If taking a survey, nearly every mother and father will admit that their top priority in parenting is to keep their children safe.   Some tasks are challenging, expensive or require professional help. But some tasks can be easy like keeping unsafe objects locked up or out of reach of your child.  So for this Mother’s Day take a pledge to correct any potential dangers in your home and become more aware of unsafe products.

It’s easy to find excellent internet resources that suggest important steps that can be taken to help keep your family safe.  

A top ten list offered by Parents.com includes the following:

  1. Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Add an alert to your phone for monthly checks on their batteries. Have a fire extinguisher within reach near sources of fire, including your stove, grill and fireplace.

  2. Lock doors and windows at night. Consider installing window guards or window stops to prevent kids from crawling out the window.

  3. Always wear seatbelts and properly sized car seats. Teach your kids that the car won’t go anywhere unless they’re buckled up.

  4. Make sure your hot water heater is set at 120 degrees to prevent scalding.

  5. Install cordless window coverings to avoid strangulation danger, or make sure cords are not accessible.

  6. Install wall-mounted baby gates at both the top and bottom of stairs, and cushion corners and edges of tables and fireplace hearths with padding to protect your child from banging her head on them if she topples over.

  7. When buying an older house, always make the sale contingent on a radon and lead paint test, and continue to retest every 2 years.

  8. If necessary, only use products to rid your home of ants, mice and cockroaches that are pesticide free and labeled safe for use around children.

  9. Prevent mold by regularly using exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms and a dehumidifier in the basement to keep humidity levels low.  Open doors and windows when cleaning, painting, or laying new flooring, and change HVAC filters on a regular basis.

  10. Lock up dangerous stuff, including anything poisonous (download the app from the National Poison Control Center ). Keep firearms in a locked gun safe, preferably one that uses fingerprint technology to open.

A government sponsored website, https://www.saferproducts.gov  is one of the best resources available for finding information about unsafe products. The website contains the publicly available Information database of Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  You can report an unsafe consumer product to CPSC online or you can search reports, recalls and repairs for a product you may have in your home or may be thinking about buying. The CPSC website has numerous educational campaigns aimed at informing and educating consumers on issues like drowning prevention, anchoring TV’s and furniturepoison prevention and specific product information such as ATV’s, hoverboards and even fidget spinners!  Although the agency announced an app challenge last fall, with the goal of developing a phone app for easy access to this information, an app has not yet been released. In the meantime, go to the CPSC website and sign up for alerts by email or Twitter @USCPSC.

A recent news story illustrates the importance of checking recalls and safety alerts to proactively protect your children from danger. Last month, the CPSC issued a recall of the Fisher-Price Rock’n Play infant holder which has been found to be the cause of at least 32 infant deaths.  After a 2 month old baby in Ohio died after the Fisher Price Rock’n Play toppled, the babysitter was charged criminally and agreed to a plea deal admitting guilt to child endangerment. However, the recall brought attention to the possible cause of the baby’s death, so the defense attorneys are now asking to delay sentencing and to withdraw her guilty plea. The CPSC website is full of stories about children’s deaths from dangerous products that may have been avoided by staying educated and proactive about kid’s safety.

The family attorneys at Molly B. Kenny, LLC understand that their clients may have many new challenges in the wake of a divorce or separation and may benefit from acquiring new skills and education to become successful single parents. So for this year’s Mother’s Day celebration, let’s encourage every parent to be proactive about their child’s safety- use the checklist to survey your home, check out the CPSC website, and sign up for recall and warning alerts!

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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