Home Safety for Toddlers

Nothing keeps your baby or toddler safer than your watchful eye!

But, only a split second that you take a phone call, hear a sibling scream in another room, or get involved in an important conversation may be the instance that your child gets in a harmful situation! Just like an infant or crawling baby a toddler can make a change in another direction before you know it & get in harm’s way. The top 5 safety categories for toddlers are the same as infant/child. There are additional safety tips that vary with a toddler.

TOP 5 SAFETY CATEGORIES FOR YOUR TODDLER

  1. MEDICAL EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
  2. FIRE SAFETY & BURN SAFETY: PRIMARILY IN KITCHEN & BATHROOMS
  3. ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY:  remove or use safety devices on choking, strangling, entrapment, fall or drowning hazard.
  4. WATER SAFETY
  5. TRAVEL SAFETY

You can prevent an injury by following this easy home safety checklist for toddlers. Know your life-sustaining emergency steps for choking, drowning, or unresponsive child.

  • CPR
  • Ingested Poison Or Medicine
  • Bleeding Injury
  • First Aid Steps For Cuts, Burns, and Snake Bites
  • Signs Of A Food Or Insect Allergy

Your local hospitals have training in every emergency situation for you and your child. Post the poison control hotline at every phone, fridge, and where you keep your medicine and chemicals. More is better!

Poison Control Hot Line 1-800-222-1222

Post emergency numbers and physician numbers or medical exchange for after-hours

1. Emergency Preparedness

Medical

  •  Post Medical Emergency “Alert” Information Sheet:  Place a sheet of paper on your fridge or in a designated area that contains important medical information on each child.  A refrigerator is a good place in the event a caregiver or family member forgets where you have kept your sheet & if an emergency medical technician is in your home they have it ready to their access.
  • Post-Poison Control Hot LIne on the fridge & each phone:  1-800-222-1222.    You may also program this number in your cell phone.  Always call 9-1-1 immediately if you know your child has ingested a poison but do not leave their side, take them with you, or have another person call 9-1-1.  You should read the label if you know the poison that was ingested & try the recommended steps.
  • Take classes to become certified in emergency medical responses such as CPR(cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and Heimlich.  Contact your local hospitals or the American Red Cross.  All adults & caregivers should be certified in standard first aid, age-appropriate CPR & age-appropriate Heimlich if you have children or babysit/care for an infant or any age child.
  • Know the signs of an allergic reaction to foods, animals, bugs, materials or the environment.  Know that a serious allergic reaction involves one or more of the following:  vomiting, rash/hives, swelling & sometimes difficulty breathing if it is an anaphylactic reaction.  An anti-histamine should be given if an allergic reaction is noticed.  If swelling &/or difficulty breathing occurs call 9-1-1 immediately.  If a child has a known anaphylactic allergy then an EPI pen should be ready to be used at all times.  Teach all family members or caregivers that you leave your child with how to use an EPI pen; a Call to Action Plan should be in place and practiced with each adult & younger sibling if they are sometimes alone with their younger sibling that has an anaphylactic reaction.
  • Keep emergency medical equipment in a designated area.  Sometimes it is difficult to have only one place but if you have more than one place then make sure all adults or older siblings know where these places are so they may retrieve items in an emergency. Place first aid kits in easy to find places such as near a fridge or designated cabinet in the kitchen.  Lock cabinets where medicine or unsafe products are kept to keep small children out & away from possible injury.
  • Post emergency numbers for a contact of you & your child’s physician(s) & after-hours numbers on your fridge or open area to see.
  • Train siblings when they are ready to know how to respond to medical emergencies or security emergencies.

Missing Child Preparedness

  • register your child with Amber Alert.  www.amberalert.com  in the event your child suddenly gets lost from you or is abducted.  You may also consider other companies that are affiliated with local police that will give you an identification card to carry with you at all times & some companies offer mobile technology with information of your child that can be distributed readily by your phone to authorities & other contacts.  Keep a current picture of your child always.
  • consider child alarms or bells to use when traveling with children in crowds.  Such safety items for children that keep them close to you are backpacks with a wrist strap that you can attach to your wrist so the child doesn’t stray, body alarms that sound if the child walks a designated length away
  • Teach your children at an early age about “stranger danger”.  Never to leave in a car with someone they don’t know & even someone they do know.  Teach children to not open the door to anyone.  Safety steps are to be taken such as code words that you can practice with your child when you think they are ready.  Teach your child their full name, address, phone number & parents’ names at an early age in the event they get separated from you.
  • Security measures are recommended in the home such as alarm system monitored, alarm devices on doors & windows if the child tries to get out of home then adults will be alerted.  Use audio &/or video monitoring on your property.

Disaster emergency preparedness:

Have a disaster kit ready & stocked every 6-12months depending on the age of your child.

visit www.nsc.org.

