June is National Safety Month – a time to raise awareness about the leading causes of injuries and deaths in our homes and communities. The National Safety Council has a number of resources about topics such as accidental poisoning and motor vehicle crashes. KID wants to take this opportunity to highlight steps that caregivers can take to protect children and infants from dangerous products.
- Anchor furniture to the wall. Furniture, such as dressers and bookshelves, poses a tip-over risk for young children. In fact, in the U.S., a child is injured every 30 minutes as a result of furniture or TV tip-over incidents. Two years ago, the CPSC launched the Anchor It! campaign to encourage caregivers to anchor these products to the wall. Using anti-tip straps, brackets, or other hardware, furniture can easily and inexpensively be mounted to the wall. In addition to anchoring furniture, remove tempting objects, such as remote controls and toys, from the top of furniture, so that children are less tempted to climb.
- KID also encourages parents to register durable products such as cribs, strollers, and high chairs, with the manufacturer to receive recall and safety alerts. You can register your products via registration cards included with the product at the time of purchase, or via online registration forms. This is the only way manufacturers are required to inform you in the event of a recall.
- Create a safe sleep space. Cribs are responsible for more infant deaths than any other nursery product. When choosing a crib, check that it was manufactured after June 28, 2011, when the strongest crib standards in the world went into effect. When it comes to bedding and crib decorations, remember: #BareIsBest. Soft bedding, pillows, crib bumpers, and toys can pose a suffocation risk. In fact, Chicago, along with the states of Maryland and Ohio, has banned the sale of padded crib bumpers.
- Be safe when buying secondhand. Especially during yard sale season, secondhand products are easy to find. Before purchasing a used product, check that it hasn’t been recalled by CPSC, it meets current safety standards, and all hardware is intact. Some products are never safe to donate or buy secondhand. These include: cribs manufactured before June 28, 2011, car seats, and helmets. Car seats and helmets that have been involved in an accident will not protect adequately in the next one.
- Be safe at the playground. Playgrounds are a family favorite in the summer months, but they can pose some unique hazards. The first step is to search for playground equipment recalls at CPSC.gov. Do not let children play on recalled equipment. Dress children appropriately: jewelry, purses, scarves, and drawstring clothing can pose asphyxiation hazards, as can bike helmets. Wear helmets in the park, but remove for playing on the equipment.
Though safety should be a year-round consideration, National Safety Month is a good time to make conscious efforts to improve your own environment as well as share tips with family, friends, and neighbors. Check out kidsindanger.org for more information about dangerous products and resources for protecting your child.