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Most household accidents are avoidable, especially when they relate to children. Children have a habit of getting into everything, including areas that serve as a potential risk to their health, or near appliances or substances that can cause bodily harm. Prevention is the key to negating serious injury and even death. Following are four tips that every parent should be aware of with the thought of preparing for the inevitable accident.

Hot Spots, Medications and Chemicals

Parents should never leave their children unattended around showers or bathtubs that are filling with hot water. Not only does this pose a risk of children scalding themselves, but they may fall into a deep tub and drown. Stoves and ovens should be monitored at all times when children are present. Cooking on the stove back burners is a good way to keep hot pans and skillets out of reach of children. Parents should turn pot and skillet handles inward, away from the front of the stove so they are out of reach. Lock the oven door with a security latch, if applicable.

All prescription medications should be stored in cabinets that are secure proof and out of reach of children. After taking prescribed medications, parents should re-cap the pill bottles and put them up and away from a child’s reach. This goes for vitamin supplement, laxative and any diet aid.

Hazardous chemicals like lye, bleach, gasoline, lighter fluid, degreaser, powdered soap and all types of cleansers should be stored in child-proof cabinets. Items in the garage such as thinners, gas, anti-freeze, oil and paints should be stored high up in unreachable areas or locked in cupboards. Check all bathroom, kitchen and utility closet cupboards for any caustic or poison chemicals and either lock them up or relocate them to an inaccessible area.

Malfunctioning Electrical Systems

Keep all appliances, electrical systems and housecleaning and kitchen electrical tools in working order. Parents should never put off repairing an appliance or component that is malfunctioning or has ceased to work. This applies to damage and electrical shorting. Such appliances pose an electrical hazard if left plugged in and left unattended. Any appliance that uses electricity but then shorts out may cause an overload if re-used, or it may start a fire. Floor heaters should not be left out of eyesight with children around. Any time an appliance such as a vacuum cleaner is used, it should be unplugged from the wall and stored away with the cord wrapped.

An air conditioning/heating system that continuously trips breakers indicates an electrical short or overload in the wiring. A HVAC professional should be called for inspection and service. For a garage door opener that works sporadically or closes on its own, it’s a good idea to call a technician at The Garage Door Company Ltd and have it repaired.

Pools and Saunas

All pools, even above ground pools, should be gated and locked against entry from small children. Saunas should be turned off when not in use and covered with a strong fabric and ties. Any outdoor ponds should be kept at a shallow depth, drained during winter or covered to avoid drowning accidents. Children are naturally attracted to water so special care should be exercised around any container that might hold enough water to cause a drowning accident, such as a horse trough.

Stairways and Sunken Landings

Small and even larger children can have mishaps on stairs and sunken steps. Any stairways, whether they lead to the second floor, basement or attic should be properly blocked with child gates that fit securely and have the necessary height to negate entry. If the home has a two to four sunken step area, thick carpet pads can be placed at the bottom to reduce serious injury if there is an accidental fall. Utility ladders and step stools should always be folded closed and stored after they have used.

For information on food safety, contact the FDA for information and guideline hazards. Keep emergency numbers to the fire department and EMS readily on hand or posted on the fridge or other prominent area. Don’t wait for an accident to happen. Scout your home and make it safe for your and others kids.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to make their home safe.