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Top 5 household dangers that every parent should know about in 2015

Provided by: Brandpoint - January 30, 2015

Each year, injuries send 9 million American children to emergency rooms, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Accidental injury is the leading cause of childhood death in the U.S., and while it’s impossible to shield children from all of life’s risks, parents can improve home safety by taking five important steps:

1. Furniture safety – Every three weeks, a child is killed by a television tipping over, and every 45 minutes one child goes to the emergency room because of a fallen TV, according to a 2012 report by SafeKids Worldwide. Bookshelves, dressers and other large furniture items also pose a risk if they tip and fall on a child.

Minimize these risks by ensuring that televisions and large furniture items are secure. Wall mount flatscreen TVs using a properly installed mount designed for the purpose. Similarly, position TVs on furniture designed to hold them securely with a strap or other safety device, and never place TVs atop dressers, bureaus, benches, boxes or folding tables. Secure large furniture items, like bureaus, to the wall following manufacturer’s guidelines with a safety strap.

2. Fireplace safety – Since 1999, federal estimates indicate that more than 2,000 children 5 and younger have been burned by the glass enclosures of gas fireplaces, according to the non-profit consumer advocacy website FairWarning.

As of Jan. 1, 2015, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires manufacturers to include safety barrier screens as standard equipment on new fireplace installations. Heatilator – a leader in fireplace safety and the No. 1 fireplace brand used by homebuilders- began including safety screens as standard equipment more than a decade before the implementation of the ANSI rule. During that time, the company has had no incidents of severe consumer burns from fireplaces with properly installed barriers.

Ensure gas fireplaces are outfitted with safety screens, and never leave children unattended near a lit fireplace. Many leading fireplace manufacturers, including Heatilator, offer retrofit safety screens. While the screens protect against contact with hot glass, remember that the metal can also heat up, and fireplaces, stoves, inserts and their surrounding material will remain hot even after you’ve turned them off, so keep children at a safe distance while enjoying your fireplace. Visit www.heatilator.com for additional fireplace safety tips and to learn more about safety screens.

3. Medication safety – While you may think household cleansers constitute the greatest threat of poisoning to children – and lock them up accordingly – in reality, medications are the leading cause. SafeKids reports that 67,700 children were treated in emergency rooms for medicine poisoning in 2011 – one child every eight hours. Nearly all of the poisonings occurred when a child was left alone with access to medicines.

Secure all medicines, vitamins and medicinal items like creams or eye drops in locked cabinets away from children, and never leave medication sitting out or in a purse, drawer, or anywhere else a child can access it. Program the toll-free Poison Help Number into your mobile phone and post it in your home: (800) 222-1222.

4. Fall safety – Nearly 3 million children required emergency room treatment for falls in 2012, SafeKids reports. Children fall in a number of ways – while climbing on furniture or stairs, playing near a window, on playgrounds and more.

Parents of small children should securely lock windows, especially those on upper floors. Further, if you must open the window, don’t rely on the screen to prevent a fall; install window guards with an emergency release device. Always place infants in carriers on the floor – never on furniture or counters – and be sure the child is properly secured in the carrier. Protect stairs with safety gates installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and choose playgrounds with shock-absorbing surfaces that will better cushion a child in case of a fall from a piece of equipment.

5. Suffocation safety – Strangulation, choking and suffocation are leading causes of injury and death among children. In 2011, 1,169 children 19 and younger died from suffocation, and 77 percent of those deaths occurred in children younger than 1, SafeKids says.

Risk factors range from food to blind cords and bedding. Always feed children with small bites and never allow a young child to eat unattended. SafeKids advises never to give children younger than 5 small, round or hard foods, such as hard candy, nuts, grapes, marshmallows, popcorn, hot dog pieces, or cheese sticks. Follow manufacturer’s age suggestions and cautions when choosing toys with small pieces that could be swallowed, and secure electrical wires as well as the cords and strings on blinds so they are out of children’s reach.


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