A Pediatrician's Guide to Home Safety During a Pandemic

(BPT) – Virtual learning and employment have become the “new normal” for so many. Families are currently spending an unusual amount of time at home, which means identifying all of the possible hazards in the house is more important than ever.

Parents and caregivers of young children know firsthand just how difficult child-proofing can be, and with the added pressures of a pandemic and the need to turn homes into office spaces and classrooms, everyday distractions could lead to a potentially devastating outcome. Pediatrician Dr. Jen Trachtenberg, M.D., outlines her top tips this Child Safety and Protection Month to ensure your work-from-home space is also kid-friendly.

From battery safety to non-slip rugs, here are six tips to ensure your home is as safe as can be:

  1. Conduct nightly couch checks by removing the cushions and pillows, and be sure to look for pen caps, hair clips, lithium coin batteries — anything really small that might have gotten loose throughout the day — and be sure to pick them up or vacuum them.
  2. Get down on all fours and crawl around, keeping your eyes open for any small objects. This is the view that young children have when they’re moving about the home. Pick up any dangerous items within reach. If something is smaller than the diameter of a toilet paper roll, then it can be a choking hazard.
  3. Purchase items that have child-safe packaging and innovations meant to keep children safe, such as the new Duracell lithium coin battery with a bitter coating, which is meant to help discourage swallowing. Lithium coin batteries are found in many household items — like key fobs, thermometers and scales — and can cause severe burns to the surrounding tissue of the esophagus if ingested. Take inventory of where these batteries might be found, and swap them out for a Duracell lithium coin battery with bitter coating, which can be found at select Walmart stores across the country.
  4. Make sure you have non-slip rugs. Being home more often and with the winter months approaching, kids will be running and playing indoors.
  5. Do not leave items on the edge of tables where they can be pulled off or kids can climb up to them, and store anything flammable out of reach.
  6. Keep emergency numbers, like 911 and poison control (1-800-222-1222), in an easily accessible place — such as on your refrigerator, taped inside a closet, or stored in your “Favorites” on your phone.

Kids are curious by nature, so use these tips as a guide to keep them safe while they explore their world.