Parents across America agree summer is highly unusual this year. It’s caused largely by COVID-19, which is requiring many workers to telecommute, as well as the cancellation of many summer programs for children.
Stay-at-home orders have been in place for months and are likely to be extended, possibly delaying the start of school in some districts. Trying to balance work obligations and take care of children is a challenge since childcare is difficult for many families.
Even under normal circumstances, the summer is typically a dangerous time for kids. In fact, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control, 40% of all unintentional injuries among newborns to 19-year-olds occur between May and August.
Because of COVID-19, the incidence of accidental injuries at home is likely to increase. For this reason, the Olson Law Firm encourages parents to be especially vigilant. The following tips from child safety experts are intended to help families create and maintain a child-focused environment in the home.
Safety Tips to Make Your Home Safe for Kids
More than 3.4 million children are injured each year in falls, burns and other home accidents. Here are a few tips to help you plan with safety in mind when kids are in the home:
- Cut a few corners. Choose countertops, coffee tables, bookshelves, dressers and fireplace mantels with rounded edges. Add protective temporary bumpers to items that may have sharp corners.
- Make smart flooring choices. Choose hardwood floors since they promote fewer allergens than carpet or rugs. In addition, they can be easily cleaned, which makes them less likely to harbor germs. If you must have rugs or carpet, look for natural fibers to avoid exposing your child to chemicals.
- Prevent drowning. Swimming pools aren’t the only potential water hazards. Young kids can easily drown in a few inches of water in the bottom of a bucket or a bathtub. Install locks on toilets. Never leave young children alone in the bathtub. Empty water from sinks, bathtubs, buckets and kiddie pools promptly. Use self-closing latches on pool fences. Install an alarm and security cameras in your pool area.
Ways to Keep Your Family Safe and Healthy During COVID-19
Virtually every inch of a home is fraught with potential danger if you have young kids. Perform a room-by-room safety audit to help you prevent child injuries. Get on your hands and knees and view each room through the eyes of your child, imagining what young kids might find intriguing.
The following list compiled by Country Classics may help you identify hazards:
- Living Room, Den, Family Room – Install outlet covers, add non-slip rug pads or anchor rugs under furniture and install window guards to prevent falls.
- Laundry Room – Store laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach and other items out of the reach of your kids. Be aware that detergent pods can be mistaken for candy by young children. Use locking features on your washer and dryer.
- Garage – This is a particularly hazardous area. Keep anti-freeze, oil, tools and other dangerous substances and objects in locked cabinets. Unplug power tools when you finish using them and place them beyond reach. Make sure your garage door offers automatic stops that prevent a child from being crushed.
- Bedrooms – Window guards are a must in bedrooms. Be aware that kids see dressers, chests and bookcases as the perfect “ladder” to help them climb. Use anchoring straps to securely attach furniture to walls.
- Kitchen – Keep cleaning supplies and spices in upper cabinets, even if you use cabinet locks. Unplug small appliances when not in use. Try a stove guard to prevent your child from touching a hot stovetop. Install covers on stove and oven knobs. Add a childproof door latch to your refrigerator and freezer.
How to Make Your Family Feel Safe
Parents need to be prepared for emergencies. Keep a list of emergency information handy, including the Poison Control number – 800-222-1222. Learn CPR and basic first aid.
In addition, the experts at Saint Luke’s Hospital encourage parents to keep the following tips in mind to ensure children are safe:
- Avoid using a baby walker with wheels due to danger around stairs.
- Install hardware-mounted gates at the top of stairs.
- Don’t clutter stairs with items that could become trip hazards.
- For playpens, make sure sides don’t pose a safety risk. Slats should be less than 2 3/8 inches apart.
- Keep kitchen knives, scissors and other sharp utensils out of a child’s reach.
- Cook on back burners whenever possible. Keep handles of pots and pans turned toward the back of the stove.
- Keep a working fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
- Set your hot water heater at 120 degrees F or lower to prevent scalding.
- Never leave a baby unattended on a changing table.
- Keep cords for drapes and blinds out of a child’s reach.
- Put away matches and lighters.
- Don’t keep a firearm anywhere in the house. If you must, lock up all gun-related items. Store the gun and ammunition separately.
Get Legal Help If You and/or Your Child Have Been Injured
As a parent, it’s vital for you to know how to prevent child injuries and act proactively to do so. This is especially true during the current pandemic when you may be called upon to work from home. Without a reliable sitter, you may find yourself torn between caring for your children while being responsive to your work colleagues.
The Olson Law Firm can provide much-needed guidance and representation if a child injury occurs due to someone else’s negligence. This is an area of the law that requires experience and sensitivity. Sean Olson has amassed a team of passionate advocates who can give you the peace of mind you’re missing.
During this difficult time when we’re all dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, the Olson Law Firm is available to meet with you at your convenience. We offer video conference services such as:
We can meet with you remotely and get started on your case immediately, without having to talk in person. Your initial consultation is free. Contact us now.