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Top 10 Hazards at Home and Daycare

As a parent or caregiver, creating a safe environment for children is paramount. Whether at home or daycare, it's crucial to be aware of potential hazards that could harm children and take proactive steps to prevent accidents. Here are the top 10 hazards to watch out for, along with solutions to keep the little ones safe.

1. Falls: Falls are a leading cause of injury among children. This mainly happens due to an increased head-to-body weight ratio and lack of full control of fine and gross motor skills. Ensure that stairways are gated, windows are secured, and furniture is stable. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and window guards to prevent falls from windows. An important reminder - letting children trip and fall in ways that create an "ouchie" is very important so children understand that some silly walking or jumping too much can also cause harm.

2. Choking and Suffocation: Small objects, plastic bags, and toys with small parts can pose choking hazards. Keep small objects out of reach, cut food into small, manageable pieces, and avoid placing pillows or soft bedding in cribs. Daycares (as Next Gen), should keep small toys away from children's reach and their use can only happen while being supervised by an educator.

3. Burns and Scalds: Hot liquids, stoves, and heaters can cause burns. Set water heaters to a safe temperature, use stove knob covers and keep children away from hot appliances. Teach children about the dangers of hot objects. At Next Gen, we create house rules and put signs everywhere to warn children of potential hazards.

4. Poisoning: Household cleaners, medications, and chemicals should be stored out of reach and in locked cabinets. At home, store medicine in a safe location, where children do not have access. Keep the Poison Control Center number handy (1-800-332-1414) and educate caregivers about poison prevention.

5. Drowning: Even a small amount of water can be dangerous for young children. Never leave children unattended near water, including bathtubs, buckets, and pools. Install pool fences and use approved life jackets.

6. Strangulation: Blind cords, electrical cords, and drawstrings on clothing can pose strangulation risks. Keep cords out of reach or use cordless blinds, and remove hood and neck drawstrings from children's clothing.

7. Sharp Objects: Knives, scissors, and other sharp objects should be stored securely and out of reach of children. Use safety locks on drawers and cabinets where these items are stored.

8. Furniture Tip-Overs: Unsecured furniture, such as bookcases and dressers, can tip over and injure children. Anchor furniture to the wall using brackets or straps to prevent tip-overs.

9. Electrical Hazards: Exposed outlets and electrical cords can be dangerous. Cover outlets with safety plugs, secure cords out of reach, and teach children not to play with electrical devices.

10. Inadequate Supervision: Lack of supervision can lead to accidents. Ensure that children are always supervised by a responsible adult or caregiver, especially around hazardous areas.

By being aware of these common hazards and taking proactive measures to prevent them, you can create a safer environment for children both at home and in daycare. Regularly review safety measures and educate caregivers about potential risks to keep children safe from harm.

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