As we approach 2010, it’s a great time to organize your home and do a “safety check-up” of your child’s toys and furniture. When you have kids it’s important to be organized and keep dangerous items stored securely and locked away. Keep in mind how you store things is equally as important as what you store.
Linen closets/medicine cabinets – Many parents think to lock away household cleaning products but neglect potential poisons in their bathroom cabinets and linen closets. Hairsprays and hair gels, mouth washes, toothpaste and perfume can all be harmful if ingested. Be sure that these items are stored in a locked cabinet preferably on the top shelf. Rearrange linen closets to place safe items such as towels on the shelves that are within children’s reach.
Armoires and cabinets – Closed cabinets are a great place to store DVD’s, CD’s and electronic equipment including TV’s. But make sure that heavy items such as stereo systems and TV’s are secured into the cabinet. Heavy duty Velcro, available at most hardware stores, is a handy way of accomplishing this. Additionally, secure the unit into the wall to prevent a tip over accident. There has been an increase in deaths due to heavy furniture and TVs toppling over onto children.
Pantries – Many potential choking hazards and poisons reside in our food pantries. Items such as nuts, hard candy and popcorn as well as spices including cayenne pepper, chili powder and other hazardous items need to be stored on the top shelves of the pantry. Keep pantry doors locked as added precaution.
Toy Chests/Linen Chests – While this is a great space to store blankets and toys, it also could be extremely hazardous. Install a slow-closing hinge so the top won’t fall on little fingers. Additionally, drill holes in the back of the chest so that in the event a child does get trapped inside they can get oxygen.
Garage and basement storage areas – Toxic chemicals such as bug repellant, lawn fertilizer and paint thinner should always be stores in their original containers so that in the event of ingestion you’re able to provide all of the information to poison control. Keep all items in a locked cabinet and place a lock on the door leading to the garage or basement as an added precaution. Don’t forget that items such as rakes, shovels, tools and lawn mowers are also dangerous for inquisitive kids!
Check all toys and furniture – Now is a great time to be sure that all of your child’s toys and games are in good working order – no broken or loose parts that could become a choking hazard. Check that bolts and screws on cribs, high chairs and strollers are still tight and secure all blind cord to avoid a strangulation hazard.