If you’re planning a holiday party or celebration this season, you may also be planning to hire a babysitter. In the absence of parental supervision, children face a greater risk of personal injuries. Before you leave your kids at home with a sitter this season, take a minute or two to review this downloadable Babysitter Safety Inspection Checklist, courtesy of the American Red Cross. Double checking the following items will help ensure that your holiday season isn’t ruined by a preventable injury:
"To Prevent Wounds:
- Guns, ammunition, knives, hand tools, power tools, razor blades, scissors and other objects that can cause injury are stored in locked cabinets or locked storage areas.
To Prevent Falls:
- Discourage use of chairs or stools to reach anything high up.
- Safety gates are installed at all open stairways.
- Windows and balcony doors have childproof latches.
- Balconies have protective barriers to prevent children from slipping through bars.
- The home is free of clutter on the floors and especially on or near stairways.
To Prevent Poisoning:
- Potential poisons like detergents, polishes, pesticides, car care fluids, lighter fluids, and lamp oils are stored in locked cabinets and are out of reach of children.
- Houseplants are kept out of reach.
- Medicine is kept in a locked storage place that children can’t reach.
- Child-resistant packaging is re-closed securely.
To Prevent Burns:
- Safety covers are placed on all unused electrical outlets.
- Loose cords are secured and out of the way. Multi-cord or octopus plugs are not used. (They may overheat and cause fires.)
- At least one approved smoke alarm is installed and operating on each level of the house.
- Space heaters are placed out of the reach of children and away from curtains.
- Flammable liquids are securely stored in their original containers.
- Matches and lighters are stored out of reach of children.
- Garbage and recycling materials are stored in covered containers.
- The children in the house know and have practiced a Family Fire Escape Plan.
To Prevent Drowning:
- Swimming pools and hot tubs are completely enclosed with a barrier, such as a locked fence, gate and cover.
- Wading pools and bathtubs are emptied when not in use.
- The toilet seat and lid are kept down when not in use.
- The bathroom door is kept closed at all times.
- Stay within an arm’s length of a child in any situation involving water.
- 5-gallon buckets or other containers with standing water are securely covered or emptied of water.
To Prevent Choking and Other Breathing Dangers
- The toy box has ventilation holes, and if it has a lid, it is a light-weight removable lid, a sliding door or panel, or a hinged lid with a support to hold it open.
- The crib mattress fits the inside of the crib snugly and toys, blankets and pillows are removed from the crib.
- Always put an infant on his or her back (not the stomach) and in a crib to sleep.
- Small objects are kept out of children’s reach."
Previously on the DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
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