Magazine article Work & Family Life

Keeping Grandparents Up to Date on Kids' Safety

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Keeping Grandparents Up to Date on Kids' Safety

Article excerpt

Who knew 30 or 40 years ago how much safer children are on the road when they're sitting in car seats? Or the fact that more American children die each year from accidents and injuries than from all diseases combined? We've learned a lot in recent years about some of the newer dangers for kids - from garage door openers to microwave ovens to hot dogs.

If you are planning a visit with young children to their grandparents' house over the holidays, be aware that many older people do not live in childproof homes. Grandparents may also be unfamiliar with the newer dangers for kids - and they may not have heard or read some of the research on the causes and frequency of childhood injuries. For example:

* Accidents are more likely to happen when children are in a new situation or under stress.

* Boys tend to take more risks and suffer more injuries than girls.

* Three out of four poisonings take place when adults are at home, and they involve kids under the age of five who have mistaken household cleaners for beverages or medicine for candy.

Most grandparents will appreciate your safety tips, although some might say, "I brought you up and you survived." In any case, here are some ideas to consider and suggestions of potential hazards to watch out for.

Take into account your child's age and mobility. Is she or he an infant? A curious, exploring toddler? A school-age child who can understand and will obey rules such as, "Grandpa's computer and exercise bike are off limits."

If your child is ap infant who will be sleeping in a rented or borrowed crib, make sure the mattress fits firmly. If you see a gap, fill it up with rolled-up towels.

Look around for heavy objects or furniture that could be pulled down by a young child. Make sure that television sets, computers, monitors and printers are securely positioned. Put breakable items out of the reach of young children. Push table lamps away from furniture edges and make sure that all wall units are secured.

Are cords from shades or blinds dangling? These can be dangerous to a curious toddler. Try to put breakables, plastic bags, electrical cords, cleaning products and other chemicals out of reach as well.

Check for window guards. Grandparents who live in high-rise buildings may have window guards. If not, it's important for everyone to be aware that window screens will not keep a child from falling out of a window. …

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