From easily accessible medication to unlocked toilets, the average American household is chock full of safety hazards. By carefully childproofing your home, you can allow young children to explore the world around them without fear of choking, drowning, or consuming poisonous substances. These are the five best moves you can make right now to keep your children safe:


1. Prevent drowning via supervision, toilet locks, and pool fencing.

Drowning does not simply take place in backyard swimming pools. Bathtubs, toilets, and buckets can all pose a significant hazard for young children. Never leave tubs or buckets filled with water unattended, and be sure young children are supervised at all times whenever they take baths. Toilet seat locking devices can prevent toilet-based drowning, as can closed bathroom doors. If you have a pool, install fencing and pool covers.


2. Childproof electrical wires and extension cords.

We may live in a mobile age, but if you are anything like the average American, cords and wires abound in your home. Outlet covers are an obvious solution for open sockets and power strips, but other, more involved solutions may be required if your home is a maze of extension cords. Consider having extra electrical outlets installed where necessary. It is far easier to plug in an outlet cover than to minimize cord-based clutter.


3. Minimize choking hazards.

The National Safety Council’s Injury Facts 2015 highlighted choking as the fourth leading cause of unintentional death. From caramels to balloons, just about any small item can potentially be a choking hazard. Take extra care when preparing food, and never give children under the age of four cheese cubes, popcorn, nuts, pitted cherries, or small pieces of hard candy. Every few days, get on your hands and knees and scour the house for easily-accessible choking hazards such as coins, marbles, nails, batteries, jewelry, bottle caps, and small parts for toys.


4. Keep medications and other poisonous substances out of reach.

Every year, poison control centers receive a shocking 2.2 million calls. Many of these callers seek advice for children who have consumed poisonous substances. Prescription drugs are dangerous, of course, but cough syrup, aspirin, and even vitamins should also be kept out of reach. Other poisonings are caused by cosmetics, fertilizers, glue, laundry packets, furniture polish, toilet cleaners, and paints. Read all labels, and if possible, avoid purchasing items marked with “danger” product labels.

In addition to keeping medications and poisonous substances out of reach, it is important to have the National Poison Center Control hotline number — (800) 222-1222 — on your cell phone and posted near any landline phones.


5. Use security camera monitoring apps

Supervision is key to child protection, but what happens when you can’t be there? If you worry about leaving your child with a babysitter, consider using a security camera monitoring device. When connected with a smartphone app, this device will allow you to monitor your children while you are at work or out on the town. In addition to holding sitters accountable, a security app can provide valuable peace of mind.

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