Archive | Toddler Safety Tips

Teaching Children About Strangers

Your toddler’s safety is very important and it is your responsibility as a parent to ensure that. Part of your task is to teach your toddler about strangers. This is essential so you can supply your toddler with the knowledge and skills he will need to safeguard himself in dangerous circumstances. Here are some simple tips for teaching children about strangers.

Provide A Definition of A Stranger

First and foremost, your toddler has to understand what a stranger is. A stranger is an individual your toddler does not know. However, you also have to teach your little one to understand that there are good strangers. Good strangers are people he can turn to if he needs help, is lost or scared such as security guards, police officers, teachers and store clerks. Aside from those people, any individual he does not know is a stranger.

Teach Your Toddler Rules

Discuss with your toddler stranger danger safety by teaching him the following rules –

•    Grown-ups who need help should ask another grown-up.
•    It is okay to talk to a stranger if a trusted adult is with him or if you say it is okay.
•    Never tell someone your name or where you live.
•    Do not accept candies or anything that is being offered to you if you do not know the person.
•    Never answer the door.
•    Never go with a stranger no matter what the stranger tells you.
•    If a stranger comes too close, he should run or shout as loudly as possible.

Show Your Toddler What To Do

Teach your little one that whenever a stranger comes close to him no matter what the reason is, he should hold up both hands in front of him and scream, “Stop!” as loudly as he can. If the stranger continues to come forward, the child should yell again, “No!” and “I do not know you!.”. If your toddler is within arm’s reach of the stranger, he should run and yell as loudly as he can. Generally, this action will alert any individual in the area and help ensure the safety of your toddler.

Practice Makes Perfect

Teaching children about strangers will not be effective if they do not practice it. Give your toddler different scenarios. For instance, “You are busy playing at the park while mommy is busy pushing your little sister on the slide when suddenly a friendly woman you do not know walks up to you and gives you a candy. What should you do?”. Role playing is an ideal way to test your toddler’s stranger awareness. The more your toddler practices, the more aware and confident he will feel, the lesser he will be scared when faced with such situation.

Use Different Resources To Teach Your Toddler About Strangers

Teaching children about strangers does not have to be boring. Read books together with a stranger theme. Try books such as “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Berenstein Bears Learn About Strangers”. After reading, discuss the story. Ask questions such as “What would you do if a stranger approaches you?”, how he felt and what he learned from the story. Rent or purchase DVDs about stranger awareness. Provide your little one printable coloring pages or activity sheets (visit Activity Village) to emphasize concepts.

Buddy System

Talk to your toddler about the significance of always having a buddy with him, whether he is playing or walking. Ask your little one to draw two people on a piece of paper. Have him write how each person on the paper can help the other if a stranger approaches. Let your toddler know that a buddy can always ask for help if something happens to them.

Teach Your Toddler To Stay Close To You

Another way of teaching children about strangers is to instruct your little one to hold your hand or stay within your visual range whenever the two of you are in a public place. Better yet, strap your toddler into his stroller if he likes to wander from place to place.

Have Your Toddler Memorize His Contact Information

Help your toddler write his name, emergency contact number and address in an index card. Encourage him to practice saying it aloud. Memorizing contact information would be very helpful for your toddler in case he ever needs access to it.

Toddlers should be taught stranger danger safety as early as possible. These safety measures will teach your toddler how to react when dealing with this type of situation.

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Fire Safety Tips For Children

Fire safety is a subject rarely discussed by parents to their children. Toddlers are explorers and there is a huge possibility that they will find themselves playing with fire. This simple guideline about fire safety tips for children can help parents keep their children well-informed and out of danger.

Educate Your Toddler

The number one fire safety tip for children is to make sure a toddler understands that fire is for grown-ups. Fire is bright and it flickers which will most likely grab your toddler’s attention. As soon as you detect that your toddler has any inkling of an interest in fire, be sure to tell your little one that fire is not a toy for children, he should not play with fire and that fire is something that adults use to heat things and cook with. See to it you stress the fact that fire can burn and is very hazardous. When explaining this to your toddler, make sure you use words that your toddler can comprehend. Use words from his own vocabulary such as “boo boo”, “hot” and “ouch” to let your toddler know that fire will hurt him if he touches it.

