November is child safety and prevention month. As much as parents and caregivers try to child proof and lock away harmful substances, there are still hidden dangers lurking in your car, home and medicine cabinet. Follow these helpful tips from local experts to avoid being a statistic:
Car Safety. “Ideally children two and under should be rear facing, or until they have reached the maximum height or weight limit of a convertible seat. Once they are forward facing they should remain in a five-point harness for as long as possible — until age 5 or even 6. The next step would be a high back booster seat and once they are tall enough a no-back booster is a great option,” stated Meghan Floirendo, child passenger safety technician.
In Virginia, children 7 and under are required to be in a child restraint. Visit www.safekids.org to determine whether or not your child should be in a safety seat or seat belt. Virginia is a proper use state, which means that legally, all children must be properly restrained. “There is so much more that goes in to making sure kids are properly restrained. Every caregiver is encouraged to seek out a trained and certified child passenger safety technician to set up a free seat check!” said Floirendo.
Child Medication Safety. “Consider places where children get into medicine. In 67 percent of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the medicine was left within reach of a child, such as in a purse, on a counter or dresser or on the ground,” reports Erin Reid, family nurse practitioner. “Consider products you might not think about as medicines, such as diaper rash remedies, vitamins or eye drops, but they actually are and need to be stored safely, too.”
Put the toll-free Poison Help Number into your home and cell phone: 1-800-222-1222. Post the number in your home where caregivers can see it. And remember, the Poison Help Number is not just for emergencies; you can call with questions about how to take or give medicine.
“The biggest thing I think adults forget is that children are NOT just small adults. They need the proper dose based on age and weight. Don't use a spoon from your kitchen drawer as a measuring tool! Use a medication dropper or the dosing cup that comes with the medication to prevent a dosage error,” said Reid.
Household Safety. “Television and furniture tip-overs are a safety concern for all children, but especially curious toddlers that try to climb the dresser,” says Anna Krushinki, CFNP. “Brackets, braces and wall straps can be used to secure heavier pieces of furniture and TVs to the wall to prevent them from tipping over. “
"Household safety with teenagers is all about restricting access. Items such as alcohol, medications and Internet access must be closely monitored to keep curious teenagers from making unsafe choices that may put them at risk," Cate Jones, LPN.
For more tips about child safety and prevention, visit safekids.org.
Nikki Ducas is a Fredericksburg mom who always asks her sons, “What’s my job? To keep us safe!”