(BPT) - Even in the most safety-minded homes, the most serious hazards for children can be hiding in plain sight. Know which unexpected items can be risky, and what to do to prevent an accident.
Many parents feel they know the top child proofing items to check off to keep kids safe — cover electrical outlets, lock kitchen cabinets and secure baby gates on stairs. However, there are other potential serious child safety hazards in and outside the home that sometimes can be overlooked, including windows coverings.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes, with infants and young children accidentally becoming entangled in window covering cords. CPSC, the window covering industry and consumer safety advocates all agree that only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords should be used in homes with young children.
The Best for Kids certification program launched last year by the window covering industry makes it easy for parents and caregivers to easily identify which window covering products are best suited for homes with young children.
The Window Covering Safety Council urges parents and caregivers to follow these six simple tips to help protect children from potentially hidden hazards around the home.
1. Install only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords in homes with young children. Replace window blinds, corded shades and draperies with products that are cordless or have inaccessible cords, such as those marked with the Best for Kids label certification which enables you to easily identify products best suited for young children.
2. Know your plants and which are dangerous if ingested. Make sure to keep these common plants off limits to kids: Rhododendron, Lily of the Valley, Hydrangea, Poinsettia, Purple Nightshade, Mountain Laurel, Mistletoe and Water Hemlock. If you suspect your child has ingested any type of garden plant/flower, seek medical attention right away.
3. Keep vehicles locked and keys out of reach of children. According to WebMD, even on a day when it’s only 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can increase by 30 to 40 degrees in an hour, and 70 percent of this increase occurs the first 30 minutes. Teach children that vehicles aren't safe places to play.
Prevent falling accidents from windows. As the summer heat begins to cool, it’s time to let fresh that air in the house. To prevent potential falling accidents, open windows from the top instead of from the bottom. Window guards and stoppers are strongly suggested for homes with children under the age of 11. Be sure all are firmly secured and installed properly
Anchor it! Furniture and TV tip-overs are also one of the top hidden hazards in the home, according to the CPSC, which has launched a new safety campaign aimed at reducing the number of deaths and injuries from tipping furniture and TVs.
Check before you play. Playgrounds with slides, swings, and other play items of any material that sit in sunlight can cause burns for children — even when it’s not that hot outside. Always check the equipment first and don’t let children run around barefoot. If your child does experience a burn, seek medical help immediately.
For more information on window cord safety and the Best for Kids program, visit windowcoverings.org or follow WCSC on Facebook and Twitter.
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