Keep Fire Sources Out of Reach

Out of sight, out of mind. This adage is especially true when it comes to fire. Children are very inquisitive by nature so despite your best efforts to educate your toddler about the dangers of fire, he may get the urge to test it out for himself. To ensure this does not happen, put fire sources where your little one cannot gain access to. Cover outlets that are not in use. Keep electrical wires secured. Keep the fireplace covered with a screen. Stash matches, lighters and candles in a drawer with a lock.

Explain The Use of Smoke Detectors

A home with a smoke alarm cuts the risk of dying in a fire in half. Teach your toddler about smoke detectors – why they are important, how they work and what sound they make. Toddlers should be able to link the sound going off with a fire as part of fire safety for children.

Develop An Escape Plan

It is very important for every family to have an escape plan in case of fire. Find two ways out of every room in case one way is obstructed by fire or smoke. Practice escaping by both routes to make sure windows are not trapped and screens can be taken out easily. In addition, choose a meeting place outside such as a big tree or the house across so you will know that everyone has gotten out safe and sound.

Teach Your Toddler What To Do In Case of Fire

Knowing what to do in case of fire is something toddlers have to learn early. Teach your little one to:

•    Cover his mouth and nose with a damp towel or clothing to avoid inhaling smoke while evacuating.
•    Fall and crawl under the smoke to safety.
•    Stop, drop and roll in case his clothes are on fire.
•    Test if a door is hot before opening it using the back of his hand.
•    Never hide, stop to take any belonging or make a call. He has to go outside as fast as he can.

Practice

Most importantly, practice fire drills frequently (once a month if possible). Rehearsing what to do during a fire is very essential so your little one is aware of what he has to do instead of crying for help and hiding under the bed which will only increase his chances of getting trapped in the house. To make learning about fire safety more entertaining for your toddler, why not take him to a local fire station where he can learn fire safety lessons in a fun way. Watching videos about fire safety can also encourage your toddler to practice it at home.

Be Cautious Around Fire Yourself

Children learn by example and there is no better way you can instil fire safety awareness to your toddler than by showing him that you are following preventive measures as well. You can have your toddler participate in this by asking him to give you oven mitts or help you make sure the candles are blown out before going to bed.

Do not wait until it is too late to teach your precious one about fire safety. As soon as your toddler can understand household directions, he is  ready to learn fire safety tips as well.

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Bicycle Safety Tips For Children

Your toddler’s bicycle will serve as his first vehicle and will also help him hone and strengthen his motor skills. Because your toddler will probably spend most of his time with his bike, it is important to teach him bicycle safety from the very beginning. The following are some bicycle safety tips for children.

Make Sure The Child’s Bicycle Is The Proper Size

One of the most important bicycle safety tips for children is to ensure that your toddler’s bike is properly sized. A bicycle that is too big for your toddler can be a safety hazard. To check whether your toddler’s bike is the right size for his height, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) suggests standing over the bicycle. There should be a space of 1 to 2 inches between your body and the top bar (tube) for a toddler bike. The seat must be proportionate front to back and the seat height must be adjusted so that there is a slight curve at the knee when the leg is completely extended. The handlebar must be aligned with the seat. When your toddler is sitting on the seat and clutching the handlebars, he must be able to place the balls of his feet on the ground.

Check The Bike

Before your little one hops on his bicycle, see to it that the bike is in excellent working condition. Wheels and handlebars should be tight, tires are inflated well, the brake is working and the chain fits fine and is not busted. If your new rider is still using training wheels, make sure that they are installed properly and that they still are in good order. Many bikes for toddlers are made cheaply, especially the training wheels.

