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Safety first: The safe home guide

Vicki Clinebell majored in journalism at the University of Colorado, and headed an advertising agency before beginning a long career in broadcasting, spanning production and copywriting to sales and management for an ABC affiliate statio...

Keep it safe at home

Many accidents and injuries that happen at home are preventable. Safety tips remind us of home hazards to correct!
Danger in the kitchen

With kids out of school and more activity at home, it's a good time to review home safety. Every home needs to be a safe environment with child-proofing where needed, safety devices handy and steps taken to help eliminate accidents and injuries. Look at your home room by room, checking for things that pose danger to your family.

Kitchen

In the kitchen, clean hygiene is a must, as is safe food preparation. Always wipe up spills right away and have a fire extinguisher ready in case of a cooking fire. Children should be told kitchen rules — make sure they understand the danger of hot burners, boiling water and ovens. Keep sharp utensils out of reach. Keep kids protected by securing cleaning supplies safely — the Center for Disease Control reminds us that these products are poisonous if ingested.

Learn more: 6 Tips for babyproofing your kitchen>>

Bathroom

Burns, scalds and drowning are bathroom dangers. Hot hair appliances such as curling irons should always be unplugged and stored away. Never leave little ones unattended in the bathroom or tub. Bathrooms that contain medicines and cleaning supplies present another hazard to curious kids. Keep these items secure where they're not accessible to children.

Learn more: Tips for babyproofing the bathroom>>

Bedroom and living spaces

In the bedroom be aware of crib safety. Selection of an appropriate infant crib is critical. It shouldn't rock or tip, and bars should be spaced so baby can't strangle or be injured climbing through. Do your research before making this purchase. Blind and curtain cords should be secured high and out of kids' reach. Bunk beds should be scrutinized to be sure they present no hazard, and although they are space-savers in tight rooms, don't use them for small children who could be hurt in a fall. Make sure windows and screens are secure and little hands can't open them.

Kids like to climb, so take a look at any furniture they may try to scale and make necessary safety adjustments. Furniture that can tip over is a danger to everyone.

Garage and outdoors

Check the garage and outdoor areas for chemicals — poisons in lawn products such as weed killers and car products like coolants and antifreeze are killers and should be kept out of reach. Explain safety around the grill and fire pit, and of course pool and play area safety. Kids who ride bikes, scooters and skateboards should be properly equipped with helmets and protective gear, and ride only in areas where there is no danger from vehicles. They need to understand the rules for playing safely.

Parents can't supervise every moment of a child's life, but they can be proactive in taking safety precautions, making the home as hazard-free as possible and explaining dangers and rules to their kids. Strict enforcement of safety rules isn't harsh — it's part of a parent's responsibility and important in helping children understand the boundaries that will prevent accidents and keep them safe and healthy.

Quick tip

Make window blinds safer for households with children by choosing ones with bar controls rather than cords, which can be a safety hazard. Windows should be equipped with safety locks so kids can’t open them too far. Most quality windows come with built-in safety locks, or you can purchase a set at a hardware or home improvement store for easy installation on older windows.

More safety tips

Baby-proofing tips for your bathroom
Pool safety tips
Childproofing your home

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