Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sherri's Helpful Hints

Baby Proofing the Bathroom

Bath Safety

The bathroom is full of dangers for your baby. Here are some tips to help make it a safer place:

Keep the toilet lid down, or better yet, get a guard that actually locks it. It's important to prevent it from becoming a place for water play (and a dangerous opportunity for drowning). Children are often fascinated by the action of the swirling water.

Get a soft spout cover for the bathtub. It will not only save your baby from bumps and bruises, but will also help to avoid the possibility of hot water burns from a very hot spout. As an extra safety measure, face your child away from the faucet as you bathe him or her.

Place soft, inflated tub knob covers over cold and hot handles to prevent chldren from turning on tub water, especially the hot water which might scald them.

Test the bath water on the inside of your wrist before putting your baby into the tub. Better yet, invest in a bath thermometer. When you've filled the tub, turn off the hot water before the cold, so the latter will flow through the faucet if your child does manage to to touch it.

Keep the water temperature for your house set at about 120 degrees F - hot enough to clean clothes and dishes, yet not scalding. If you have no control over the water heater, check your hardware store for anti-scald aerators. Or, retrofit a valve with a special temperature-sensitive spring called an actuator to stop the flow of scalding water.

Put non-skid appliques on the bottom of the tub to prevent slips, or use a rubber mat.

Never leave water in the tub when it's not in use. A toddler can fall in and drown in as little as 2 to 3 inches of water.

Consider using a three-legged bathtub ring seat to help keep your child secure during a bath. You might also think about using a shampoo visor if a fearful child fights hair washing vigorously.

Do not, under any circumstances, leave a child under 5 years old unattended in the tub. If you can't stand to let a phone ring, unplug it or use the answering machine. If you must leave the room for any reason, wrap your child in a towel and take him or her with you.

Medicines and Prescriptions

Medicines are usually best kept under lock and key and/or in a room other than the bathroom. Keep out of sight as well as out of reach.

Get a special locking medicine chest or use a childproof lock on your existing cabinet. Open it only to get something out and lock it again before you leave the room.

Be sure all medicines are in child-resistant containers (and that they're kept tightly closed).

Don't save old prescription medicines, and above all, don't use them for your children. Flush them down the toilet. Illnesses that may seem identical don't always require the same treatment and outdated prescriptions can do more harm than good.

Don't save prescription containers - when the medicine is gone or outdated, dispose of the bottle or box.

Overdosing on children's vitamins rates among the top phone calls received by Poison Control centers. These colorful tablets can be dangerous in large doses, especially those which are iron fortified.

Don't give over-the-counter antihistamines to children under the age of two without your doctor's approval. Babies susceptible to sleep apnea are particularly vulnerable to the sedatives in many antihistamines.

Don't take any chances giving medicine in the dark.

Don't tell your child a certain medicine is "good" or "tastes like candy". It's better to have your child squirm a little than for your child to want to have more of the "good tasting" medicine.

If your child does manage to swallow or eat any medicine, get whatever you can OUT of the mouth and call your Poison Control center or 911 immediately. Have the bottle in your hand so you can tell them what was ingested. They will also want to know your child's weight and age. Keep syrup of ipecac on hand, but NEVER use it to induce vomiting unless you are advised to do so. This is especially important if a substance swallowed is in the caustic category.

This information comes from the book "A Parent's Guide to Child Safety"

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