The News-Press offers the following safety tips for parents and children:
♦ Electrical outlets, with their plug points and holes, are an invitation for kids to mess around with and stick their fingers in. Cover all sockets with integrated covers at all times. Educate your kids about electricity and the dangers that come with it.
♦ Use approved safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, and attach them to the wall if possible.
♦ Give young children your full and undivided attention when they are in and around water.
♦ Keep cribs clear of objects, and make sure that babies sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib every time they sleep.
♦ Develop and practice a home fire escape plan, with two ways out of the house in case of a fire.
♦ Make sure there is a smoke alarm on every level of your home, and test the batteries every six months. Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home, especially near sleeping areas.
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♦ Keep all medicine up and away and out of sight of young children, even medicine you take every day. Be alert to medicine stored in other locations, like pills in purses, vitamins on counters and medicine on nightstands.
♦ Store all household cleaners and other toxic products out of children’s sight and reach.
♦ Program the Poison Help Control Help Line into your phone and post it in your home where caregivers can find it easily in an emergency.
♦ Secure TVs by mounting them to the wall or placing them on a low, stable piece of furniture.
♦ Install window guards or window stops to keep children from falling out of windows.
♦ If your home happens to have a security system installed, it’s important that your children understand how to operate it. Whether they need to let themselves into the home after school or deactivate a false alarm, children should know how to arm and disarm the alarm system. It’s also important for kids to be able to locate the panic buttons and know how to activate them.
♦ Always check in. Make it a rule that your child calls a parent (or another adult that you designate), or leaves you a message, as soon as he gets home from school. This can be the first step in a daily routine that includes homework, a snack, and some downtime.
♦ Make the phone (almost) off-limits. Your child shouldn’t answer the phone for just anyone, so set up guidelines. If you have a landline with caller ID, tell her not to answer the phone if she doesn’t recognize the name or number. If you don’t have caller ID, tell him that she should let every call go to voicemail. If your child is old enough to have her own cell phone, use the same guidelines.
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♦ It’s crucial for parents to stress the importance of not allowing strangers onto the property. Children should be encouraged to keep all doors around the house locked and secure. They should also be advised not to open the front door to anyone that they do not recognize, especially when home alone.
♦ Don’t leave the house. Your child should not leave the house unattended unless he’s cleared it with you first or there is an emergency such as a fire. Make sure that he is aware of the risks of leaving home.
♦ Take the same way home. Have her take the same route to and from school every day. If your child walks, review each street that she uses. If she takes a school bus, make sure that she takes it every day, even if she is offered a ride from a friend. Knowing her route allows you to predict how long it will take her to arrive home, and to trace her steps if there is ever a problem.
♦ Keep him busy. Although he needs some downtime to rest and rejuvenate, your child will be less likely to get into trouble if he’s occupied with homework, music practice, and chores.
♦ Practice first aid. Keep a first aid kit handy and review it with your child. Help her distinguish between a true emergency and a minor one that she can handle herself.
Source: Safe Kids Worldwide, Safekids.org, parenting.firstcry.com, scholastic.com, www.privateproperty.co.za
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