Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Brenner Children’s pediatric emergency department has moved back to its original location. Learn more

In order to help protect patients, family members and health care workers from the spread of COVID-19, no visitors are allowed at any of Wake Forest Baptist Health’s outpatient or inpatient facilities, except in certain situations.
Learn more

More COVID-19 Updates

Keeping Kids Safe at Home

To make your home a safe environment, you must think ahead about what you can do. Children have different needs at different ages. And remember, your children will bring friends home that may not operate under the same set of rules as your family. Here are some things to think about within your own home.

Have Those Emergency Numbers Handy

It is always important to talk with your children about what to do in case of any emergency, whether it is a fire or whether something happens to them while you are gone or whether something happens to you. Have those emergency numbers handy. Little details that may seem simple to you, like talking slowly and clearly into the telephone, need to be discussed. Tell your children how to call 911 (or your local emergency numbers) and how to tell someone where they live. This can be very important if you are away from home and an older child is in charge. Give them emergency plans that include going to a neighbor’s home if necessary or who to call if they cannot get you on the telephone. Walk them through an emergency phone call and cover each step. You might even want to attend a first-aid course with an older child who is going to baby sit for you.

Childproof for Young Children

Your pediatrician may talk with you about this, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that your house may have things lying around that could be deadly to a small child. Think in terms of children opening everything within their reach and putting everything they find in their mouths -- you can count on it. Move not only poisons and breakables, but also small items that can choke a toddler or preschooler. Think about children pushing up chairs to counters and what is within their reach - stoves, glass, chemicals or other dangerous items. Even something as common as soap can make a child very sick.

Create and Rehearse a Fire Plan

Every family needs a fire plan that includes not only multiple escape routes, but where to meet outside so that you can account for everyone in the house. Let the children help you by drawing pictures of your house and figuring out the best escapes, depending on where the fire is. You won’t have time during a real fire to discuss any of this, so plan it out ahead of time and practice. Children love to rehearse at night, and this is when most fires occur. Let them show you the stop, drop and roll techniques they learn in preschool and school to escape a smoke-filled house. They need to know to stay below the smoke and to crawl, if necessary, to safety.

Strangers at the Door or on the Phone

This is a big topic with families these days, whether strangers are calling on the telephone or coming to the door. Talk with your children about how to handle such situations and give them the options they need, such as never telling strangers that their parents aren’t home, but telling them that they can’t come to telephone right now. You should tell your children never to answer the door if a stranger is there, or who to call if they don’t know what to do under those circumstances.

Be Aware of Poisons

Prevention is the key here. You might be amazed at what can make children sick. It is not just the obvious things like harsh chemicals, but simple household items like plants, medicines, make-up and detergents as well. They are the cause of most household poisonings. Write down the telephone number of the local poison control center near the telephone. If you suspect a child is poisoned, call your doctor or a poison center or 911 to find out what to do. Take the child and the poison with you to the telephone. You may be asked for information such as the child’s age, weight, the amount ingested, etc.