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Protective Parenting: The basic essentials in safety equipment for protecting your most precious investment.

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

You’ve done everything you possibly could to take care of your baby (before he/she is even born) and welcome him/her into your new home. In addition to investing in all the comforts for baby known to man and available at your local Babies-R-Us, you are eating right, exercising, relaxing and giving up all (most) or your harmful habits. But, what about baby’s safety outside your womb and inside your home and in his or her room?

One of the best gifts you can offer your newborn is not only a home padded with love…but a loving home that is padded for safety.

Many child-safety equipment is readily available in a variety of retail outlets ranging from specialty stores to drugstores, supermarkets, and even hardware stores…and of course, online via the net.

While you may be able to compromise on features to cut costs, you should never compromise quality of safety. It is imperative that both safe and sturdy and not likely to cause your child injury or harm.

Experts advise that while you are better safe than sorry, there is no such thing as a completely childproof devise. In fact, they caution that many a determined toddler can be quite adept at disabling them. Furthermore, older children can be quite crafty at accomplishing the same, thus the need to routinely check and re-secure certain safety devises.

Remember, most injuries occur in and around the house. Industry experts and professionals alike concur that the best way to prevent some of the most common household injuries to infants and toddlers.

1. Safety latches and locks: Secure cabinets and drawers throughout the house to prevent access to poisonous substances, harmful medications and dangerous objects. Make sure you select devices that are simple enough to install but sturdy enough to resist pulls, tugs etc. Remember, they are merely a security device making it more difficult for children to get in harms way, not a guaranteed method of protection. And experts suggest also locking away even child-resistant packaging and remind parents that child-resistant is not synonymous with childproof.

2. Safety Gates: Creating a “gated” community for your child is an excellent way to reassure he/she won’t take any un-necessary tumbles. Safety gates block access to stairwells and other “danger” zones. Look for gates that are not easily jostled and removed, but that offer easy accessibility to adults and older, independent children. At the top of stairs, experts suggest gates that screw into the wall. Also look for gates that meet new safety standards and requirements and that display the appropriate certification seal. Also, if you have an older gate, make sure it doesn’t have a V-shaped opening along the top edge or a diamond shaped both which make it easy for young children to trap their head or fingers in.

3. Doorknob covers and locks: This helps deter children from wondering into “off-limit” rooms and areas, including potentially dangerous areas such as a home workshop, laundry room (full of harmful chemicals), or even an unguarded pool. Experts stress the importance of ensuring that the doorknob is durable but allows easy access or escape when handled by an adult, especially in case of emergency. Experts further suggest using locks in conjunction to fences and door alarms….and they point out that sliding glass doors with locks are often not an effective safeguard to pools.

4. Anti-scald devices: Ideal for showers, taps and faucets. This protective equipment helps ensure that your water heater doesn’t go above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, helping prevent burns.

5. Smoke Detectors: Experts say installing several throughout your home is essential for ensuring your investment doesn’t go up in smoke. They recommend having a smoke detector installed on every floor and also near bedrooms. Check once a month to ensure they are working properly, and change batteries at least once a year, or consider using 10-year batteries.

6. Window guards and safety netting: A barrier essential for windows, balconies, decks and landings. These safety devices help prevent falls and fall-related accidents. Check frequently to ensure they are securely and properly fastened and maintained. Experts suggest no more than 4 inches between the bars of a window guard and they advise leaving at least one window in each room accessible to escape in case of emergency. They also remind parents, that while window screens serve as a “better than nothing” blockade, they can easily be pushed out and won’t prevent children from falling out a window.

7. Corner and edge bumpers: Remember, children tend to walk into things. This is a great way to insure they don’t injure themselves. Look for devices that are easily installed but stay securely fastened.

8. Electrical outlet covers and plates: Help guard children against shock and possible execution. Make sure that the protectors are securely fastened and that they can’t be easily removed, as well are being large enough so that children can’t choke on them.

9. Carbon monoxide detector: Use to safeguard against potential carbon monoxide poisoning. Professionals recommend installing near sleeping areas for best results and the most protection.

10. Safety Tassels and inner cord stops on widow blinds: A security measure to help ensure children do not get tangled in the cords and accidentally strangle themselves. If you’re dealing with older miniblinds, cut the cord loop, remove the buckle and put safety tassels on each cord. Safeguard blinds, verticals, and drapery via tightly fastened tie-down devices. If you’re in the market for new window treatments, look for safety features that help prevent again accidents and child suffocation.

11. Doorstops and door holders: Defend against boo boos resulting from finders and hands being pinched or crushed in doors or door hinges. Experts recommend ensuring that your safety device of choice is easy to use and unlikely to break apart making them a choking hazard for infants and young children.

12. Cordless phones: Besides preventing your child from getting entangled in the cord, it allows for mobility and the ability to consistently keep and eye on your child, especially when they are in potentially harmful areas, including swing sets, pools, etc.


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