Tips to keep kids safe during the stay-at-home mandate
It's a challenging time for parents to stay focused now that homes have been turned into offices, schools and playgrounds. So Safe Kids NJ has come up with "A Parents Guide to Preventing Injuries During the Coronavirus Epidemic."
Carol Ann Giardelli, director of Safe Kids NJ, says when it's hard for parents to have a hundred eyes, it's important to make sure kids are playing in a safe space.
Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases. Use guards on windows to prevent falls, keep small objects and cords to window blinds out of reach of children.
Giardelli said make sure the areas kids are playing in are age-appropriate. Keep toddlers and infants away from areas where small game pieces are being spread out by older children.
She said falls are key to injury to children in the homes whether it's down a flight of stairs or on furniture. Kids are playing furniture now that they never even knew existed so it's important to prevent falls off furniture.
Television tip-overs also lead to many injuries. Make sure TVs are secured to the walls so if kids decide to climb on furniture, they won't tip the TV over, said Giardelli.
If a parent is busy sanitizing the house with cleaning products, be sure to store those cleaning products high and away from a child's reach. Also keep all medicine out of children's reach and sight, she added.
If a parent does have to drive, Giardelli said there are safety precautions to take before pulling out of the driveway. Walk all the way around a parked car to check for children. Slow down and avoid distractions when driving, especially in neighborhoods. Keep car doors and trunks locked and keep key fobs out of reach.
It's also important to stay active, but do it injury free while social distancing, said Giardelli. For example, it's great for a family to go out for a bike ride. But parents should lead by example. Wear helmets and make sure the kids are wearing helmets, too. Ride with the traffic. If a family is walking, walk while facing traffic. Put phones and headphones down when crossing the street. When crossing a street, make eye contact with drivers so everyone sees each other. Look left, right and left again before crossing the street.
Taking simple precautions and working them into busy days can help prevent injuries and keep kids safe, especially during these unprecedented times.