Home Safety Tips for Kids & Teens
It can be nerve-wracking for parents to decide to start leaving older kids and teens at home alone. At times, while at work or out running errands, it might be a more convenient option for your family to forgo a babysitter and let your children take care of themselves at home. This is a natural part of growing up — eventually older kids need to start taking on more responsibility for themselves and their own safety. But it is also natural to worry as a parent that something might go wrong. In truth, there are unexpected hazards lurking in your home that could be potentially dangerous for your kids. For your peace of mind, and the protection of your children, we have created this list of things to remember to maintain safety at home for kids.
If your child has a big imagination, they might decide to dress up to pass the time. Hot items that Moms might commonly use, like curling irons or hair straighteners, should be unplugged and out of reach. The burns from these tools can be severe, so it is important to make sure they are not a risk for your kids while you are away.
If the kids get hungry and try to cook something on the stove or in the oven, it is naturally a fear that they could get burned or the stove might get left on. Be sure to tell your children not to touch the stove while you are gone unless they are old enough to use it safely. In case of a fire, make sure that your child knows how to use a fire extinguisher. Ensure that your fire extinguisher is up to date and working properly.
Whether you like to cook or garden, you probably have some serious tools lying around that might make child safety at home more challenging. Power tools and other yardwork tools should be stored and locked in the garage to make sure that your kids cannot access them. Similarly, sharp kitchen equipment such as scissors, knives, and peelers, should be hidden in a locked drawer or in an out of reach cabinet. Don’t forget to keep any other sharp items such as razors or box cutters out of reach as well as these are dangerous, even for adults!
Staircase railings may seem obvious, but kids like to play! Sliding down the banisters is dangerous and can pose a risk for them to fall and get hurt while you are gone. Similarly, ladders are dangerous if kids try to climb up when no one is watching them, they could fall or get crushed. Store ladders in a locked closet or your garage.
What you might not commonly see with other home safety tips is the risk of trampolines. What seems like a fun physical activity can actually cause serious injuries. A flip or fall in the wrong way could cause permanent damage. Make sure trampoline use is allowed only with parental supervision.
Wet surfaces in the bathroom can be slippery. This might seem like a tame concern, but actually, hard surfaces in the bathroom are very dangerous in the event of a fall. If, for example, your child splashes water out of the shower, they might not notice at first and slip getting out. Do your best to prevent this by adding a bath mat to soak up the water outside of the shower or tub and a non-slip suction mat on the inside of the shower too.
Swimming pools are an obvious one. But truly one of the most important. Kids, and even adults, should never swim without someone else present to watch them. To ensure your child’s safety, be sure to install a permanent pool cover with a passcode or lock access to the backyard.
Medicines, even over the counter ones, should be inaccessible to kids at all times without direct permission from parents or consulting a pediatrician. Taking the wrong dose of medicines, even seemingly harmless ones, is still very dangerous and bad for your child’s health. Just like medicine, for both kids and teens, alcohol also needs to be out of reach. Store any non-kid friendly drinks in locked cabinets.
Maybe your kid is an artist! Paint could spill and make a mess, damaging your property and exposing your child to toxic fumes. So be sure that any paints that your child used are non-toxic. That means any house paint should be locked away in a closet or the garage.
Remember, just because your child is old enough to be left alone at home does not mean that accidents won’t happen. At Coastal Kids, we are here to protect your kids at home and anywhere they go. Your passionate pediatrician can walk you through any concerns you may have about the right age to leave your child at home alone or any additional home safety tips to keep your family safe. Make an appointment at your nearest Coastal Kids location to discuss options and precautions with your pediatrician. Until then, stay safe!