Best Child Safety Tip of All: Always Expect the Unexpected!

Father swims across body of water with his daughter. Although he is obviously a competent swimmer, he has fitted the young girl out with a life jacket, should anything go wrong with the swim.

Child safety is a broad topic that only gets bigger as the children grows older. Below, we offer both general and specific child safety tips.
Here are a few key child safety tips that every parent needs to know, preferably before you take on this awesome but highly rewarding responsibility. Here are general child safety tips:

1. Monitor, monitor, monitor–Monitoring everything about your children is probably the key child safety tip. If you are not watching and looking after them, then another trusted person needs to be specifically assigned the task. No “assuming” the child is being watched. We know of a child drowning where a young boy three years old drown in a pool at a family reunion. The mother and father each assumed the other was watching the child. The father said later that he had just taken his eyes off of the child for a moment, but that was all it took…a child can drown in 2 inches of water. Beside the mother and father, there were 42 family members standing around the pool at the party when the child drown in the pool.

2. Know your childcare personnel– From the person who takes care of the child all day to the once-a-month babysitter. Many people, it is said, will spend more time planning their vacation than evaluating a new child care person. Don’t be one of them! Be very involved in evaluating and hiring all child care people. The editor of this section was fortunate enough to have an exceptional childcare person for much of the children’s youth. When that childcare person moved on to new jobs, she used the editor as a reference. Although she quickly found a new job, no one ever called to check her reference.

3. Look at everything in your home and the homes and other places you visit for anything dangerous to a child–It could be exposed electrical outlets, open windows without gates in apartment buildings, ornery pets, sharp edges on table corners, a swimming pool, steep stairs or choking hazards. And if the child will spend any time at grandma’s, you need to look over her house as well and maybe add plastic protectors to the electrical outlets and take other safety measures. If grandma protects, don’t leave the child with her.

4. Be aware of tip-over threats–There is a section on this page that covers tip-over threats in the home but these threats increases as you go out into the world. If you have a highly active child or two active children who are always wrestling each other, they could easily tip over precariously stacked merchandise. Imagine the danger in a home center, for example, where bricks or bathroom vanities or toilets or lumber are thoughtlessly stacked.

5. Be watchful in your neighborhood of who is around and when. Is there someone without children lingering in the the children’s playground? Why? Are there child predators living nearby? Is there a way for you to check? If the child is a little older, who are the people running the sports teams or the scouting groups? Are they reliable? How do you know they are?

6. Never drink or take drugs and drive–This is doubly true when there are children in the car…and remember, even if you don’t have children in your car, there will be children in other cars on the road do don’t drink and drive…period! Going to a party where there will be drinking? Consider appointing or volunteering to be the designated driver for that evening and sticking to club soda.

7. No aggressive driving ever, but especially when the children are in the car–If there seems to be a lot of times that you get angry on the road, you need to take an anger management course! It’s not everyone else on the highway who is an asshole–look in the mirror! Don’t risk your kids.

8. Avoid driving with your children when you are tired, hungry or emotionally upset–If you are any of these things, stop the car to eat or take a nap. If you are emotionally upset, kick the tires or go for a walk.

9. Don’t use a cell phone or text message in a car every, but especially when there are children in the car–Distracted drivers are as dangerous, according to research as drunk drivers.

10. Be prepared for emergencies because they will come–If you have little ones, learn CPR, have knowledge of First Aid, be competent to handle choking emergencies. Have the numbers of hospitals and agencies to get help immediately if you need it. Have all of your medical insurance cards handy in case you need to leave the house fast. Have a First Aid Kit in your car for emergencies.

11. Make sure the child is up to date on all shots.

12. Make sure your house is secure–Can an intruder surprise you while you are asleep? If so, get a noisy little small dog or an alarm system to sound an alarm. Have your phone by your bed–land line and cell phone (in case the land line is cut by an intruder). If you have an alarm system, install a panic button by your bed to bring the alarm company and police when you need them. Have a “safe room” in your house where you and the family can flee to in case of an intruder until the police arrive.

13–Be watchful when your child is near a body of water: a child can drown in a 2-inch-deep body of water. Be watchful every moment around swimming pools of all types, from the small of small wading pools to large commercial pools.

14–Do not have guns or other weapons in the home that can be accessed or tampered with by anyone.

15–Be focused when crossing streets with children. Little kids can dart into traffic in a heartbeat. Even good, watchful parents need to be very careful in this situation.

16. Expect the unexpected at all times..and we leave you with one example: it was a beautiful summer day and the family was out picnicking in a state park with barbecue going. Two children–ages 2 and 4 years old–and two parents were together all within 15 feet of each other. The four-year-old was running around can came back to his parents to report that he had just “jumped over a stick.” He went back and jumped over the stick again and this time came back to tell us but to also report that the “stick was moving.” The mother leaped up, grabbed both children off of the ground as the father went over to the moving stick. It was a four-foot long copperhead snake! Expect the unexpected!

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