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Home safety in isolation

With the coronavirus here and children isolated at home with their parents, home safety becomes a priority. So, to prevent anyone from falling down on their job of making their homes safe for children, I thought I’d take aim at some home safety tips so everyone stays injury-free.

Fall prevention

Household falls account for over 2 million emergency visits per year alone in this country. The good news is that most accidental falls can be prevented by doing simple things like using gates on stairways and installing window guards if you live above the first floor. Then there are the accidents that occur from your child falling off of things or things falling onto your child. Make sure you never leave infants and young children unsupervised on any piece of furniture and anchor large furniture to the wall to prevent tip-over injuries of televisions, dressers, bookcases and other large appliances that can come down on your child causing unnecessary injury.

Bathroom and burn safety

Supervision is also important in the bathroom, especially when there is water in the tub to prevent any chance of an accidental drowning.

As to burn prevention, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working and the batteries in them are replaced yearly. Keep your water heater at 120 degrees to prevent severe burns if a child gets accidentally scalded by hot water, cover unused outlets, and make sure fireplaces and furnaces have barriers so children can’t get close to them. Always supervise your children around electrical appliances, especially in the kitchen, where appliances and sharp objects are in abundance.

Firearm safety

If you have firearms in your home, please have them securely stored away from children. Please keep firearms locked and unloaded, have the ammunition stored separately and also locked away from children. Teach your children that if they see a firearm left out, they are to stop what they’re doing, not touch the firearm, leave the area and tell you or another adult in the home right away.

Hopefully, tips like these won’t hurt a bit when it comes to making sure your home is as safe as possible while spending all the quality time you are spending together during this coronavirus pandemic.

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Lewis First, MD, is chief of pediatrics at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital of Vermont Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. You can also catch “First with Kids” weekly on WOKO 98.9FM and NBC5.

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