spot if there’s an electrical fire.

  • Don’t keep poisonous plants in and around your home. Young children put almost everything in their mouths and sometimes are not turned off by bad taste-at least not soon enough to avoid ingesting poison or toxic.

Take these precautions to help make your home safe for your children. However, remember the safest approach is to supervise young children at all times.

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