TAKE PRECAUTIONS TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE
Extension Specialist, Family Life Education
Cape Cod Extension
University of Massachusetts
Keeping children safe means planning ahead and taking precautions
in everyday situations. It is easy to take safety for granted
when you've done things over and over, but it only takes a single
mistake for a child to be injured.
- When bathing a small child, test water temperature by putting
your whole hand in the water and moving it around for several
seconds; if the water feels even slightly hot, it's too hot for
- Use safety belts to secure a child in a high chair, and make
sure the chair is on a level surface. Place cribs or playpens
away from windows and stairs. Remember that hand-me-down cribs
may not meet current safety standards. Make sure the mattress
fits snugly to the sides of a crib or place bumper pads in the
space so that an infant's head can't get caught in between.
- Stay with a child who is in or near water. A child can drown
in only one inch of water.
- Surround swimming pools with high fences and locking gates.
It's the law in most states!
- Keep electrical appliances away from tubs and sinks. To prevent
shocks, install ground fault circuit interrupters in bathroom
and kitchen outlets.
- Install padded carpets at the foot of all staircases.
- Replace automatic garage doors that do not reverse if lowered
onto a person or object.
- Keep portable heaters away from play areas, curtains, and
- Put pots and pans on rear burners. Turn pot handles toward
the back of the stove. Keep hot foods away from the edge of tables
and counters. Serve hot foods from counters, not from tables
with tablecloths that small children can pull.
- Keep toothpicks out of the reach of children to avoid eye
and ear injuries.
- Supervise children using the microwave oven or the range.
Food heated in a microwave oven has "hot spots" and
may feel warm on the outside but is scalding on the inside. While
containers remain cool or warm, contents may be hot enough to
burn children and adults.
- Don't smoke. Adults' cigarettes are a leading cause of childhood
burns. Keep disposable lighters out of the reach of children.
About 140 children under age five die each year as a result of
playing with these colorful, easy-to-use lighters.
- If you keep a gun in your home, keep it locked up and unloaded,
and store the bullets in a separate location. Every year about
3,000 children die in the United States as a result of gunfire
- intentionally or unintentionally. Most of these shootings involve
- Make sure children's swings, slides, and other outdoor play
equipment are maintained and in safe condition.
- Never shake an infant or young child. A young child's neck
muscles are weak, and shaking can cause brain or spinal-cord
- Don't let children play with plastic bags of any kind.
- Keep toy balloons away from young children. During a 15-year
period, 121 children suffocated after inhaling balloons. Don't
let young children blow up balloons, and don't let children chew
National Network for Child Care - NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the
National Extension Service
Children Youth and Family Educational Research Network. Permission
is granted to reproduce
these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only
(not for profit beyond the cost of
reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive acknowledgment
and this notice is
Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child
Care - NNCC.
(1993). Take precautions to keep children safe. In M. Lopes (Ed.)
CareGiver News (October, p. 4). Amherst, MA: University
Any additions or changes to these materials must be preapproved
by the author .
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University of Massachusetts at Amherst
206 Skinner Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
FORMAT AVAILABLE:: Available only on the
Level 2 - University of Massachusetts Cooperative
DOCUMENT SIZE:: 4 pages
ENTRY DATE:: November 1995
UPDATED:: May 1998