Set Rules

Even if your little one will not cruise busy streets, it is still very imperative that your toddler knows bike safety rules and his limitations. Have your toddler attend a bike safety class for kids. Inform him that he is not allowed to ride his bicycle at night, without adult supervision, without a helmet and that he should always inform you before he rides his bike. Make sure you make these rules very clear.

Dress Appropriately

Another bicycle safety tip for children is to dress them in bright clothes so they can be seen by others. Do not let your toddler wear white colored clothes or a white helmet since wearing white has never been confirmed to make a person more visible. Rather, dress your little rider in bright, neon or fluorescent tops and have him wear knee pads. Avoid loose-fitting pants. The right footwear is also important. Do not let your toddler wear flip flops or sandals. Have him wear sneakers with Velcro closure. If shoes have shoelaces, see to it that you tie shoelaces securely as they may be trapped in the bike chain and cause an accident.

Always Wear A Helmet

Of course, wearing a helmet is another very essential bicycle safety tip for children.  Always make your toddler wears a helmet each time he rides his bicycle even if he only rides in the driveway or your backyard. Get your little one a well fitted bike helmet. Make sure it fits securely, has adjustable straps, does not block vision, is the correct size for your toddler’s head and has been approved by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

Keep An Eye On Your Rider

Toddlers should never be left alone while riding their bikes. There should be someone who will stay close to your toddler every time he is on his bicycle and to ensure that your toddler is riding on a smooth and even surface. Or better yet, bike with your toddler. Not only will you be able to supervise him but this also creates an opportunity to increase bonding time.

Bicycling is one of the greatest joys of childhood. So make sure to always keep these safety tips in mind to keep this activity fun, safe and healthy for your precious one.

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How To Treat Burns In Children

Burns in children are common and are classified in three degrees – a first-degree burn only involves the external layer of the skin, a second-degree burn affects the second layer of the skin, causing blistering and swelling which is very painful and a third-degree burn is the most severe as it affects the entire layer of the skin. A toddler will feel numb because the nerves on the skin are damaged. All burns require immediate action. Here are some tips to treat burns in children.

Take Immediate Action

Remove your toddler from the source of the burn as fast as possible. If his clothing is on fire, wrap him in a blanket or coat and roll him in the ground to put out the flames. For electrical burns, remove the power source with a non-metallic object (e.g. rope or wooden spoon). Never use your bare hands.

For First-degree and Minor Second-degree Burns

  • Get rid of any obstruction around the burned area.
  • Apply cool compress or cold water in the affected area for at least 20 minutes or until pain subsides. This will help stop or reduce inflammation. Do not apply butter, ice, lotion or powder to the burned area since this could exacerbate the injury.
  • Gently pat the area dry with a clean washcloth. Dab a small amount of triple antibiotic or 100% aloe vera gel (e.g. Bacitracin or Neosporin) to ease the pain and avoid bacterial infection. Cover it loosely with a non-stick sterilized bandage or gauze.
  • Give your toddler the right dose of pain reliever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce his discomfort. Never give aspirin to your toddler.
  • Change the bandage twice a day or whenever it gets dirty or wet.
  • Once the burn begins to blister, apply an antiseptic ointment over the area. Never try breaking a blister.

For Major Second-degree and Third-degree Burns

  • For major second and third-degree burns or if burn is caused by chemical substances, do not remove clothing especially if it sticks to the wound. Doing so can cause major pain to the child. Run cool water only to the burned area (to avoid hypothermia and shock) for several minutes before removing your toddler’s clothes.
  • Next, lay your toddler flat and elevate the burned areas to his chest level. Cool compress the area using a clean washcloth for 10 to 15 minutes. Again, do not apply butter, ice, powder and lotion.
  • Wrap the area with a clean, moist gauze or washcloth.
  • Call 911 or take him to the emergency room as soon as possible. Serious burns need immediate medical attention. Your toddler may need to undergo early debriding (extraction of dead skin and tissue from the affected area) and skin grafting (to fully treat a major burn).

