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Home Safety

Injury Prevention & Safety, Information for Health Professionals

The leading cause of injury in the home is falls. Other causes of injury in the home include burns, poisoning, drowning, choking, and suffocation. As health professionals you have an opportunity to share with your clients how to reduce or prevent falls in the home.

Key Messages

Scalds/Burns

  • Advise parents/caregiver to set the hot water temperature in their home to 49° C (120° F) (or warm) and to use lids on hot drinks, even at home.
  • Keep hot liquids away from your baby.
  • Encourage clients to visit Child Safety: Preventing Burns (MyHealth.Alberta.ca)

Poisoning & Choking

  • Parents should keep small toys, latex balloons, and household objects like coins and jewelry (e.g. amber necklaces) away from their baby.
  • Objects that fit in a toilet paper roll are choking hazards.
  • Cut blind cords or secure them out of reach.
  • Encourage clients to visit the Poisoning and Drug Information Centre PADIS
  • Encourage clients to visit Choking Prevention in Small Children (MyHealth.Alberta.ca)

Button Batteries

Advise parents to do the following:

  • Keep batteries locked up, out of reach and out of sight of children
  • Check that battery compartments of your household products are secure and not easily opened
    • Buy household products with secure battery compartments that cannot be easily opened by children
    • Use screws provided and tape to seal battery compartments
  • Supervise children when they use products containing button batteries
    • Ensure children do not play with button batteries or remove them from household products
  • Look for loose batteries on floors, tables, and counters. Dispose of batteries so that children cannot find them.
  • Store or dispose of batteries in a secure place so that children cannot gain access to them
    • Cover the ends of the battery with tape before storing and disposing.
    • Ensure button batteries are not left out, even if they are dead

When dealing with older children parents should:

  • Take care when changing button batteries in a product so that they do not get mixed in with any pills, medicine or food
  • Not let their child hold batteries in their mouth
  • Store button batteries away from food and medicine

Parents should also be aware of 20 – 25 mm lithium batteries because they can cause the most serious injury. These batteries are identified by their imprint codes, CR2032, CR2025, or CR2016. They should look for these codes on the face of the battery.

Encourage clients to visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca, for information on what to do if their child swallows a button battery.

Drowning

  • Advise clients to NEVER leave their baby unattended in, around, or near water. Baby bath seats are not a substitute for adult supervision. Bath tub rings are not recommended.
  • Babies can drown quickly and easily in less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water.
  • Drowning hazards in the home include bath tubs, toilets, sinks, and buckets.
  • Encourage clients to visit the Lifesaving Society of Alberta/NWT site

Playing

  • Babies and young children need opportunities to move around and develop their fine motor and gross motor skills.  Safe indoor environments can be a great place for the development of these motor skills.
  • Advise parents to secure heavy furniture, move playpens and cribs away from windows and secure windows with window safety devices
  • Parents should stay close to young children during play
  • Encourage clients to visit Child Safety: Preventing Falls (MyHealth.Alberta.ca)