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Keeping grandkids safe

Grandparents love to have their grandchildren visit. Some grandparents are even full- or part-time caregivers for their grandkids. But having young ones around the house requires a special vigilance and an eye toward safety. These tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will help you keep your kiddos safe.

Fires and scalding

  • Install and maintain smoke alarms on all levels of your home. Install carbon monoxide detectors too.
  • Have a fire escape plan.
  • When cooking, never leave food unattended on the stove or counter. Always supervise or restrict a child’s access to the stove, oven and microwave.
  • Set your water heater temperature to 120 F or lower. Test bath and tap water before letting a child touch it.

Prevent poisonings

  • Keep medicines, alcohol and cleaning supplies locked safely away. Keep them in their original containers in case you need to call 911 or Poison Control at (800) 222-1222.
  • When giving medicine to children, carefully follow label directions.
  • Safely dispose of unneeded or expired prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements.

Water safety

  • Learn and teach your grandkids the basics of swimming like floating and moving through the water.
  • Install an isolation fence, with self-closing and self-latching gates, around backyard swimming pools. Pool fences should completely separate the house and play area from the pool.
  • Make sure kids wear life jackets in and around pools, lakes, rivers and oceans, even if they know how to swim.
  • When kids are in or near water (including bathtubs), closely supervise them at all times. Drowning happens quickly and quietly.

General safety

  • Use home safety devices, such as guards on windows that are above ground level, stair gates, and guard rails. These devices can help keep a busy, active child from taking a dangerous tumble.
  • Supervise young children at all times around fall hazards, such as stairs and playground equipment.
  • Make sure you have the correct car seat, booster seat, or seatbelt that’s appropriate for their age, height and weight.
  • Learn life-saving skills like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Finally, be a good role model. Communicate positive safety messages and serve as a model of safe behavior. This can include wearing a bike helmet, wearing your seatbelt, and applying sunscreen and donning sunglasses before heading out to enjoy the outdoors.

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