After you have treated the injury, call the doctor if the following situations arise – your toddler has a major second-degree and third-degree burn, your toddler has stopped breathing and if the burned area is bleeding, oozing or extremely red.

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Toddler Safety – Storing Medicines Properly

Children love to explore their surroundings and they have little understanding of what is safe and unsafe, making them prone to mishaps. Medication is one safety hazard toddlers are exposed to every day. This guide will teach you how to store medicines correctly to ensure toddler safety.

Store Medications In A Locked Cabinet

The safest place to store medicine is in a high cabinet or a closet that you could lock. This way, it is out of your toddler’s sight and reach. Securing medicines may be inconvenient but it will stop your giddy toddler from climbing and jumping, preventing accidents. Also, do not place your purse, medicine pouch, diaper bag and the likes near your toddler. Out of sight, out of mind.

Use Child-resistant Safety Caps

See to it all your medicine bottles have child-resistant safety caps for extra security. However, keep in mind that child-resistant does not mean childproof. A persistent toddler can break into these caps so keep them locked and away just to be sure.

Do Not Switch Containers

Never remove the products from their original containers so you do not confuse the medicines for something else. This also allows you to easily keep track of expiration dates and instructions. Make sure each medicine bottle is accurately labelled.

Do Not Use The Bathroom Medicine Cabinet

The most hazardous place to store medicines especially when you have a toddler is the bathroom cabinet. This location is easily accessible by toddlers. Plus, the moisture and heat of the bathroom can cause medicines to lose their effectiveness before their expiration date which can be very lethal. Find a cool, dry place to store medications. A kitchen cabinet with a lock is an ideal place to stash medicines. If medications should be stored in the refrigerator, place them on the top shelf where your toddler cannot reach them, make sure your refrigerator is protected with a child safety lock and the lids are tightly closed.

Unload Medicines First

Once you get home from the grocery, always unpack the medicines first before your toddler starts rummaging through the grocery bags. Children can mistake a bottle of coated tablets or pills for candies.

Return Medicine To Its Proper Place

Make it a rule in your household to return medicines to their storage place right after taking them. Leaving medicine on the counter if you are giving your toddler another dose in a few hours may be convenient, but leaving them for your toddler to reach and consume is very unsafe.

Keep Your Toddler Informed

Most importantly, teach your toddler the importance of proper use of medicine. Refer to medicine as medicine, not as candy. Explain to your child that medicine is good but dangerous. Tell him not to play with it and that you are the only one allowed to use them.

Medicines can be a danger if used improperly. Follow these preventive measures to keep your toddle safe and sound so you can get the most from your medications!

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How To Keep Kids Safe This Winter

It is that time of year again for gifts, building snowmen, snowball fights, sledding and the flu. Having a sick toddler can take the fun out of this special season. But luckily, these tips can keep kids safe this winter.

Keep Your Toddler Warm

Keep your toddler warm by dressing him in layers. A long-sleeved shirt, pants and jacket or sweatshirt will provide adequate warmth to your little one. Do not forget to let him wear gloves, bonnet, a neck gaiter and closed shoes.

Offer Healthy Meals

A toddler who eats nutritious food has a stronger immune system. So make sure your little one is eating right by offering him full servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Foods that are immune boosters and rich in vitamins and minerals include broccoli, carrots, corn, potatoes, pepper, spinach, citrusy fruits (e.g. grapefruit, lemon, pomegranate and pomelo), fish, cereal, chicken, meat and milk.

Practice Regular Hand Washing

Regular hand washing is the simplest way to keep germs and viruses at bay. Teach your little one to wash his hands with soap and water before he eats, after he plays, uses the toilet and each time his hands are dirty. Handwashing should last for 20 seconds. Have him sing the “Happy Birthday” song so he will not get bored. Oh, and do not forget to wash your hands as well.

Get Flu Shots

It is hard to protect your toddler from cold and flu during winter season. Visit your doctor to see to it his vaccinations are up to date. Have your toddler and each member of the household vaccinated with the current flu shots.

