The Coronavirus pandemic has caused quite a commotion and disruption to our community and to our world. With this comes added stress for parents and kids alike. While we all need to be aware that vigilance with handwashing, covering our cough and staying home if sick is important, we at Safe Kids Grand Forks want to add a few more reminders for parents to consider. While school is not being held in its usual fashion and kids are likely spending more time at home, keeping that environment safe for kids to live and explore is important. We know parents are likely undergoing added stress including kids being home all day, helping with school lessons and potentially working from home. Our hope is that home safety remains on their mind during this time to prevent a spike in preventable injuries. Here are a few reminders to keep families safe, not just from the Coronavirus but from the leading killer of kids ~ preventable injuries.
Hand Sanitizer Safety: Because of the concern of the Coronavirus, families are being asked to be more vigilant with handwashing and cleaning off surfaces in their homes. However, we caution parents and caregivers to not leave hand sanitizer or cleaners out and accessible to small children that learn and explore their environment by putting things in their mouth. When using these products, read the directions and follow their recommended use (are they appropriate for food contact surfaces, mouthed toys, etc.). When things are washed off, assure items and surfaces are dry before children use them and avoid spraying chemicals around children. Hand sanitizer should not be used on children under age two and children over that age should be closely supervised to assure they rub their hands until they are dry, so they don’t get it in their eyes or mouth. It is important to protect children from the chemicals, as well as the germs.
Medication Safety: Another area of concern is medication poisoning. Every 12 days in the United States, a child dies because they got into a medication and were poisoned. In fact, medications are now the number one cause of poisoning in children and they should be kept UP and OUT of REACH and SIGHT of young kids. If you need FREE locks to install on cabinets to secure your meds, contact Safe Kids Grand Forks. Also, put the Poison Control Center number in your phone, 1.800.222.1222. This number is free and available 24/7.
During this time when kids are likely to be home in a less structured environment and possibly bored or their caregivers are busy trying to work from home, be alert to other dangers kids can get into.
Additional Safety Tips:
- Put laundry and detergent pods up high and out of reach of kids.
- Install baby gates to keep small children in a safe area.
- Assure that televisions are mounted to the wall or furniture. Every 3 weeks in the US, a child dies from a TV tipping over on them. Make sure all your TVs are secure, especially the older style “tube TV’s” that are very heavy and often found on furniture with drawers (used as stairs) or ones with shelves kids can climb.
- Check the home for small items that kids can choke on such as coins, paperclips, buttons, small toy parts, etc. If an item will fall through the center of a toilet paper roll, it should not be around kids under age 3 as it may cause a choking hazard.
- Put items with button batteries up and out of reach of children.
- Assure that electrical cords are hidden or wound up.
While this time of the Coronavirus outbreak has many concerns for parents, we at Safe Kids Grand Forks stand ready to help with your home safety needs. Our office staff are working remotely but can be accessed at firstname.lastname@example.org or 701.780.1489. We also have other resources on our web page at safekidsgf.com and you can like us on Facebook at Safe Kids Grand Forks. Altru Health System is proud to serve as the lead agency for Safe Kids Grand Forks.