Tips for keeping children safe at home

Jan 15, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. ET

From the time our babies start creeping across the floor, we work hard to provide a safe environment. Most people know about the obvious dangers that lurk about the home, such as electrical outlets, poisons and sharp knives.

family playing in living room

But no matter how well prepared we think we are, accidents still do happen, some causing injuries or even death to our children.

Many times an accident is the result of something we might not have considered as something that could happen. Here are three home safety tips that might help prevent a visit to the emergency room.

Fasten all furniture that can fall over

Dressers are temptations for climbing, particularly because of their pullout drawers. Parents might think to fasten down dressers that are several feet high, but the shorter, squatter dressers might not seem as dangerous. Sadly they can be. One early morning in 2004, 3-year-old Meghan Beck died after one of these smaller dressers fell on her. Meghan's mother is now on a mission to make everyone aware of this common danger through her website, Meghan's Hope.

According to Health Canada, since 1990 there have been over 5,000 reports of children hurt from tipping dressers, televisions and other furniture. Most children were between 1 and 3 years old. And these are just the reported injuries. Fortunately many children escape being hurt and don't need medical care. Fastening down furniture requires a few minutes of your time and a few angle braces, anchors or safety straps and screws.

Don't use scatter rugs

Scatter rugs are attractive and can brighten up a room, but they are dangerous for both children and adults. Children who run into a room can easily step onto the rug, and the forward motion could propel both child and rug forward, throwing the child off balance. A fall like this could easily result in a broken bone or a head injury.

If you must have a scatter rug, be sure it has a good anti-skid mat underneath it and that the rug is not near a stairway.

Keep windows clear

It might be tempting to put the crib or changing table under a window, particularly if it offers a gorgeous view, but don't. Furniture and anything climbable that is placed under a window can allow your child access to it. During nice weather, the window might have only a screen separating the room from the outside, making it an easy route for a bad fall.

Not all accidents are preventable, and children can be quick, surprising us with how fast they can move from one place to another. By implementing these few safety tips, you can reduce the risk of injury, without expense or too much effort.

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