Hydrate

Make sure your toddler takes plenty of fluids – chicken soup, milk, an electrolyte solution and water (at least 8 glasses of water each day). Having sufficient fluids into his system helps wash out toxins, keeping your little one healthy. Reduce intake of sugary and caffeinated drinks as these can cause dehydration.

Get Plenty of Rest

See to it your toddler gets enough rest. The more rest he gets, the better the chance for his body to develop a strong defense to fight off germs. An early bedtime during winter should be enforced. Encourage him to take at least 2 short naps each day.

Encourage Outdoor Play

Instead of making your toddler stay at home and watch TV or play video games, send him outside to play. Better yet, play outside with your child. He may not be able to stay out long, but at least the physical activity will get his heart pumping. Just be sure to clear your driveway and pathway first to keep accidents at bay.

Keep Your Home Clean

Moist air increases the chances of germs to breed and spread. Take time to clean your house regularly. Disinfect and keep surfaces dry as possible to avoid mold and mildew from growing.

Winter is one of the most exciting seasons for toddlers. So make sure to keep your toddler healthy and safe so he can enjoy the moment.

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Keeping Your Toddler Safe From Bites and Stings

Whatever the season, your toddler can acquire bites and stings. These can cause momentary pain and discomfort, making them a nuisance. But thankfully, you can minimize and keep your toddler safe from bites and stings. Here are some tips you should keep in mind.

Animal Bites

It has been reported that almost half of the 800,000 people who received medical attention for animal bites every year are children. Your toddler can get rabies infection if the animal that has bitten him is unvaccinated. He can get it from common house pets such as cats, dogs, guinea pigs and hamsters as well as from wild animals such as bats, coyotes and raccoons.

Prevention

  • Never leave your toddler unsupervised.
  • Make sure your house pet has been vaccinated.
  • Enroll your pet in a basic obedience training class.
  • Teach him not to touch animals, come near them (especially when they are eating and sleeping), feed them and not to make impulsive actions (putting face close to an unknown animal, hugging, kissing, pushing, squeezing ears or pinching) that may startle the animals without your permission.
  • Tell your toddler not to run if a strange animal comes near him. Teach him to stand still, avoid eye contact and to slowly back off once the animal stops paying attention to him.

Bee and Wasp Stings

Bees and wasps have a stinger that releases venom that can cause an allergic reaction which can be deadly. When stung by a bee or wasp, the stinger should be removed as soon as possible. The stinged area will look red, swollen and itchy and this can last for a few days.

Prevention

  • Dress your toddler in pastel-colored, solid clothing. Dark, brightly colored clothes or printed clothes attract bees.
  • Make sure he wears shoes when playing outside.
  • Do not use scented soaps, lotion and other body products on your little one since scent is a magnet for bees.
  • Refrain from giving your toddler a drink when outside. If you must, see to it that the drink is closed. A bee could get inside and sting him when he takes a drink.
  • Always keep your toddler close to you when outside, especially near flowers, orchards and trees.

Insect Bites

Children are very prone to insect bites. Insects (mosquitoes, spiders and ticks) are everywhere, whether your toddler is at home, at the park or at the beach. Usually, the reaction is a mild one. But, in some cases, it can lead to an allergic reaction especially if your toddler keeps on scratching his bites or if he is very sensitive to insects.

Prevention

  • Dress your toddler appropriately (long sleeves, pants, socks and closed shoes).
  • Apply insect repellent to your toddler’s clothes and the exposed skin area (except for his hands and face).
  • Get rid of any stagnant water or avoid going near woodpiles, canals, water holes and garbage areas as they are a breeding ground for insects.
  • Fix torn screens and windows in your home.
  • Clean your home regularly. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up webs, spiders, ticks and their egg sacs.
  • Teach your toddler to shake out his clothes, shoes and beddings before using them.
  • Use a natural bug killer (safe for children) to eliminate unwanted pests in and around your home.
  • Check your pet for fleas.

