Kids can strangle or become entrapped in the most unexpected
ways - even cords, strings on clothing, and infant furniture and
accessories can be dangerous.
Avoiding Potential Hazards
You can protect your child from strangulation and entrapment by
avoiding potential hazards and modifying certain household
- Don't put necklaces or headbands on your baby.
- Don't dress your child in clothes with drawstrings, which
can get caught on play equipment and furniture and strangle your
child. Cut all drawstrings out of hoods, jackets, and waistbands
in your child's wardrobe. Cut strings off mittens.
- Don't leave a child alone in a stroller - a child could
slide down and trap his or her head.
- Don't use cribs with cutouts in the headboard or
- Bunk beds should have only a narrow space between the
guardrail and the mattress.
- Don't tie a pacifier around your baby's neck or
tether it to your baby's clothing with a ribbon or piece of
- Don't hang diaper bags or purses on cribs - a baby can
become entangled in the straps or strings.
- Remove your infant's bib before naptime and bedtime.
- Don't let long telephone cords dangle to the floor.
- Don't use old accordion-style gates - these can trap a
- Tie all window blind and drapery cords, or cut the ends and
attach safety tassels.
- Fit the inner cords of blinds with cord stops.
- Remove mobiles from cribs once the child is able to stand or
sit up without help. Clip strings or ribbons off other crib
- Make sure strings on crib bumpers are no longer than 6 inches
- Make sure crib slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches (6
centimeters) apart; anything wider can trap a child's
- Choose a toy chest without a lid.
If you're expecting a baby or already have kids, it's
- Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the
age-appropriate Heimlich maneuver.
- Keep the following near the phone (for yourself and
- toll-free poison-control number: (800) 222-1222
- child's doctor's number
- parents' work and cell phone numbers
- neighbor's or nearby relative's number (if you need
someone to watch other children in an emergency)
- Make a first-aid kit and keep emergency instructions
- Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Maintaining a Safe, Kid-Friendly Environment
To check your childproofing efforts, get down on your hands and
knees in every room of your home to see things from a child's
perspective. Be aware of your child's surroundings and what
might be potentially dangerous.
Completely childproofing your home can be difficult. If you
can't childproof the entire house, you can shut the doors (and
install doorknob covers) to any room a child shouldn't enter to
prevent wandering into places that haven't been properly
childproofed. For sliding doors, doorknob covers and childproof
locks are also great for keeping little ones from leaving your
home. Of course, how much or how little you childproof your home is
up to you. Supervision is the very best way to help prevent kids
from getting injured. However, even the most vigilant parent
can't keep a child 100% safe at all times.
Whether you have a baby, toddler, or school-age child, your home
should be a haven where your little one can explore safely.
After all, touching, holding, climbing, and exploring are the
activities that develop your child's body and mind.
Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2007
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice,
diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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