Dr. Jamie Freishtat: Hi! I am Dr. Jamie Freishtat, a Pediatrician from Safe Kids USA. Today I am discussing Childproofing room-by-room. Right now we are in the family room. I think the easiest way to address childproofing in a family room is to think it in different categories.
First let's go over burn and fire safety. Make sure that all electrical outlets are covered when not in use. If there is any cords coming out of an electrical outlet, make sure that it is setup with a barrier in front of it so children cannot get to it. Make sure that our fire places have a barrier around them, so a child cannot reach the fire. Also establish a kid's free zone around all heat sources, such as fire places or wood burning stoves.
Another potential fire's hazard are space heaters. We don't recommend them, but if you do use one, make sure that there is never anything within 3 feet of the space heater and then it is never used to dry anything. In addition, always turn space heaters off before going to bed, leaving a room or leaving the house and never leave a child alone in a room with a space heater.
A lot of people keep household plants in their family rooms. This can actually be a poisoning risk. Make sure if you have young children to take those plants out of the room or put them somewhere a child cannot reach. Carbon monoxide is produced by fuel burning sources and appliances. Make sure there is a working Carbon monoxide alarm installed on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. Test alarms monthly and replace batteries in all alarms at least once a year. Carbon monoxide is odorless, tasteless and invisible, so the alarms are a necessity.
Now let's address the potential for falls in the family room. Be sure that all furniture is secured to the walls with either furniture straps or brackets and this goes for television sets as well. Also make sure that all coffee tables and any tables with sharp edges are either removed from the family room or the sharp edges are covered with cushion bumpers. Don't forget about the risk of glass tables. Children can actually become seriously injured from those. So if you have a glass table probably the best thing to do is to remove it from an area where children play.
Next is the risk for choking. Be sure that you go through your family room each and every day to be sure that no small parts have been left out. It's not uncommon for young children to choke on things such as batteries, small toys, coins, buttons or paper clips. Also if you have older children, be sure you separate their toys from your younger children because it is very possible some of their toys are too small for those younger kids to be playing with.
It is great if you can just use small parts tester to test the size of a toy. If it fits into that small parts detector, that means it is too small and should be put away. Up high, out of site, locked up where a small child cannot get to it. If you don't have a small parts tester you can always use the inside of a toilet paper roll, by putting a toy inside.
Next, let's discuss the risk of strangulation. This really involves window coverings. We recommend replacing all the window covering with cordless options. This is the safest choice. Cords pose a huge strangulation risk, so the proper precautions must be taken. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website, cpsc.
gov for more information and windowcoverings.
org to order free retrofit repair kits if needed. Also keep all furniture such as cribs away from windows and adult supervision is a must.
Electrical cords can pose a strangulation risk, so make sure those are kept out of the reach of the children as well. In terms of general safety around the family room, make sure there is a smoke alarm on every floor of the house, including the basement, outside every sleeping area and in each bedroom. Be sure to change the batteries in all detectors at least once a year and test all detectors monthly. Make sure your kids are safe by using gates. This is a great way to keep kids out of certain areas. But don't forget that adult supervision is top priority.