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    Home Safety Tips

    Childproofing: Small Steps to A Safer Home

    Small children have an appetite for exploring, but little or no understanding of danger. If you have an active infant or toddler, you know that these traits can lead to trouble. As a matter of fact, statistics show that home accidents account for more children's injuries and fatalities than all childhood diseases combined.

    Here are a few steps you can take to insure your children's safety. The specialized hardware shown can be purchased at building supply dealers or children's specialty stores.

    Be sure to:

    *Lock up all poisons and dangerous objects. Eliminate clutter and store prized possessions. Keep all tools organized and out of children's reach.

    *Turn down your water temperature to a maximum of 120 degrees.

    *Put sleeves on doorknobs to bar toddlers from dangerous areas. Utilize door and window locks, but be sure you can get them open in an emergency. Remember to show your babysitter how to unlock in case of emergency

    *Discuss emergency escape routes and procedures with all family members. Keep escape ladders near second-story emergency exits. Put emergency numbers on or next to the phone, where family members and babysitters can find them.

    *For the whole family's safety, install a smoke detector on each floor of your house, adjacent to bedrooms, in any stairwell and in living/dining area.

    *Replace outlet covers (that kids can reach) with protective covers. For unused outlets, smaller plastic outlet plugs guard children from accidental shock.

    *Be sure all baby gear meets the standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (write for information: Consumer Product Safety Commission, Washington, D.C. 20207).

    *Put childproof latches on cabinet doors and drawers-- particularly those containing dangerous or fragile objects.

    *Install baby gates at doorways where needed, and at top and bottom of stairways.

    *Pad sharp furniture or counter edges with foam tape. Put corner protectors on sharp edges. Eliminate or tape-down loose rugs or electrical cords that might trip children.

     *Fence-in swimming pool and other dangerous areas. For enclosing a pool, fence height should be at least 4 feet-- better 5 feet. Be sure to provide a self-closing, self-latching gate.

    *Check outdoor play equipment. Cut off protruding bolts, tighten loose nuts, put non-slip coating on slippery slide steps, replace hard swing seats with soft material, provide soft ground cover, anchor support legs.

    *Secure curtain cords to tie-down

    *Post emergency numbers. On a separate card for each phone in the house, write down the phone numbers for police, fire department, and ambulance (in many areas, 911 will connect you with all of these). Also note the number of a poison control center, family physician, health plan medical number, and any other numbers that might be important, such as those of parents’ work, neighbors, relatives, and friends. Post these cards where all family members and the babysitter can find them.