November Is Child Safety Month

November is Child Safety Month. Follow these 10 safety guidelines from to keep your kids safe all year long.
1. Cabinet Locks: Kids can have the latest and greatest toys but they still love and sometimes prefer playing with whatever is in the kitchen cabinets. Stacking bowls, banging pots and pans together and covering the kitchen floor with all sorts of interesting items can keep children entertained for hours. However, kitchen cabinets can pose a serious threat to children. They can get cut on sharp edged items such as a plate or bowl with a broken rim. Kids enjoy taking things apart which might result in loose screws falling from pots and pans. If those screws fall into the floor, they might end up in a child’s mouth posing a choking hazard or a serious digestive injury. There are many different types of cabinet locks to pick from, but while no cabinet lock is 100% child proof, they will help keep your child safer in the kitchen.

2. Water Safety: Never leave a child alone in the water. This is not only true for swimming pools but also for bathtubs. It only takes a few inches of water to drown a child. It seems all too common for parents to start running a child’s bath water and then turn around or leave the room briefly to answer the phone or tend to another child, leaving a child alone in the bathtub. Stay with the child and don’t forget to drain the water after the bath. The child might re-enter the bathroom later and fall in.

Monitor the water temperature. Water that feels warm to an adult is sometimes much too hot for a small child. Test the water carefully before lowering a child into hot water. Never allow a child to begin running the water on her own. She might run the water too hot and remain trapped in the tub with no way to get out or turn off the water without the help of an adult.

Another reminder: Don’t forget to empty the water from outdoor child-sized swimming pools and other large containers. Children can fall in and drown.

If you take your child out on a boat, make sure he wears a life jacket the whole time.

3. Toy Safety: Avoid allowing small children to play with toys which include small pieces. They can pose a choking hazard for small children. Check toy packaging for instructions and age appropriate suggestions.

If your child enjoys riding toys, provide a safe place for play. Check the outdoor environment for steep driveways, hills and curves in the roadway near your driveway which can present safety issues. Choose recommended safety equipment such as a well-fitting helmet, elbow pads and knee pads.

Check toys and toddler equipment for safety recalls. You can go to to check for safety recalls. If you find that your child’s toy or other belongings have been recalled, you can often go to the manufacturer or the store where you purchased the item for a full refund or exchange. Follow the instructions on the website.

4. Automobile Safety Seats: Different states have different laws about child safety seats. In the state of North Dakota, a child must be placed in a child safety device until age 7, in Minnesota until age 8. Check your state’s law and follow it, maybe even add your own, stricter guidelines. Make sure your child safety device is installed correctly. If you aren’t sure, check out Safe Kids Grand Forks’ website at for our list of upcoming car seat check up events.

5. Poison Control: Keep all household cleaning items up high and locked away from the reach of children. Many, if not most, household cleaning supplies are not packaged with child safety caps. Children don’t always know the difference between a cleaning liquid and a drink. Keep all medications up high and locked away as well. Medications can be mistaken for candy. Keep the poison control center number posted in your kitchen and bathroom in case of poison ingestion. The number is 1-800-222-1222. You can also call 9-1-1. If you think your child or a child in your care has ingested a poisonous substance, call and get help immediately.

6. Heat Safety: Never leave a child in the car. The temperature in a vehicle increases very, very quickly. A child can overheat within minutes causing him to suffer heatstroke or even death. Accidents happen. Parents are busy and stressed out so always take the time to check the backseat for a sleeping child in the event that you forgot to drop the child off at daycare. If you are making a short, quick trip into a bank or store, take the child with you. In addition to heatstroke or other heat related illnesses, leaving a child alone in a car poses a kidnapping threat.

Monitor children when they play outside. Make sure they have plenty of water to drink and that they drink it often. Children busy at play heat up faster than they realize.

7. Gun Safety: Keep firearms locked away from small children. If your firearm is temporarily not locked away, make sure you can see it at ALL times. If you have guns in your home, make sure you educate your children on the dangers. Make sure they know that your firearms are not toys. While training older kids, such as a teenager, to use firearms, set clear rules. Tell them to never touch the firearm unless you are with them.

8. Playground Safety: Never drop off a child at a playground to play alone. Stay with the child. While most playgrounds are regularly inspected, children can still get hurt if not properly monitored. Children need to learn independence so you don’t always have to help them up ladders and down slides. However, an adult should remain nearby in case the child panics or falls. Children who fall from tall slides, ladders and climbing bars can suffer head injuries, broken bones or sprains. A parent or adult should be nearby when it happens and children who are closely monitored by adults are much less likely to be abducted.

Obviously, we can’t keep our children in a bubble and always protect them from every possible danger nor is that recommended. Children must learn to grow up and cope with the dangers of the world in which they live. However, it does help to be informed about possible hazards so adults can make good, clear and informed decisions about their child’s safety. Safe Kids Grand Forks provides adults with all sorts of safety advice and site visitors can view and download almost any kind of safety checklist.

Enjoy your kids and keep them safe.

For more information, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks at Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.

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