For a Super Sunday, keep an eye on the kids AND the game

Consumer Reports News: February 03, 2010 05:08 AM

The big game can keep everyone—especially football fans—glued to the TV. But if you have a young child and any young guests, it’s important to make sure your home is child-friendly and the little ones have adult supervision. Here are some simple tips to consider so everyone has a good—and safe— time:

Get a sitter. Hire a babysitter to mind the kids, or have adult guests take 15- or 20-minute turns in the children’s play room.

Be careful around the TV. Each year about 14,700 children and adolescents go to emergency rooms suffering from furniture tip-over related injuries, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio. Half of the incidents are caused by televisions. The rate of injuries has risen from 18.8 per 100,000 young people in 1990 to 22.9 in 2007. And accidents where TVs have fallen on children have been fatal. (See the video at right, and safety blog post Got a new TV? Be careful where you put the old one.) If the kids watch TV in another room, they should be supervised by an adult. Wherever the TV, make sure wall-mounted models are securely installed, and that any wires and other devices are out of reach. If the TV is in an enclosed unit more than 30-inches tall, you should secure it to the wall with an anti-tip device. If it’s on a stand, make sure it’s no taller than 30 inches and designed specifically to hold a TV.  Push the TV back as far as possible on the stand. Never place the TV on top of a unit with drawers. Even if the unit is secured to the wall, a child could still reach the top and slide the TV onto the floor or onto himself.

Consider securing furniture that might tip with a furniture strap or bracket. It should be secured into a wall stud, otherwise secure the furniture to the floor with an L-bracket or angle-bracket, found in hardware stores or home centers. (See our video about a family who lost a child to a TV tipover.)

Install safety gates and keep them closed. So that young visitors don’t wander where they shouldn’t be, install (and keep closed) safety gates to other parts of the house, including up and down stairways, and in bathrooms. (See tips for choosing and installing safety gates.)

Do a quick tour of your house through the eyes of a small child. Are there any sharp or dangerous items in the kitchen? Health and beauty items  lying around the bedroom? Valuable and potentially sharp or heavy knickknacks in the livingroom? A home office with lots of electronics? Exposed outlets? Doors for pets? Eliminate the chances of a child harming himself by keeping such things inaccessible.

—Artemis DiBenedetto

See organize your child’s play area for related information. Also, share your tips for keeping kids safe during get-togethers, in Comments.

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