Are you guilty of “distracted mom-ming”? If you have a child under the age of 4, you hear it all the time from people in line at the grocery store and probably your own mom or grandmother – “Enjoy this time! They grow up so fast!” But let’s face it – women are pulled in a million different directions these days. This not only takes us out of the little moments in our kids’ lives, it can compromise their safety as well. Let’s go room by room and look at the ways you can ensure your kids are safer, despite your attention being elsewhere from time to time:
1. Bathroom: Turn your water temperature down on the water heater itself! Testing bathwater isn’t enough. What if they turn on the hot water themselves? If you have it set at or below 120° they will never be scalded. You don’t want to go too low, however, or there are certain bacteria which can multiply in your water heater. 120° F is the perfect balance for water quality safety and kid safety.
2. Kitchen: Add stove guards to your stovetop! Yes, they may not be the prettiest accessories in your kitchen’s decor, but you turn your back for one second… Even if you turn your pot handles to the back, kids can reach up and touch the burners or the pots themselves, resulting in serious burns. Stove guards keep little fingers away from the heat.
3. Living Room: Anchor your heavy furniture to the wall! Kids are climbers. New walkers grab onto whatever they can to pull themselves up. If your furniture is anchored to the wall it won’t topple onto your toddler.
4. Office: Keep cords contained! You know that mess of cords under your desk that looks like Radio Shack threw up? Kids LOVE that stuff! They grab and pull, resulting in heavy desk items falling on them. Worse yet they unplug cords and get into the outlets themselves.
5. Stairs: Baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs! Until they can firmly hold the safety railings on their own and confidently go up and down, kids can still topple.
6. Basement: Install a Carbon Monoxide detector near your furnace! This one won’t help you when you are distracted, but it’s just common sense.
7. Yard: If you have a pool, put a high fence with an alarmed gate around it! Water attracts not just your kids, but all the kids in the neighborhood. Make sure you know when anyone goes near the water.
8. Garage: Make sure your kids’ toys are easily accessible and dad’s “toys” are out of reach – locked in a separate area if possible! Lawnmowers, snow blowers, weed whackers, power tools, basically anything with a sharp blade is a major attractant to kids. If you can put those dangerously attractive items in a locked area or shed, you reduce the risk of injury. Even a gated area is better. Put the weed and pest poison, antifreeze and paint in there as well. If you think your kids may wander out into the garage on their own and you can’t lock up or gate the dangerous stuff, consider a cheap audible alarm on the door between the house and garage. At least it will get your attention if they make a break for it!
9. Car: Buckle and seat belt guards keep your little one safely contained! Yes, it’s one more thing you have to do when strapping them in, but the act of driving itself should have all of your attention. You should not be worrying about whether your aspiring Houdini has figured out the five-point system all on his own and is now free range in the SUV!
10. Everywhere: Learn CPR! Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time, anywhere. If you are armed with the knowledge of how to perform CPR, you are now invaluable to your own family and your community. Make sure the class you take covers infant and children and includes a section on choking.