Have a weather alert radio or register with your local weather authorities or television station to receive free phone calls in the event there is a weather emergency in your area.

2.  Fire Safety & Burn Safety

There are many fire prevention steps to take.  Follow general fire prevention steps by visiting our fire, burn & electrical safety page on our website.  Fire safety for children should focus on keeping infant/crawling baby or small child away from any heating source & away from all fire hazard items.  Store all unsafe fire hazards high in locked cabinets or areas that are locked from the child.  Use gaits or bars to keep children away from fireplaces or other heating sources used in & outside of the home.  Fire & burn safety includes items such as grills, hot lawn equipment, small appliances such as a toaster, waffle iron, hairdryer, hot flat iron, electrical wiring in & outside the home, etc. that are commonly used items that children may be around every day.

Some tips to follow for fire, burn & electrical safety for children no matter what age:

  • use smoke detectors in the home, an alarm system monitored will contact the fire department if smoke alarm sounds, carbon monoxide detectors,  fire extinguisher(s),  fire escape plan in place & practiced and flashlights with extra batteries in each room & in commonly used areas.  Go to www.nfpa.org/education for fire safety education.
  • keep all wiring in good condition & away from infant & small child’s reach.  Repair all needed electrical outlets, switches & any loose parts.
  • cover all electrical outlets with child safety devices.
  • Have a disaster kit ready in the event a natural disaster occurs or something similar.  Visit www.nsc.org or www.sparky.org.
  • use fireproof safes that will store your valuables such as important documents & pictures.
  • have fire escape ladders on the second level of the home or any floor above ground level.

3.  Environmental Safety

The environment that your infant or small child lives in may pose potential dangers that sometimes are not obvious.  Many infants & small children want to place almost everything in their mouths at this stage of life.  Look around where your baby spends most of the time & make sure there is nothing that may cause choking, strangling or injury from sharp objects or blunt objects.  Here is a list of tips to follow to keep them safe in their environment.

  • Remove or store out of reach all small objects that is smaller than 1 1/2 inch; any small objects that are smaller than a golf ball or that can fit through a roll of toilet paper.
  • Remove any material that is a choking hazard such as cords, wires, games or toys that have long strings or material that is longer than 4inches.  Some toys may be played with but at supervision only.  Clothing can pose a strangling danger too such as bathrobes with the tie/belt, dress belts, jewelry & scarfs.  Use child safety cover on cords or remove them from the play area.
  • Check all furniture, toys & other items for loose pieces & proper working conditions.
  • Secure furniture & art or other items to the wall to prevent falling over on a child
  • Remove all heavy objects or breakable off of shelf & remove from the area if potential injury from those heavy objects.

Other common considerations for small children that are crawling & pulling up are to keep unsafe products out of reach or use safety locks on cabinets or drawers.  Cover all furniture that has sharp edges & tops of counters or fireplace flooring.  Use gates to stop the child from entering stairs, areas that are not baby-proofed & fireplaces, or other heating source areas.

4.  WATER SAFETY

  • Cover all hot water faucets with childproof devices
  • Set water temperature on or below recommended medium or 120degrees Fahrenheit
  • use child proof devices on toilets to prevent drowning
  • Check water temperature for safety before bathing: warm only & warm the air before, during & after bath
  • Never leave a child alone in a tub or bath of water
  • Never leave water standing in or outside of the home due to risk of drowning by a small child
  • Place at least a 4-foot height fence around any water hazard on a property with locked gait.  Fences must be around pools, hot tubs, ponds, water well, or other water-containing devices
  • Consider using pool alarms for the safety of your child.

5.  Travel Safety

Use these tips when traveling with your infant or child every day and during road trips

Safety day today is most important when your infant or small child is in age & weight appropriate car seat.     According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 85% of the car seat are not installed properly.  Visit  http://www.babycenter.com/0_installing-a-car-seat_9458.bc    for additional information on proper installment.  Contact your local children’s hospital to find free classes on installing a car seat for infant & small child.  Car seats for infants, toddlers, and small children should be chosen by safety testing ratings and by weight recommendations of your child according to the safety travel laws.  Infant car seats should be used rear-facing in the back seat of a vehicle for an infant that is under 1 year old and under 20 pounds of body weight.  The infant must be both 1 year old and additionally, weigh 20 pounds before positioning the car seat forward-facing.  Infant car seats may be safer & recommended being positioned in the middle of the back seat unless the owner’s manual of the vehicle specifies that it is safe to be positioned on the sides near the windows.  The airbags in vehicles in the backseat should be factory disengaged for the purpose of child protection in the event of an accident. You should check in your owner’s manual for further information on airbags and the location of positioning your child’s car seat.  Many hospitals or stores that sell car seats are able to give you information on local classes that train you in the proper installation and may check the installation after you have place the car seat in the vehicle.

