November is Child Safety and Protection Month
The safety of our children is something that we should always be vigilant about. As children grow and change, they require different levels of protection and November, Child Safety and Protection Month, is a good reminder for us to check the safety and protection devices and plans we have in place for our children.
Vehicle Safety: The state of Montana requires that ALL children MUST be riding in and correctly using an appropriate child safety restraint system. Children under age six and weighing less than 60 pounds must be in a car seat or booster seat; older children must be wearing a seat belt. Individuals that do not provide or use child restraints can be fined or even charged with child endangerment. If you have questions about child safety seats or would like help correctly installing your child’s car seat, please call and leave a message with Mary Kay Burns at CCHD at 791-9270 or visit CCHD’s Safe Kids Cascade County program online.
Safety at Home: There may be child hazards even in your own home. Avoid more common childhood injuries and accidents by following these steps:
- Have bright lights installed on your stairs and landings.
- Keep walkways and areas near stairs free of clutter. Designate a space for your children to keep their toys, and enlist their help when picking them up and putting them away.
- Keep cleaners, medications and other potentially harmful substances out of reach of children.
- Use child safety locks on cabinets.
- Have the number for the Poison Control Center readily available (1-800-222-1222).
Fires and Burns
- Test smoke alarms regularly.
- Hold drills with your children so they know what to do in case of fire.
- Stay by the stove when you are cooking to dissuade children to touch hot burners or open ovens.
- Use back burners and turn pot handles towards the back of your stove.
- Keep your hot water heater set at 120°F.
Choking and Suffocation
- Keep coins, latex balloons and hard round foods where children cannot see or touch them.
- Place babies to sleep on their backs. Don’t place pillows, blankets, comforters or soft toys in cribs with babies.
Supervision: Children are active explorers of their environment. No matter how safe we try to keep our home, our children may find things that could potentially lead to accidents or injury. The greatest step we can take to keeping our children safe is supervising them. Adults must be proactive in child safety. Consider ahead of time what dangers your child may be in, and don’t wait until a dangerous situation occurs to deal with it. Think and plan ahead to keep your child safe!
For more information on child safety and protection topics, visit the National Network for Child Care. CCHD’s Family Services Division can provide you with many more tips on how to keep your children safe and healthy. Call 454-6950 and ask to speak with a Maternal Child Health or Parents as Teachers staff member.