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Household Safety: Preventing Cuts

It's common for kids to get scrapes and cuts on the playground, but they can be protected from sharp and dangerous items around and outside the home.

Here are some important ways to protect kids from injuries from sharp household objects:

  • Keep knives, forks, scissors, and other sharp utensils in a drawer with a safety latch.
  • Keep glass objects, such as drinking glasses and bowls, in a high cabinet far from reach.
  • Make sure that mirrors are securely attached to the wall.
  • Keep paper shredders out of the reach of small children.
  • Store appliances with sharp blades (like blenders or food processors) far from reach or in a locked cabinet.
  • Keep babies and toddlers a safe distance away when you load and unload the dishwasher to prevent them from grabbing sharp utensils or glassware that could break. (You might want to use a dishwasher lock at other times.)
  • If possible, keep the kitchen garbage can behind a cabinet door with a safety latch.
  • If you use a razor to shave, keep it in a locked cabinet in the bathroom. Be sure extra blades are stored in a safe place, along with nail scissors and other sharp personal or grooming instruments.
  • Store all tools, including those used for gardening, automotive, and lawn care, out of reach or in locked containers.
  • If you recycle glass and metal in your home, keep the recycling containers far from reach to prevent cuts and possible poisoning from substances still left in containers.
  • Make sure swing-set and outdoor play equipment is free of rust, splinters, and sharp edges.

Be Prepared

If you're expecting a baby or you already have a child, it's a good idea to:

  • Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich maneuver.
  • Keep the following numbers near the phone (for yourself and caregivers):
    • toll-free poison-control number: 1-800-222-1222
    • 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 inside.
  • 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.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013