Our second installment for Safety Awareness Month is a yearly checklist for sprucing the safety of your home (for you and your baby). Think spring cleaning sans the dusting.
1. Change the batteries in your smoke detector. Also, check your fire extinguisher to make sure it's not expired (they really can expire!) Even if it's not expired, get it inspected once a year by a professional. Contact your local fire department or check the yellow pages under ‘fire extinguisher.’
2. Consider investing in a carbon monoxide detector. Babies and pregnant women are most vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning, and it's good to have one in homes with gas stoves, a fireplace, central heating systems and/or gas water heaters.
3. Clean out your medicine cabinet and throw away expired medications. The ones you keep should stay locked out of reach of crawling tots.
4. Update your emergency contacts and post them somewhere visible. Make sure your list includes poison control, your family doctor, a local hospital, and your closest (proximity) friend or neighbor in of case emergencies.
4. Make sure the adults (and older children) in your family know what to do in case someone is choking. The Red Cross remains the go-to organization for this type of training, so contact them about community classes.
5. Revamp your first aid kit.Restock depleted supplies and add some new stuff for baby ailments. In addition to the usual suspects (Band-Aids, gauze, disposable gloves, etc.), include infant specific supplies to your family’s first aid kit. Some things you might add are baby thermometers, infant acetaminophen, baby vapor rub, petroleum jelly, nasal aspirator bulb, oral syringe for administrating medicine, and of course colorful less sticky Band-Aids for baby boo boos.
6. Practice your family’s emergency plans.This may be as simple as discussing what to do in certain emergencies with your partner, but if you have smaller children it could also be helpful to do a small family drill of procedure during events such as a fire, tornado, or break-in. While it may feel silly to you, a scary disaster will be much easier for children who know what to do.
7. Replace frayed or damaged electrical cords and check outlets. Go through your home and do a quick check of all your cords. After all a lot of them are hidden out of sight, so you may not know their condition until you take a look. Also, be sure that there’s only one high wattage device plugged in per outlet and that appropriate plugs have a surge protector.
8. Make sure your house number is visible so emergency service never have a problem finding you.Here's an easy one that's often overlooked. Houses without visible address markers often are more difficult to locate in an emergency. So make sure your mailbox numbers don't look weathered and hang some decorative numbers on your house-front.