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PARENTING: INFANT SAFETY

 


This lesson is taken from The Baby Think It Over ® Program, which is designed to help teenagers understand the full-time commitment and responsibility of parenting. The educational Program is made up of two parts, a comprehensive parenting education curriculum, and a computerized infant simulator. RealCare® Baby, the most current infant simulator, requires feeding using a bottle or breastfeeding device, changing diapers, rocking, and burping. The schedules of RealCare® Baby are based on those of real infants. Teachers and youth leaders electronically track how well the student has done with the parenting simulation. Over a million teens have used the program since 1994.

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Purpose:
To make students aware of the potential for accidents involving infants at home.

Objective: Students will be able to name at least two child safety hazards per room in a home.

Time: This information and class activity takes about 40 minutes.

Materials: Students will need paper to write on and writing utensils.

Information: The term “child proof” is not exactly an accurate term. No matter how hard a parent tries, an infant or small child may have an accident in the home. But there are things parents can to do decrease the risk of accidents and make the home is as safe as it possibly can be.

A great way to discover possible safety hazards in the home is to get down on an infant’s level and crawl around for a while! It sounds silly, but parents are often surprised when they see what kinds of things their small child could get into.

Kitchen
The kitchen is perhaps the most dangerous room in the home. Cleaning supplies, major appliances, and sharp utensils can cause accidents.

Safety tips:
  • Put child safety locks on ALL CABINETS AND DRAWERS within a small child’s reach, even before he or she can crawl well. This includes drawers and cabinets containing plastic bags, pots and pans, knives or other utensils, and small appliances.
  • Keep all vitamins and medicines out of children’s reach.
  • When taking medicine or vitamins, turn away from small children so they cannot watch you doing it. Children like to imitate their parents or older siblings.
  • Secure refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, and washer/dryer doors so children can’t pinch their fingers or crawl inside and get stuck.
  • Keep electrical cords rolled up and out of reach of little fingers.
  • Electrical outlets, even those with cords plugged into them, should be covered so children cannot stick objects into them, or unplug appliances.
  • Keep the phone numbers for poison control and emergency services in the area right next to the phone.

There are many types of child safety locks available. Most are portable, meaning they can go anywhere the parents go with their infant. Gadgets to roll up and hide up to eight feet of appliance or phone cord are also available.

Living/Dining Room
Electrical cords and outlets, vertical/horizontal blind and curtain cords, heavy furniture, and sharp edges on furniture are all safety concerns in the living room or dining room of a home.

Safety tips:

  • Keep electrical cords rolled up and out of reach of little fingers.
  • Electrical outlets, even those with cords plugged into them, should be covered so children cannot stick objects into them or unplug appliances.
  • Curtain and vertical/horizontal blind cords must be secured well out of a child’s reach. They are a strangulation hazard. Tucking them up inside the blinds is not enough--a child can shake the blind and the cord could fall down.
  • Place gates at the bottom and top of all staircases. Gates should be specifically designed for stairways. Do not use pressure gates on stairways.
  • Protect toddling and crawling infants from falls against sharp-cornered furniture and fireplace hearths. Any type of soft material can be installed over sharp corners, and there are several products on the market made specifically for that purpose.
  • Secure heavy furniture to walls. Young children can pull themselves up and climb on furniture, and it can tip over on top of them. There are several products available.

Bedroom
Heavy furniture, closet doors, and cribs can pose hazards in bedrooms.

Safety tips:

  • Use safety locks on closet doors or room doors.
  • Secure heavy furniture to walls.
  • Position cribs/beds and any other furniture away from windows. Young children can climb up, open windows, and possibly fall out. Make sure the windows have safety locks on them, or can only be opened a few inches.
  • Keep electrical cords rolled up and out of reach of little fingers.
  • Electrical outlets, even those with cords plugged into them, should be covered so children cannot stick objects into them or unplug appliances.
  • Curtain and vertical/horizontal blind cords must be secured well out of a child’s reach. They are a strangulation hazard. Tucking them up inside the blinds is not enough--a child can shake the blind and the cord could fall down.

Activity: Divide the class into several groups and give each group a sheet of paper to write on. Assign each group a room in a typical house (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, laundry room, etc.). Have the students sit in their groups on the floor and pretend they are 12 months old. Have them imagine they are in the room they were assigned, and name things that would look interesting enough to touch and explore. One group member can write down each item on the worksheet. Then they can try to think of safety tips parents might use to keep their children from getting into trouble in that room of the house. When all the groups are finished, each group can share their results with the whole class. A follow-up assignment could be a poster or brochure about a safety device that would make a room safer. Information on the poster should include a target age group, the purpose of the safety device, and price.


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