It has been a while as grandparents that we have had small children or young children of our own. We remember all the pitfalls of danger that a child can wander into, but have we gotten lax about the dangers that may lurk around our house now that we don’t have to actually baby proof it any more?
The kids have grown, gone off to college, maybe married or just moved into their own place. So, it has been approximately 20 years since we had toddlers. In that time, we no longer felt the need to put everything dangerous up and out of the way.
Then along comes the grandchildren, and once again we have a small child visiting our home quite frequently. This makes it time to childproof again.
If you can’t put the dangerous supplies, i.e. bleach and other cleaners up and out of the way, there are now great products on the market that are simple to apply to cabinet doors and/or drawers that make it impossible for the toddler to open them, but allow ease for the adult.
The following information is taken from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and can apply not only in your Columbus, Ohio home and area, but anywhere.
The end of outdoor swimming and pool season doesn’t mean the end of drowning dangers for young children. After pools, more children drown in bathtubs than in any other product in and around the home.
For 2003-2005, CPSC staff received reports of an average of 90 children younger than 5 years of age who drowned in bathtubs (62%), baby seats or bathinettes (15%), buckets and pails (11%), landscaping or yard products (6%), and other products (4%). There was an annual average of an additional 39 reports of non-fatal submersion incidents for 2005-2007 that were reported for the same products. The majority of rownings and non-fatal submersion incidents involved children younger than 2 years old.
“What parents need to know is that anywhere there is water, there is a potential drowning hazard to children,” said Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC Chairman. “Parents shouldn’t let their guard down; young children need constant supervision around bathtubs, bath seats and buckets.”
Many of the reported incidents involved a lapse in supervision by caregivers, such as leaving the bathroom momentarily while the child was in the bathtub to answer the phone/door or to retrieve an item like a towel. In other incidents, an older sibling was left to watch a younger sibling.
CPSC recommends parents and caregivers follow these safety tips when children are around bathtubs, bath seats, buckets, spas, or decorative ponds or fountains:
• Never leave young children alone, even for a moment, near any water. Young children can drown quickly in even small amounts of water.
• Always keep a young child within arm’s reach in a bathtub. If you must leave, take the child with you.
• Don’t leave a baby or toddler in a bathtub under the care of another young child.
• Never leave a bucket containing even a small amount of liquid unattended. Toddlers can fall headfirst into buckets and drown. After using a bucket, always empty and store it where young children cannot reach it. Don’t leave buckets outside where they can collect rainwater.
• Learn CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). It can be a lifesaver when seconds count.
The figures cited above and other data on non-pool and non-spa submersion incidents can be found in CPSC’s 2008 Submersions Related to Non Pool and Non Spa Products (PDF), which includes the latest available data: fatalities for 2003-2005 and non-fatal incidents for 2005-2007. Fatality and injury data differ due to a lag in reporting fatalities. Pool and spa related injuries and fatalities are presented in other submersion reports. For more information, see: www.cpsc.gov/library/data.html
As grandparents, we have all been there with raising children so this post is simply a reminder of just some of the ways children within a short time frame can wander into danger.
As always, when the granchildren visit, have a safe, fun and adventurous day, and keep the camera ready for those joyful smiles.