Is Your Child Safe? - August 1st 2003


Is Your Child Safe?

Your home is a place where your child is safe from harm - or should be. Children are curious and cannot easily recognize and avoid hazards; therefore, they need extra protection and care. Many burns, poisonings and falls can be avoided. By supervising your children carefully and making their surroundings safe, you can prevent injuries.


Toys

Canadian consumers spend approximately $1.3 billion a year on toys. It is important to know that no matter how much safety is built into a toy, supervision, proper use and maintenance of toys are essential.

Select only toys suitable for the child's age group, and make sure to read and follow all instructions that come with the toy.

Toys with small parts are dangerous for children under three years. Keep them out of their reach.

Check toys regularly and throw away broken toys which may have sharp edges.

Keep plush toys and soft toys away from stoves, fireplaces, heaters and other sources of heat.



Toy Boxes

Make sure that large toy boxes have good ventilation in case a child climbs inside.

Choose toy boxes with lids that are lightweight and have good supporting hinges; heavy lids have fallen on children's necks causing death.

Toy boxes should be inspected regularly to ensure the hinges are secure and well-maintained.



Balloons

Although balloons are not toys, children do play with them. It is dangerous for a child to play with broken balloons or deflated balloons. Throw away pieces of broken balloons.

Always blow up balloons for children and supervise children playing with balloons.



Toys with Batteries

Make sure batteries in toys for young children are properly installed and not accessible to the child.

It is dangerous to mix older batteries with newer ones, or to mix alkaline with carbon, or rechargeable with non-rechargeable.

A child should not take battery-operated toys to bed.

If a child swallows a button battery, call your doctor or poison control centre immediately.



Strollers

Many children are injured in baby stroller and carriage incidents because the lap belt was not properly fastened, or children were left unattended - for just a moment!

Choose a sturdy stroller that is recommended for your child's weight and height.

Make sure that the lap belt is solidly attached to the seat or frame of the stroller. The seat should not pull away from the frame, even if you pull sharply on the lap belt.

Always use the harness or lap belt.

Use the brakes and make sure the wheels are fixed tightly.

Before making adjustments to the stroller, ensure that the child's hands and feet are clear.

Do not carry additional children, goods or accessories in or on the stroller except as recommended in the manufacturer's instructions.

Do not use a stroller on an escalator.



High Chairs

Many children are injured by falling from high chairs or sliding under the tray. In most instances, injuries can be prevented if the harness or belt is properly used and the child is closely supervised.

A safe chair is stable and has a wide base to reduce the risk of tipping.

The harness should consist of a strap which fits between the child's legs and a waist belt that is easy to fasten and kept in good condition.

Set up and maintain the high chair as recommended by the manufacturer.

Ensure that the child's hands, arms and legs are clear of any moving parts before making adjustments to the chair or the tray.

Never allow older children to climb onto the chair.

Keep the chair a safe distance away from walls, doors, windows, blind cords, mirrors, appliances and other furniture.



Pacifiers

A pacifier can quickly become a child's most precious possession.

Never tie a pacifier or any other object around a baby's neck. Infants can strangle when cords are tied around their necks.

A teething ring should be used instead of a pacifier if the baby starts to chew on the pacifier. When a baby chews on a pacifier, it could get stuck in the throat.

Changes in texture, tears or holes can appear with age, heat, exposure to food and sunlight. Pacifiers should be changed every two months rather than waiting for signs of breakdown.

Remember that some medicine can damage a pacifier.