Yes, you can never completely safeguard your toddler from bites and stings. But, it would be very helpful if you follow preventive measures and teach your toddler what to do. Remember,  “Prevention is better than cure.”.

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Kitchen Safety For Kids Who Cook

Most children love watching and helping their parents in the kitchen. Thus, it is very important for parents to teach their toddlers the value of safe cooking. Here are some easy-to-follow tips about kitchen safety for kids.

Keep Your Kitchen Child-friendly

The kitchen is probably the most unsafe place in your home so it is good to be conscious of the hazards so you can try to minimize them. Before you start cooking with your little chef, make sure the kitchen is as safe as possible. That means:

  • The floor should be dry and free from spills and blockages to avert tripping or skidding.
  • Small appliances should be kept away from water.
  • Cover all unused outlets with plastic outlet covers.
  • Check cords to ensure they will not spark and keep electrical cords out of reach.
  • Sharp utensils and chemicals (e.g. bleach, disinfectant, detergent, etc.) should be properly put away in a safe and locked cupboard.
  • Keep pan or pot handles to the side or back of the hub to avoid burning or scalding.

Watch Your Toddler

When you are working with a toddler in the kitchen, anything can happen, so see to it that you keep a close eye on him and never leave him alone while food is cooking. Your toddler can cut himself with a knife or knock oil into the stove and start a fire when left unattended.

Provide Your Toddler Kitchen Utensils Designed For Children

Use age-appropriate cooking materials so your toddler can use them easily and safely. Use plastic or rubber utensils, measuring cups, mixing bowls and other cookware items that are lightweight. Lightweight products are safer for your little one, unlike a heavy glass bowl, when dropped, can cause disastrous kitchen accidents. Buy him a cutting board that will not skid around and kitchen knives for children like the Curious Chef Nylon Knife Set which are very safe, BPA-free and are approved by ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials).

Give Limits

Yes, allowing your little one to help you in the kitchen is a fun way to bond but make sure you inform him what he can and cannot do. Let him know that sharp objects and the stove, oven and other appliances are off-limits. Do not let him help you cook anything on the stove nor assist you in using appliances (e.g. microwave, mixer or blender). Be clear about when it is okay and not okay to stick and lick fingers and that he should never touch anything if his hands are wet.

Teach Your Toddler To Clean Up

Ensure that your toddler washes his hands before and after handling food and utensils. Teach him the significance of cleaning up spills and messes as they occur. Messes and spills are hazards for slipping and they are a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep a mop or a towel handy for easy cleanups.

Explain

Never assume your toddler understands kitchen products or will know what to do in the kitchen. Take the time to explain the function of the kitchen, the use of each product, the proper way to use them and what will happen in case he plays with them. Also, teach your toddler what to do in case accidents happen (e.g. cuts, scalding or fire).

By following these safety guidelines, cooking with your toddler will be enjoyable and safe.

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Important Tips On How To Prevent Food Poisoning In Your Home

Contaminated food can cause mayhem to little tummies. Hence, food safety at home should be every parent’s priority. It is easy to prevent food poisoning in your home by following these tips.

Practice Handwashing

The number one cause of food poisoning is poor handwashing. Train your toddler to wash his hands, use soap and rub his hands together for at least 20 seconds before and after eating, after using the restroom and after playing. Your toddler’s busy hands will come into contact with germs and once he places his hands inside his mouth, there is a 90% chance for him to get sick. Of course, do not forget to wash your own hands as well especially before cooking and after handling raw foods such as chicken, fish and meat.

