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Big Safety Tips When
Babysitting the Little Ones

Babysitting Safety TipsHolidays and summer vacations are the most popular time for grandchildren to visit. Which means you are probably stocking up on all their favorite goodies and games to keep them happily occupied.

While you're planning for activities to keep them entertained, don't forget to double check your home for safety.

I remember the first time my grandson came to visit. I had been a parent of two toddlers - 18 months apart. I was sure that the house was baby-proof. Oh, how quickly we forget!

I spent the visit running around while he discovered all of the dangers I had missed. Here are some things to check before the visit to make sure that you get to relax more than I did.

HOLIDAY DECORATIONS

Plants make beautiful decorations, but Jerusalem Cherry and Mistletoe are poisonous. Some preservatives that are used to keep the tree fresh contain nitrates. These can cause serious blood disorders if they are swallowed.

Blinking lights are sure to attract a small child. Make sure that the ones you use are the ones that stay cool when lit. Some of the small blinking lights contain toxic chemicals and none are very good for the stomach!

While we're discussing things electric - get some of those safety plugs for the unused outlets to keep fingers and other objects from being "plugged in."

Glass ornaments should be hung high enough that they can't be removed by curious youngsters. The angel hair, tinsel and small plastic ornaments can cause choking and if they make it past the windpipe, they are not on any list of recommended foods for children.

TOY SAFETY

The American Academy of Pediatrics also posts these guidelines for safe holiday gifts:

  • Follow recommended age ranges on toy packages.

  • Toys that are too advanced could be a safety hazard for younger children.

  • Check the size of the toy and make sure there are no parts that could be swallowed.

  • Before buying a toy or allowing your child to play with a toy that he has received as a gift, read the instructions carefully.

  • If the toy is appropriate for your child, show him how to use it properly.

  • Children under age 3 can choke on small parts contained in toys or games and balls with a diameter of one and three-quarters of an inch or less.

  • Children under age 8 can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons.

  • Watch for strings that are more than 12 inches in length. They could be a strangulation hazard for babies.

DANGER AREAS

The bathroom and kitchen are especially hazardous to small children. All cleaning materials and medications must be safely stored. Don't imagine your grandchild is not inventive enough to open a close cabinet door. Make sure that all cabinets are securely locked with child proof hooks.

Check your water heater to make sure that the temperature is at 120 degrees (F) and check bath water temperature before putting children in to splash around. Don't leave children alone in the bathroom. A toilet lock can make you holidays a bit less stressful. The toilet can be a deadly lure to a toddler.

Keep all pot handles turned in over the stove area and make sure that there are no cords hanging down to entice a child to pull the coffee pot or toaster down.

Once you've checked everything relax and enjoy your brilliant grandchildren!

Here are some additional sites that provide more information on child safety:

The National Safe Kids Campaign
Good advice on keeping kids safe wherever they are.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission
This site has a special area where you can check for product safety and recalls to make sure that the gifts you give are safe.

 

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