Proper Supervision is the Best Prescription to Prevent Childhood Home Accidents

Premier HealthNet Physician Provides Tips on Child-Proofing a Home

DAYTON, Ohio (January 29, 2013) – For parents with toddlers and young children, kissing a boo-boo to make a little one feel better is a daily occurrence.  While child-proofing a home will help reduce household accidents, Premier HealthNet Physician, Suzanne Bell, MD, warns there is a more important step that parents, grandparents and caregivers need to take while children are under their watchful eye.

One of the most severe accidents that a child can sustain while in the home is drowning or near drowning and according to Dr. Bell, who practices at Vandalia Family Care, it’s more common than parents may realize.

 “Many may be concerned about swimming pools, lakes or ponds near the home, but the reality is that children can drown in as little as a couple inches of water,” Dr. Bell said.

She urges parents to always watch their children when in the bathtub, keep toilet seats down and bathroom doors closed. Mop buckets are also a hazard.  It is best to keep them off the floor and away from small children who may trip and fall into the bucket.

Ingesting a poisonous substance is another serious home accident that can be prevented. However, if a child does swallow a medication, cleaning product or other potentially harmful substance, a parent should first make sure the child is breathing comfortably.  If there are breathing problems or if the child is unconscious or has a seizure, 9-1-1 should be called immediately.  In the absence of these issues, the next step would be to identify the product ingested and call the American Association of Poison Control Centers Poison Help Line at 800-222-1222 for advice.

Dr. Bell warns that it is no longer recommended to induce vomiting since certain substances, when vomited, may damage the esophagus. If necessary, vomiting can be induced in the emergency room by trained medical professionals

To prevent smaller accidents, like bumps, bruises and scrapes, caregivers should start with basic child-proofing activities.   “I recommend getting down to the child’s level,” Dr. Bell said. “When you’re down there you might find things that you did not realize were so tempting.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Product Safety Commission recommend:

  • Locking up anything hazardous, such as cleaning products, medications, vitamins and sharp objects like scissors or knives;
  • Covering outlets and making sure there are no cords that a child could pull on or get tangled in;
  • Being cautious with furniture and fixtures, and securing anything to the walls that can be;
  • Pushing televisions and other heavy items out of reach and as far back as possible;
  • Keeping drawers closed so they cannot be used as ladders;
  • Installing gates, especially on stairs, using door knob covers as appropriate; and,
  • Cooking on back burners whenever possible and turning pot handles to the back of the stove.

Another important measure, Dr. Bell says is to periodically re-evaluate your home’s child-proofing products.  Items that protect a very small child may not be age-appropriate as your child gets older.  “The same gate that once kept your one-year-old from climbing the stairs may later become a favorite but dangerous climbing toy for a two-year-old,” Dr. Bell said. For help child-proofing a home, Dr. Bell recommends parents find a good book or online resource to help answer any questions they may have.  She also encourages parents not to rely completely on child-proofing devices to prevent injuries. The best preventive measure is adult supervision.

To learn more about how to prevent home accidents, or to find a Premier HealthNet primary care physician, visit


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