To prevent poisoning: Poisoning can be caused by more than just bleach or Lysol. Vitamins, cough and cold medicines, some types of plants, make-up, paint, alcohol and cigarettes are just a few things of many that can be toxic to your children. Just a few iron pills are enough to kill a child. Always keep medicines, cleaning products and other harmful items locked away from where little hands can reach them. Keep your child safely out of the way when using cleaning products. Always keep your products clearly marked in their original containers. Keep a close eye on your kids when visiting other peoples’ homes as their dangerous products may not be locked up.

If you are giving medicine to your baby, always strictly follow the directions given to you by your child’s doctor. Never give more than the amount they prescribe. Remember, child-resistant safety caps are not completely child-proof. Keep these bottles out of reach and out of sight.

To prevent scalds: Scalds are bums that are caused by extremely hot liquids. Always be sure to keep hot drinks away from children, and always use a lid if you are going to drink something hot. Never hold your child in your lap if you are drinking a hot liquid or are eating hot soup. Never give hot drinks or soups to your child, always make sure it’s only warm. Scalds can also be caused by steam, such as from a kettle, pot or iron. Always keep these things away from kids. Whenever you can, always use the backburners when cooking, and turn the handles sideways so that little hands cannot reach up for them. Keep your children out of the kitchen when you are busy in there.

Hot tap water is another cause. Always test the temperature of the hot water from your tap before letting

your child wash their hands or take a bath. Your child’s skin is much thinner than yours, and because of this they are much more sensitive and will burn more quickly and at a lower temperature. More kids are burned by hot liquids and steam than by fire. It’s never a good idea to use a microwave to heat up baby food or bottles, as the food and liquid may feel fine on the outside, they can actually be very hot on the inside. Always heat bottles in warm water and heat food on the stove. If you do choose to use a microwave, mix the food or gently shake the bottle as this will even out the temperature. Always check to make sure the temperature is at an acceptable level for your child.

Safety tips for the home: Always use caps on electrical outlets and plug covers to protect your kids from electrical shock. Teach your children to avoid wires and throw out any cords that have started to come apart. Never let your child put an electrical cord in his or her mouth. Make sure that heavy things like bookcases, lamps, televisions, and other such items are fastened securely to walls so that children cannot pull or push them over. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and test them once a month; also, get a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it properly. Always keep several flashlights with fresh batteries in safe places for times of emergency. If you use candles, keep children away from matches, lighters and hot dripping wax, which can seriously hurt anyone.

When playing outside, always have your children wear safety helmets, knee and elbow pads if they are riding bikes or are on roller skates or roller blades. Teach them how to stop properly when using these items.

If you have pets, or if there are pets in your neighbourhood, always keep an eye on your child near animals. Teach them how to behave properly around animals: never tease or pull on ears, tails or other body part; never approach an animal that is eating, drinking or chewing on a pet toy, avoid strange animals. Never leave a child alone with an animal, as serious injury could happen to one or both. Teach your child to stay away from and to never pick up any baby animal in the wild as one or both parents will be close by. Make sure your child never tries to break up an animal fight, teach them to find and tell an adult. Teach them how to recognize an angry animal, and how to stay away from it. Above all, teach your children to respect animals.

Special thanks go out to Safe Kids Canada. Visit them on the web at

Article series information compiled by Séri Jacobs