  • ***Register your car seat on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at www.nhtsa.gov/
  • ***You may receive emails from your manufacturer of the car seat also if you have registered your car seat when you purchased it.
  • ***Stay informed of all rebates on toys & car seats and other items through the Consumer Product Safety Commission at http://www.cpsc.gov

Consumer Reports have tested car seats and have recommended several brands and models of car seats and rated their overal score. Below are the recommended car seats for toddlers.  Always check with the make and model for specifics on age and weight requirements.

Toddler Booster seats & Booster Seats with and without back:

Graco Nautilus 3-in-1:  greater than 40# weight capacity at approx $165.  Many other high scored seats are listed in the products section of this website.

Booster Seats

  • Graco Backless Turbo Booster:  no back
  •  Cosco High Rise Booster: no back
  • Cosco Protek: back

Consider using safety alarms when traveling daily with a child that will alarm you when a child is left in the car alone.

Never leave a child in a car alone.  Your local laws may vary slightly with age but it is recommended a child be 12 or older if left in the car & only for a short period of time.

Cars are safer in garage or carport if locked to keep small children out & prevent suffocation.

Always travel with an appropriate emergency kit in a car that is seasonal ready. Extra water, snacks, shoes, blanket, flashlights, battery charger, jumper cables, fix a flat & always have a spare tire in good condition & aired, extra batteries for flashlights, ice scraper or de-icer.  Always have a communication system when traveling such as two-way radio, cellular phone, on-star or similar emergency contact system.

Toddler Safety Floor, Furniture & Wall Safety

Take a good scan of the floor to the ceiling and check for any choking, straggling, or head injury hazard. This means removing all small pieces off the floor (anything that can fit thru a toilet roll hole is too small for a baby or toddler). A toddler may be at a young age where he/she is still placing objects in the mouth or they may think a small item is candy.  Remove any long cords or material that may be a strangling hazard.  Check toys in the child’s bedroom & their sibling’s bedroom.  Move furniture away from windows or balcony & stairs.

Lock all firearms away & out of reach; separate ammunition from firearms & use safety locks.

Here are some additional recommendations to enhance home safety for toddlers.

  • Repair any loose flooring where a toddler plays
  • Secure all furniture, especially top-heavy unsteady furniture, art, or anything on the wall, shelving, and televisions. Toddlers may climb and pull heavy dangerous items onto them and pull furniture over on top of them.
  • Consider using bed rails in the toddler bed to prevent your toddler from falling out of bed; adjust bed or purchase a low bed to decrease the likelihood of injury if the toddler falls out of bed
  • Always use helmet during the use of outdoor sporting equipment and elbow/knee pads
  • When playing outdoors use outdoor signs to warn drivers of children at play
  • Use fence or safety device around swimming pools or any body of water to prevent drowning
  • Teach water safety at an early age and consider swim lessons at an age recommended by your physician
  • Check all lighting for proper function and stability
  • Check all toys and any equipment that toddler may find for small pieces or loose parts
  • Check furniture for proper working condition.
  • Cover all sharp corners of furniture, toys, counters and walls.
  • Lock cabinets where toddler may wander or play and where toddlers climb, especially cabinets that contain chemicals or sharp objects.
  • Use certified baby/toddler gaits at entrance areas where toddlers are not allowed; these areas most likely are stairs entrance or to the bathroom, laundry room, garage; or use gaits to keep a toddler in a controlled toddler-friendly area.
  • Use audio or video monitoring for safety while toddler sleeps and or when you are not in immediate supervision of your toddler
  • Never leave a toddler or small child unattended on a high surface even if in a carrier or other seat device
  • Place window guards over low windows that toddler may crawl near and at windows that are on the second floor or higher
  • Do not place bed directly under a window Remove the lock from bedroom doors or always have key available outside of room to unlock immediately
  • Follow travel safety.  Never leave a toddler or child in a car by themselves; this is against the law and a baby, toddler, or small child can suffocate within minutes or die from heat exhaustion.
  • Follow proper guidelines and check with your local hospital on laws for installing toddler appropriate carriers for travel with guidelines that are age-specific and weight specific.
  • Keep regularly scheduled immunization and baby wellness appointments for your toddler
  • Check with your physician or local hospital for classes on taking are of your toddler, proper nutrition and safety and recommended reading material for caring for your toddler.
  • Train siblings in emergency measures when you feel they are ready to Register your child with an amber alert or local identification company that has assisted by local authorities in the event your child becomes missing
  • Keep current pictures and medical information available in case of an emergency, and register your child with an amber alert to keep medical information immediately available to local authorities.

This is just a portion of things a professional home safety inspector would look for to ensure your home is a safe environment for your toddler. Contact a professional home safety inspection company in your area that can help you increase home safety for toddlers. This information does not replace any medical advice or to be taken as medical advice.  Always consult with your physician if you have questions regarding nutrition or health concerns.

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