Preventing 5 Common Home Injuries

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Preventing 5 Common Home Injuries
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Home Safety: Preventing Burns, Cuts, and More

Home Safety: Prevent Choking and Suffocation

Choking is the third leading cause of unintentional injury and death in children under age 1. Sixty percent of nonfatal choking episodes that wind up in emergency departments are related to food (and 20% of these are related to candy).

Keep children safe with strategies such as these:
  • Do the “toilet tube” test. Babies and toddlers like to put things in their mouths. Anything that can fit through a toilet tube -- coins, marbles, buttons, jewelry, uninflated balloons -- is a choking risk. Keep items that don’t pass the test away from children.
  • Do house checks often. Look under beds, on top of shelves, and in between sofa cushions for stray bottle caps, nails, safety pins, erasers, refrigerator magnets, broken crayons, and other small items that are choking hazards.
  • Watch your children at mealtime. Teach children to chew and swallow their food before talking, laughing, or getting up to move around. Ideally, children under age 4 should not eat small, round, or firm foods unless they are chopped completely. Foods such as hot dogs, carrot sticks, and grapes should be cut them into very small pieces. Food with seeds or pits, nuts, hard candy, and chewing gum can also be choking hazards.
  • Help baby sleep safely. Baby cribs should hold only one thing besides a mattress and snugly fitted sheet -- baby. No pillows, toys, comforters, or blankets. Always place babies to sleep on their backs. Make sure there are no ribbons or strings dangling above or in the crib. All spaces between the bed frame and the headboard, footboard, or guardrail should be less than 3.5 inches wide. Slats should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart.
  • Keep strings out of sight. Remove drawstrings from children’s clothing. Tie up window cords well out of children’s reach.
  • Be vigilant about plastic bags. Get rid of dry-cleaning and shopping bags immediately. Keep household plastic bags out of reach.
  • Be toy smart. When buying toys, follow the age recommendations on the packaging. Check toys frequently for loose or broken parts. Take squeakers out of squeeze toys because they are also choking hazards.


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