Accidental injuries are the leading cause of death in young children.
From juice spills to tumbles and falls, any parent with a child would agree that accidents happen. Often.
Infants are born curious. A child has an internal desire to explore and learn about the new world they are living in. This curiosity inevitably raises the risk of accidents.
While most cases of the “whoopsies” are minor, serious accidents do happen. In fact, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in children and teens—and many of these accidents happen at home.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most incidents happen where there is:
Water (bathrooms, kitchens, pools or spas)
Heat or fire (kitchens, fireplaces, or barbeques)
Toxic substances (medicines, cleaning products, or other household substances)
Potential for falls (stairs, windows, high furniture, or slippery floors)
The good news is that the risk of injury can be significantly reduced by using child-safety devices around the home. Many of these devices are inexpensive and can be found online or at your local hardware, baby equipment, or drug store.
Here are 11 safety devices that can help reduce injury in young children:
1. Safety locks and latches
Protect your children from poisonings and other injuries by locking up hazardous items—such as medicines, cleaning products, lighters, or knives—that live in your cabinets and drawers. Look for locks that adults can easily use, but can withstand pulls from children.
2. Safety gates
Prevent falls or access to rooms that contain hazards with a safety gate. These can be installed in hallways, doorways, or stairways. If used for a stairway, be sure to find one that you can screw into the wall so it’s sturdy.
3. Door knob covers and door locks
Installing door locks or using door knob covers can prevent children from accessing rooms with potential dangers, such as tools, weapons, or medicines.
4. Anti-scald devices
As kids get older they will be able to turn on the water faucets by themselves. Prevent hot water burns by installing an anti-scald device on showerheads and faucets. It’s also a good idea to set your water heater temperature to no more than 120 degrees.
5. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
Smoke alarms are essential to protect you and your family from fire injuries or death, and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are important to prevent CO poisoning. Find one device that alerts you of both, and place them in every level of your home and outside of sleeping areas. Be sure to test the alarm regularly to ensure it’s working properly and doesn’t need a battery change.
6. Window guards and safety netting
Prevent falls from windows, balconies, and decks with window guards and safety nets. Window screens are not strong enough to prevent falls. Window openings and window guards should have no more than 4 inches of open space to prevent children from falling through.
7. Corner and edge bumpers
Furniture corners can be sharp—and many tables and cabinets can be the same height as your little one. Prevent injury from sharp edges on furniture by using plastic corner bumpers.
8. Outlet covers and plates
Prevent electric shock or electrocution by covering all outlets with protective covers and plates. These should not be able to be easily removed by children, and also be big enough so they are not a choking hazard.
9. Cordless window coverings
Prevent strangulation from hanging cords by using cordless window coverings. Children can wrap cords around their necks or become entangled in the loops.
Can’t afford new window fixings? If you have blinds from the year 2000 or earlier, you can get a free repair kit by calling the Window Covering Safety Council at 800-506-4636 or visiting WindowCoverings.org.
10. Furniture and appliance anchors
Heavy household items—such as dressers or TVs—can tip over and cause injury or death. Children may also try to climb on these items and fall. Secure furniture and appliances using appliance anchors that screw into the floor or wall.
11. Pool or spa barriers
Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for two-year-old children. If you have a pool or spa, installing a 4-foot tall fence with self-closing and self-latching gates is essential. Adding an alarm to the fence door can add an extra layer of protection.
Important tips for proper child-safety device usage:
Safety devices should be sturdy enough to protect your children, but simple enough for you to use easily.
Read the installation instructions carefully. To be effective, devices must be properly installed.
Train older children in the house how to use the safety devices and remind them to re-secure them after disabling them.
Keeping your home secure not only keeps loved ones safe, but it can also help ease your worries.
Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries Are Preventable. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Accessd on May 20, 2020 at https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/index.html)
Childproofing Your Home. National Safety Council. (Accessd on May 20, 2020 at https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/child-safety/childproofing)
Childproofing Your Home: 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. (Accessd on May 20, 2020 at https://www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/kids-and-babies/childproofing-your-home-12-safety-devices-protect)