GFM FEB 2015
It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to travel and home safety for your little one.
Safety begins at home and should be a consistent factor everywhere you go. This is especially true if you have young children! Toddlers are vulnerable to accidents, so protecting them from harm should be foremost in all that you do. If you are wondering how to keep your little tot safe at home and on-the-go, there’s no need to worry! The in-the-know MomReps over at PishPoshBaby rounded up ten of the most important toddler safety tips below to guide you at home and when you’re planning a trip with your kids:
Safety at Home
Keeping a home that’s a safe haven for your kids is not an option; it’s a must. Many toddler accidents happen at home, so it’s your job to create a space that’s conducive to their growth in a secure manner. Always remember that, beyond hiring professional childproofing services and buying child-safety gadgets, your supervision is still the best safety tool at home.
Childproof vulnerable areas: Get down on your hands and knees to get your toddler’s perspective. From that vantage point, you can tell what’s within reach, and which areas a small child can get to with a little effort. Once you’ve pinpointed the vulnerable areas of your home, childproof them with baby gates, netting, slip-proof carpeting, corner guards, electrical outlet covers, and tamper-proof locks. Don’t just rely on safety gadgets. Adults and siblings are constantly moving items in and out of rooms throughout the day that can make a previously safe room unsafe. Always spot-check a room before allowing your baby access.
Keep a first-aid kit ready: Boo-boos are part and parcel of growing up, so make sure you have a first-aid kit within reach at all times. Include essential items such as bandage strips, sterile gauze, tweezers, cotton balls, pediatrician-recommended medication, rubbing alcohol, thermometers, antibiotic ointments, and other important things. Tape a list of emergency numbers (including your family physicians and a poison control hotline) on the kit’s cover or near the phone for quick reference.
Store toys in easily-accessible places: As stated above, it’s important to know if your toddler can reach for something with relative ease. This means that if you store their toys in overhead bins, there’s a huge chance of them getting hit by overturned and falling things. Keep toys in a basket or in a chest on the floor, and store non-essentials under lock and out of sight.
Supervise feeding time closely: It goes without saying that you have to know how to give first aid to a choking toddler. An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure, so supervision still ranks higher when you’re feeding your child. Never leave your child alone while they eat, and make sure to place them on a booster seat and encourage them to relax during mealtime; a hyperactive toddler won’t be able to focus on eating properly and can court accidents. Remove or switch off all sources of distraction, such as toys, gadgets, and the TV. Cut your child’s food into bite-size pieces, taking care to remove those that can be easily choked on, such as nuts, raisins, and small bits of fruit.
Be alert for toy and baby product recalls: Every year, we’ve come to expect kiddie products being recalled because they don’t meet federal safety standards. Always be on top of things when it comes to food and items you buy for your toddler. One of the best ways is to constantly check consumer-safety sites, such as kidsindanger.org, which regularly updates its list of hazardous products for children. And when shopping for your child, always research consumer reports about the item, and if it is age-appropriate for your toddler.
Traveling with your toddler, whether it’s just a quick trip to the grocery store or a long-haul to a vacation spot, is inevitable. Make the trip safe for your child with these tips that place special emphasis on planning ahead, as well as following tried-and-tested safety practices.
Use a car safety seat consistently: Always strap your child onto their car seat before starting your car. Kids from one to three years old should be in rear-facing car seats installed in the back seat (preferably rear passenger vs. rear of driver). This ensures that they don’t suffer neck or head injuries in case of a car accident. Once they’ve reached the car seat manufacturer’s height and weight limit, they can be harnessed securely to a forward-facing seat. Avoid booster seats (use 5-point harness car seats instead)until your child is tall enough that your seat belt covers their shoulder rather than their neck! Another important tip: make sure that a toddler car seat is compatible with your vehicle before buying it.
Have your toddler wear a safety harness in crowded places: Keep your toddler within sight and reach at all times, especially in crowded public places. Invest in a backpack harness or a wrist strap with a leash you can hold on to. This will prevent them from getting lost while you’re doing grocery shopping, waiting for your flight at the airport, or having a fun time in theme parks.
Apply sunscreen liberally: Summer isn’t the only time for sunscreen when it comes to your toddler’s sensitive skin. Make it a habit to apply some on your child before they go outdoors. A chemical-free formulation is best, as it doesn’t contain anything harsh that can cause allergic reactions. To be on the safe side, do a patch test on your child’s upper arm before slathering the lotion on the entire body. Go for something that’s at least an SPF 15, and apply liberally on sunburn-prone areas such as the nose, nape of the neck, ears, and tops of shoulders.
Look up family-friendly vacation spots: Baby-friendly resorts and vacation getaways actually exist. You simply have to look them up in advance and read up on travel advisor feedback to determine which ones are safe for kids. The best ones encourage you to pack light and leave the bulky toddler toys at home, as these are readily available upon request at the resort. Research on kid-friendly menus and if the restaurant staff is willing to puree food expressly for your child. Vacation spots offering playgrounds, petting zoos, baby wading pools, and other amenities that emphasize safety and fun are ideal.
Put together a travel emergency checklist: Aside from packing a first-aid kit, prescription medication, and a list of hotlines to call, it’s important to come up with a travel emergency checklist. Print several copies you can bring with you and give to your partner, and another one to leave at home. Fill in the appropriate blanks indicating your child’s name, plus your complete address, phone number, zip code. Also indicate your child’s doctor’s contact numbers at the clinic and at home, plus their medical history including allergies, pre-existing conditions, and immunization.#
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