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12 safety mistakes parents are making at home

Let me first start by saying that I don’t have children. Therefore, in no way am I condemning any parents here. The list of minor safety hazards I have in my house are probably endless, so I assure you I’m not holier than thou.parents

It seems to me as though you can be the most perfect parent out there, and there will still be unforeseen dangers lurking around every corner. Literally every little thing in this world has the potential to be dangerous, if it’s in a setting where it’s given the opportunity to be. Below are some of the top safety mistakes parents are making or overlooking in the home, taken from pediatric experts.

parentsPools in the neighborhood- While most parents think they’re in the clear because they don’t own a pool, the pool at your neighbor’s house could still be a concern. According to Parents Magazine, the majority of children who drowned were last seen in the home, with one or both of their parents present there [2]. They suggest having a four wall fence around your house and yard, and purchasing a door alarm that goes off when it’s opened. Ask your neighbors to keep their pool gate locked (some states require it by law).

Super Soft Bedding- Parents states that “for children younger than 1, suffocation is the number one cause of unintentional injury-related death. Sixty percent of these cases occur in baby’s sleeping environment” [2]. In order to avoid this, they suggest having your baby sleeping in the barest environment as possible. :”Use just one light blanket over him, and tuck the bottom of it under the end of the mattress to create a pocket. The blanket should only reach to the middle of his chest. This way it can’t be pulled over his head. On chilly nights, dress baby in a warmer sleeper rather than piling on more bedding. And use that adorable crib comforter as a decorative wall hanging” [2].

Firemen- This one I thought was really interesting, and it gave me a flashback to when I was in kindergarten and we went on a field trip to a fire house. Should firemen come in to save the day (looking like a scary alien creature in their equipment) I can imagine it adding to the child’s fear, of an already fearful situation. Parents states that many child fire deaths occur because children run and hide from firefighters [2]. In order to prevent this, bring your child to meet a firefighter. Your local fire station may even to an open house where kids can meet the firefighters, learn about the process and try on their equipment. Also, anything you can teach your kids about fire safety never hurts. Have an escape plan, make sure they know what the alarm sounds like (and the batteries are replaced regularly), and have them practice crawling or getting outside to a designated meeting place.parents

Cooking meats- I have a ton of experience cooking meat, so when I’m cooking meat, I use the “eye-ball” test to see if my meat is done. I’ve never been sick using just color and texture of the meat to determine it’s readiness. But when it comes to cooking for children, Parents stresses the importance of using a meat thermometer to be sure it’s fully cooked. Under-cooked food is prone to E. Coli and other food-borne illnesses. While food sickness is certainly a nuisance as an adult, it can fatal for a child. Invest in a meat thermometer. You’ll know your meat is done when it reaches at least 160 degrees for beef and pork, 145 degrees for lamb and veal, and 180 degrees for poultry [2].

Balloons- Latex balloons, when they burst, create small little rubber pieces that can be choking hazards. For a really young child, this could definitely be a safety hazard. If your child is under 5, use mylar balloons instead. They just deflate and remain intact.

parentsGranda’s Purse- If my grandmother’s purse is anything like her garage, I’d probably consider it it’s own mystical wonderland if I was a kid. Some common things found inside a grandmother’s purse can also be deadly- pills, cosmetics, sewing kits, candy, change, etc. Have your mom put her purse out of reach of little hands.

Stairs- This one seems kind of obvious to me (as I’m in my ’20’s and could still manage to fall down the stairs). But still, more than 93,000 kids under the age of 5 end up in the emergency room for stair-related injuries every year [1]. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, have handrails, and make sure your stairs have proper grips and aren’t bare wood.

Bathtime alone- Not even for a second should a small child be left alone. They can drown in even a few inches of water. It’s reported that drowning is the number one injury-related cause of death in the house in children under four [1].

Bottom line: don’t be fearful of life. Be an educator, a warrior, and a vigilant protector. Don’t be neurotic and overbearing. There will always be dangers and we’ll often find ourselves in dangerous situations, and you may even witness your kids being in dangerous situations. There’s a lot you can do to reduce the danger, but you can’t do everything.

Do you have a parenting nightmare story where your kid was almost in danger? Let us know in the comments!

References

[1] Skwiot, Suzee. “7 Safety Mistakes Moms Are Making at Home.” The Stir. Cafe Media, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

[2] Zintl, Amy. “The 15 Biggest Safety Mistakes.” Parents. Meredith Corporation, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

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