Dr. Jamie Freishtat: Hi! I am Dr. Jamie Freishtat, a Pediatrician from Safe Kids, USA. Today I am discussing child proofing room-by-room. Right now, I am in a child's room. When you enter a child's room, there is a lot to think about when you are discussing child proofing. So, I am going to divide it up into different categories to hopefully make it a little bit more manageable.
First, let's talk about crib safety. Here are three very important tips about the crib itself. First, you want to be sure the crib you are using has not been recalled. Second, be sure your crib meets all the most up-to-date federal safety standards and voluntary safety standards. And third, be sure the crib is put together exactly as directed by the manufacturer and there are no missing, loose or broken parts. When you put your child in the crib, the only thing that should be in the crib is a firm mattress that fits snuggly in the crib and the mattress should be covered with a tightly fitted sheet. The room temperature should be comfortable for a lightly clothed adult. If it gets a bit chilly, use a sleep sack or one piece sleeper instead of a blanket. Just remember to never over dress or over bundle the baby. Don't let him get over heated. Be sure, the crib is moved away from all windows, cords, drapery, electrical cords and heating sources, preferably to a windowless wall. On windows above the first floor, install window stops to keep windows from opening no more than four inches or window guards to help prevent falls. Be sure the guards and stops on the sixth floor and below have emergency release devices, which can be opened easily, quickly and without any accessories by an adult or older child in the event of an emergency.
In addition to prevent falls, keep all furniture away from windows. Keep windows locked and closed. If necessary to open windows, do so from the top and constant adult supervision is a must. Remember, screens keep bugs out, but they do not keep kids in. Now, let's address window coverings. We recommend replacing all the window coverings 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, place all furniture, such as cribs, far away from windows, preferably on windowless walls. Remember, constant adult supervision is always a must. Now, let's talk about fire and burn safety. Be sure there is a working smoke alarm in every bedroom of the home and outside each sleeping area. In addition, there should be a smoke alarm on every floor, including the basement. You want to make sure that smoke alarm works by testing it monthly and the battery should be changed at least every year. Also, there should be a working carbon-monoxide detector outside each sleeping area in that each level of the home. They should be tested monthly and all batteries changed at least once a year. Be sure that all electrical outlets are covered when not in use. And be sure that the ones which are in use are out a child's reach. You can set up a barrier on this area so a child cannot get into them. If your child is older and sleeps in a bed, be sure it is moved far away from any windows, drapery, cords or heating sources, preferably to a windowless wall. Toys compose a hazard in a child's room. It's always important to make sure that the age appropriate toys are kept in a room with the child. If you have a young child, make sure you use a small parts tester, and if you don't have one, you can always the inside of a toilet paper roll, to test the toys to see if they are too small for your child to play with. If they are, make sure they are put high up out of the reach of your child. This is especially important if a child has older siblings and there are smaller toys lying around the house. If there are toy boxes in the home, it's best to not use a lid. If there is a top, be sure it's light weight, easily removable and doesn't latch. If the toy box has a hinged lid, be sure it remains open at every point the top is open. Also, be sure there are ventilation holes in the toy box. The reason for this is that a child could become stuck inside of a toy chest or fall inside and not be able to get out. Also, make sure that your child does not have any plastic bags in his or her room or balloons. These can pose a serious risk to children. Now, let's move on to falls. It's important to secure all furniture, such as changing tables, bookcases and almirahs to the wall, with either furniture straps or brackets. Also, if you are using a changing table, you never want to leave a child alone, even for a second on top of that changing table, a child can roll off very easily even if they have never rolled before.
Make sure you use the strap on the changing table at all times. Also, make sure you keep all the cleaning supplies from the changing table out of the reach of children, but within your reach, so you don't have to leave your baby's side.
Lastly, in terms of strangulation risks, be sure to remove and safely get rid off all strings and draw strings from any clothes, toys, pacifiers or anything that has a string, because a child could easily be strangled. And remember; adult supervision is a must at all times.