12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children
2-1/2 million children are injured or killed by hazards in the home
each year. The good news is that many of these incidents can be
prevented by using simple child safety devices on the market today.
Any safety device
you buy should be sturdy enough to prevent injury to your child,
yet easy for you to use. It's important to follow installation instructions
carefully. In addition, if you have older children in the house,
be sure they re-secure safety devices. Remember, too, that no device
is completely childproof; determined youngsters have been known
to disable them.
You can childproof
your home for a fraction of what it would cost to have a professional
do it. And safety devices are easy to find. You can buy them at
hardware stores, baby equipment shops, supermarkets, drug stores,
home and linen stores, and through mail order catalogues.
Here are some child
safety devices that can help prevent many injuries to young children.
The red numbers correspond to those on the image following the text.
Use Safety Latches and Locks for
cabinets and drawers in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas to
help prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety latches and locks
on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access
to medicines and household cleaners, as well as knives and other
Look for safety latches and locks
that adults can easily install and use, but are sturdy enough to
withstand pulls and tugs from children. Safety latches are not a
guarantee of protection, but they can make it more difficult for
children to reach dangerous substances. Even products with child-resistant
packaging should be locked away, out of reach; this packaging is
Typical cost of a safety latch or
lock: less than $2.
Use Safety Gates to help prevent
falls down stairs and to keep children away from dangerous areas.
Safety gates can help keep children away from stairs or rooms that
have hazards in them. Look for safety gates that children cannot
dislodge easily, but that adults can open and close without difficulty.
For the top of stairs, gates that screw to the wall are more secure
than "pressure gates."
New safety gates that meet safety
standards display a certification seal from the Juvenile Products
Manufacturers Association (JPMA). If you have an older safety gate,
be sure it doesn't have "V" shapes that are large enough for a child's
head and neck to fit into.
Typical cost of a safety gate: $13
Use Door Knob Covers and Door Locks
to help prevent children from entering rooms and other areas with
possible dangers. Door knob covers and door locks can help keep
children away from places with hazards, including swimming pools.
Be sure the door knob cover is sturdy
enough not to break, but allows a door to be opened quickly by an
adult in case of emergency. By restricting access to potentially
hazardous rooms in the home, door knob covers could help prevent
many kinds of injuries. To prevent access to swimming pools, door
locks should be placed high out of reach of young children. Locks
should be used in addition to fences and door alarms. Sliding glass
doors, with locks that must be re-secured after each use, are often
not an effective barrier to pools.
Typical cost of a door knob cover:
$1 and door lock: $5 and up.
Use Anti-Scald Devices for faucets
and shower heads and set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees
Fahrenheit to help prevent burns from hot water. Anti-scald devices
for regulating water temperature can help prevent burns.
Consider using anti-scald devices
for faucets and showerheads. A plumber may need to install these.
In addition, if you live in your own home, set water heater temperature
to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help prevent burns from hot water.
Typical cost of an anti-scald device:
$6 to $30.
Use Smoke Detectors on every level
of your home and near bedrooms to alert you to fires. Smoke detectors
are essential safety devices for protection against fire deaths
Check smoke detectors once a month
to make sure they're working.
If detectors are battery-operated, change batteries at least once
a year or consider using 10-year batteries.
Typical cost of a smoke detector:
less than $10.
Use Window Guards and Safety Netting
to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks, and landings.
Window guards and safety netting for balconies and decks can help
prevent serious falls.
Check these safety devices frequently
to make sure they are secure and properly installed and maintained.
There should be no more than four inches between the bars of the
window guard. If you have window guards, be sure at least one window
in each room can be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens
are not effective for preventing children from falling out of windows.
Typical cost of a window guard or
safety netting: $8 to $16.
Use Corner and Edge Bumpers to help
prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and
fireplaces. Corner and edge bumpers can be used with furniture and
fireplace hearths to help prevent injuries from falls or to soften
falls against sharp or rough edges.
Be sure to look for bumpers that stay
securely on furniture or hearth edges.
Typical cost of a corner and edge
bumper: $1 and up.
Use Outlet Covers and Outlet Plates
to help prevent electrocution. Outlet covers and outlet plates can
help protect children from electrical shock and possible electrocution.
Be sure the outlet protectors cannot
be easily removed by children and are large enough so that children
cannot choke on them.
Typical cost of an outlet cover: less
Use a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector
outside bedrooms to help prevent CO poisoning. A carbon monoxide
(CO) detector can help prevent CO poisoning. Consumers should install
CO detectors near sleeping areas in their homes. Households that
should use CO detectors include those with gas or oil heat or with
Typical cost of a carbon monoxide
(CO) detector: $30 to $70.
Cut Window Blind Cords; use Safety
Tassels and Inner Cord Stops to help prevent children
from strangling in blind cord loops. Window blind cord safety tassels
on miniblinds and tension devices on vertical blinds and drapery
cords can help prevent deaths and injuries from strangulation in
the loops of cords. Inner cord stops can help prevent strangulation
in the inner cords of window blinds.
For older miniblinds, cut the cord
loop, remove the buckle, and put safety tassels on each cord. Be
sure that older vertical blinds and drapery cords have tension or
tie-down devices to hold the cords tight. When buying new miniblinds,
verticals, and draperies, ask for safety features to prevent child
You can get window blind cord safety
information and free tassels by calling 1-800-506-4636 or visiting
Use Door Stops and Door Holders to
help prevent injuries to fingers and hands. Door stops and door
holders on doors and door hinges can help prevent small fingers
and hands from being pinched or crushed in doors and door hinges.
Be sure any safety device for doors
is easy to use and is not likely to break into small parts, which
could be a choking hazard for young children.
Typical cost of a door stop and door
holder: less than $4.
Use a Cordless Phone to make it easier
to continuously watch young children, especially when they're in
bathtubs, swimming pools, or other potentially dangerous areas.
Cordless phones help you watch your
child continuously, without leaving the vicinity to answer a phone
call. Cordless phones are especially helpful when children are in
or near water, whether it's the bathtub, the swimming pool, or the