Cook Food Thoroughly

Toddlers have sensitive tummies and eating raw and uncooked food will truly result to stomach aches. Keep in mind that contaminated food often looks and smells normal. Use a food thermometer to test if the fish, chicken, meat and poultry are cooked to a safe temperature. Make sure to place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food and away from the bone. You can eliminate harmful organisms in most foods by cooking them to temperatures between 140 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Avoid Certain Foods

Food poisoning is very common to young children since they have undeveloped immune systems. Avoid giving the following foods to your little one:

  • Undercooked eggs
  • Soft cheeses (brie, feta and blue-veined cheeses)
  • Certain seafoods such as clam, mussel, oyster, scallop and shellfish
  • Raw meat and chicken
  • Unpasteurized (failure to undergo in the process of food heating) milk and milk products

Portion Food Accordingly

Divide your toddler’s food into small containers. This way, the untouched food can be stored in the fridge for a few days. Allow warm leftovers to cool down a bit before placing it in the refrigerator. Make sure to put it away within two hours. The refrigerator should be cold enough (at least 40 degrees or below) to slow down the growth of bacteria. If you have to re-heat his food, only warm up enough for your toddler to eat at that sitting.

Keep Your Kitchen Clean

So you have followed the tips above, but have you checked your kitchen? Bacteria can live on kitchen surfaces and spread to other foods so make sure you clean your kitchen. Wash cooking utensils carefully before and after use. Do not use the same knife and chopping board to slice raw fish and then fresh fruits for dessert. Scrub the countertop, kitchen sink and kitchen utensils with hot soapy water. Wash your towels often and replace the sponge every few weeks.

Throw It Out

If you are unsure if the chicken sandwich you prepared for your toddler is safe, discard it. Remember, if you are in doubt, throw it out. Just prepare a new one for your little one.

Food safety at home all boils down to cleanliness, proper preparation and correct storage to keep your youngster’s tiny tummy safe and healthy.

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Toy Safety Precautions For Toddlers

No childhood will be complete without toys. However, toys also pose a safety risk, so it is very important that you chose them carefully. Here are some toy safety tips you must keep in mind.

Are The Toys Age-appropriate?

Check the “recommended age” sticker of toys. Toys must be suited to your toddler’s developmental level. Be rational about your toddler’s abilities when choosing his toys. Here is a guideline you should keep in mind when buying toys for toddlers:

  • If a toy can fit through the hole a toilet paper roll, it is not safe. Small toys like balls, marbles, coins or any toy smaller than your toddler’s mouth should be avoided as they pose a choking risk. Your toddler might put them in his mouth and they can get stuck in the throat and restrict breathing.
  • Battery-operated toys should have battery cases that secure with bolts so that your toddler cannot pry them open. Exposure to batteries and battery fluid can cause choking, chemical burns and internal bleeding.
  • Riding toys like rocking horses, scooters and wagons should come with safety straps and be steady and secure enough to avoid tipping.

Do Toys Meet Safety Standards?

Toy manufacturers follow certain guidelines, but not all of them have passed toy testing standards. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) closely examines and regulates toys. The CPSC imposes the following rules:

  • Toys should have no lead and phthalates higher than .1%.
  • Toys made of fabric should be washable and labelled as flame retardant (flame resistant).
  • Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint.
  • Art materials should be tagged “non-toxic”.
  • Crayons and other coloring materials should have an “ASTM D-4236” seal on the package, which means that they have been screened by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Are The Toys In Good Condition?

As much as possible, avoid giving your toddler hand-me-down toys. Although they are cost-effective, they may not meet present safety standards and may have loose parts that could easily be chewed or ripped off which can put your toddler’s safety at risk.

Are The Toys Well Put Together?

Make sure there are no sharp edges, cracks, chipped paint, magnets, buttons and cords or strings longer than 12 inches and anything else your child could snap off and put in his mouth.

Are The Toys Too Heavy?

Yes, big or large-sized toys will not go into your toddler’s mouth but there is a possibility that your toddler will get hurt if they fell on him. Avoid toys twice his size or those that are too heavy for your little one. Do not buy your toddler a bike one size too big as this can lead to serious injuries especially if your toddler does not have the physical skills to control a bigger bike.

Follow the simple tips above to ensure you are not risking your toddler’s safety. Stay updated. Sign up for newsletters through the CPSC email so you are informed of any new recall alerts.

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