Spoil your Grandchildren with Safety

When it comes to their grandchildren, many grandparents set no limits. Whether it is a new toy, an extra cookie or staying up late, grandparents tend to bend the rules for their little loved ones.

These days, grandparents have an added responsibility. Many have become their primary caregivers. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 7.7 percent of all children in the United States were living in homes maintained by their grandparents in 1997, up 76 percent from 1970. Researchers report that 9 out of 10 grandparents spend at least some time caring for their grandchildren during the course of a year.

Grandparents that serve as caretakers and babysitters may have extensive knowledge in childrearing, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a refresher when it comes to children’s safety. They may not be aware that today, the number one killer of children isn’t disease, violence or crime, but unintentional injury.

“Grandparents may unknowingly overlook simple safety precautions, like checking the fire alarm, locking up medications and properly installing child safety seats,” said Randy Getz of the Hazelwood Fire Department. “Grandparents need refresh themselves on child safety practices and make them a regular part of their lives.”

Whether occasional babysitters or primary caretakers, grandparents need to childproof their homes and know the most up-to-date safety information.

Safety tips designed specifically for grandparents:

Supervise your grandchildren at all times when they are in your care. Never leave them alone “even for a second” especially in kitchens or bathrooms, around playground equipment, or near water.

Buckle up your grandchildren correctly every time they ride in your car. Use age-appropriate restraints, including booster seats for children between 40 and 80 pounds.

Keep all medications, vitamins and household products in their original containers, locked up and out of sight and reach of children.

Install and maintain a smoke alarm on every level of your home and near all sleeping areas.

Set your water thermostat to 120º F or below to prevent scald burns.

Don’t allow children under age 10 to cross streets alone.

Make sure grandchildren always wear safety gear (helmets, pads, etc.) when riding bikes, using scooters, skating and playing sports.

If there are firearms in the home, store them unloaded and locked up, with ammunition locked in a separate location, out of grandchildren’s reach.

Keep poison control center and emergency medical service numbers listed near every telephone in the home. Have a first aid kit, ipecac syrup and activated charcoal readily available.

Take a class to become certified in CPR and first aid.

© City of Hazelwood.

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