Most new parents see danger signs in every speck of dust (allergies?!), but the truth is that most of the items in your house will not pose any kind of serious threat to your child. However, it is important to understand the hazards that are common to your home so that you can find ways to ensure the safety and security of your most precious and enduring assets – your children. So if you are unsure about some of the many areas in your home that could pose a threat to the health and well-being of your kids, here are some tips to get your household safety in check.
The biggest danger that many parents fail to foresee is the threat of falling (and falling objects). Curious kids (and those just learning to walk, in particular) are disposed to using any handy object in the environment to pull themselves up and this could lead to objects falling on top of them (either those that they grab or the items the rest atop them). However, there is a relatively easy fix for this. Furniture can be secured to walls or flooring in a variety of ways and heavy items like TVs and other electronics can be held in place with safety straps while smaller articles (lamps, photo frames, etc.) can be affixed with Velcro strips. As for the danger of falling that accompanies a child’s penchant for vertical exploration, simply avoid shelving units on the ground (place shelves higher up) and block off any furnishings (or even entire rooms) that pose a hazard along these lines.
You may also want to consider the contents of your fridge and pantry in regards to the health and safety of your children. Many parents don’t realize the dangers that can lurk in something as seemingly innocuous as food. You’re probably thinking about items that are alcoholic or those that have gone bad, but the truth is that the everyday items you feed your kids could pose a major health risk if you don’t pay attention to dietary needs. With childhood obesity on the rise (nearly 1 in 3 children are currently overweight), affected kids could face ongoing health concerns like diabetes and even heart disease. Luckily, the condition is totally preventable. Ask your pediatrician for nutrition information for your kids (or visit the USDA Food Pyramid website) and make sure to limit unhealthy fats, processed sugars, and foods with lots of additives and preservatives. The food your kids eat should never be a source of danger to their health.
Of course, there are plenty of other hazards to contend with, as well, but many are easy to address. Fire safety requires that you have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers on hand (check them frequently) and that you arm older kids with a fire escape plan. You should also make sure that potentially poisonous items (household cleaners, medications, and other chemicals) are locked away in high cabinets. And when it comes to electrical outlets, child safety covers are practically a dime a dozen, so there’s no excuse not to use them.
As for the types of home security systems you might employ, there are many options, from locked gates and motion-sensing floodlights to intruder alarms and surveillance cameras. But none of these will pose the same threat to your kids that keeping weapons in the home could, specifically firearms. These weapons should be kept in a secure gun safe, unloaded, to ensure that kids never suffer the ill-effects of an accidental shooting situation.