It is so scary how many children are harmed by being in a non-child proof home. There are a lot of things people just don’t think about until it is to late. Or some one tells them about it. Here are 5 safety products you need in your home, and any home your child will spend any amount of time at.
1) Car Seat - The most important safety product every parent needs is the right car seat for your child. Make sure that you have a rear facing infant car seat. You use the rear facing car seat until your child is a year old or your child out grows the height and weight limit of the seat. Properly installed car seats can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by 71%. That was a properly installed car seat, please go to a car seat clinic to make sure you are using your car seat correctly. Car seat clinic reports show up to 80% of car seats are not installed correctly. Usually people don’t tighten the seatbelt and harness enough or don’t use the tether strap.
A rear facing car seat should rest on a 45-degree angle and not move more then 2.5 cm (1 in.) side-to-side or forward at the base. Harness straps should be at or below a baby’s shoulders. You should not be able to fit more than one finger under the harness strap at the collarbone. The chest clip should be lay flat on the chest at armpit level.
Things you need to think about before buying a used car seat. Sure they cost less but you need to make sure the one you get meets today’s safety requirements. You also need to make sure the seat was never in an accident. Car seats can be damaged in an accident and become unsafe for use.
In Ontario hospitals will not let you take your baby home unless you have a rear facing car seat that is less then 5 years old and meets current safety standards. Even if you don’t have a car. If you do have a car you must show the nurse that you know how to use it and that it is properly installed.
2) Safety gates – Safety gates can save your baby’s life. Use gates to keep children out of unsafe rooms, and from falling down stairs. As soon as your baby starts rolling, or trying to move around then you put the safety gate up. Better safe then sorry. A lot of deaths and injuries could have been avoided if people just used safety gates. People have them in their homes, but don’t use them because they think the safety gate will be inconvenient.
With all the new safety gate designs out there you will be able to find a gate that works with your house and budget. There are even gate systems that you can use to divide a large room into kid friendly and not kid safe. There are two types of gates, pressure or hardware mounted. The hardware mounted is screwed right to the wall and kids cannot push them down. This is needed at the top of stairs. Pressure gates use pressure to stay in place, are easy to put in any door way, often are adjustable to be used in more then one doorway, and easy to move from one door way to another as needed. Not to be used at the top of stairs though.
3) Door handle locks or knob covers – There are locks or covers for almost any type of door handle and knob out there. They are designed so that small hands are unable to open your doors. We have them on all doors going outside, and on any room that we don’t want our children in unsupervised, like the laundry room. Kids move fast and they love to explore and get into things we don’t want them to. These locks help out so much keeping children safe. Safety latches and locks should also be used on cabinets and drawers to prevent poisonings, or getting into knives and other harmful items.
4) Window guards and safety netting – Keep your child from falling out the windows, or off balconies, decks, and landings. A fall from the couch can seriously injure a baby; a fall from a window can kill. Just last week we saw one of our neighbours baby fall from the living room window. The baby was ok, but it proved the point that window guards and safety netting need to be used.
5) Safety Tassels and Inner Cord Stops – Kids are strangled in blind cord loops all the time. You can find lots of devices to help prevent kids from strangling on window blind cords. If you do have window blinds please take the time to go to www.windowblindskillchildren.org and make sure your child is not in danger.
Some of the information was taken from The Ontario Government web site, safe & secure: choosing the right car seat for your child.