For parents of infants and toddlers, safety has to begin at home.

By completing safety checks at least twice a year, parents can help protect their kids from common household hazards, said Dr. Rodney Watson, a pediatrician at Holston Valley Medical Center.

“Injuries from falls and ingestion of small parts or household cleaners are seen most often in children,” Dr. Watson said. “Through routine safety checks, parents can help protect their children by preventing household accidents.”

Safety checks are especially important in a child’s bedroom, Dr. Watson said. Parents should make sure a child’s crib meets the government standard for space between the slats. Slats should be no more that two and three-eighths inches apart.

A baby’s head can become trapped in slots any wider than the government standard.

“Parents should also remove everything from the crib until a child can lift and turn his head,” Dr. Watson said. “That includes blankets, sheets, toys, pillows and bumper pads.”

In addition, anything that stretches across the crib should be removed. And hanging toys such as mobiles should be placed at the opposite end of the crib so they can’t fall on the baby.

“Mini-blind cords can also be hazardous to small children,” Dr. Watson said. “Parents should position the crib away from windows so the child can’t reach the cord.”

Other pieces of bedroom furniture may also pose a threat to young children. Heavy pieces of furniture such as storage chests and dressers should be anchored to the wall to ensure they won’t fall over if a child climbs on them.

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