Heed Safety Precautions When Decorating Children’s Rooms

August 6, 2004

It’s always good to be careful and preventivewhen decorating children’s rooms.Here are some hints, so your kids can safelyenjoy their rooms.1. The room should never have windowsthat allow the child to get out of the housethrough them, especially if his/her room ison the second floor.2. The floor should be made with tiles orwood (easy to clean). Carpets are not recommendedbecause regardless of the materialthey are made of, they usually retain lotsof dust and mites. Both are terrible for toddlers’health, especially if they suffer fromasthma or allergies.3. Use outlet plug covers.4. Although teddy bears are nice andlook good in children’s shelves, they alsocarry dust and mites. It’s better to give childrenwashable toys; check to ensure theydon’t have small pieces that kids can swallow.5. Use small mosquito nets for childrenunder six months old that cover the crib.Never use the huge covers that can hurt thebaby if they fall down because of theirweight.6. Rocking chairs are comfortable butkids can slide when trying to sit or stand up.7. For toddlers’ cribs, adjust the mattressto its lowest position and remove bulkytoys, pillows, bumper pads and anythingelse that could be used as a stepping-stoneto freedom – and possible disaster. To softena fall should your toddler get out in spiteof your precautions, place a plush rug, anexercise mat or a couple of cushions next tothe crib. Also be sure not string any toys(such as a crib gym) across the top of thecrib – a child could strangle in it. When yourtoddler is 35 inches tall, it’s time for a bed.8. When buying a crib, bars should beno more than 2 3/8 inches apart, with nosplinters or cracks in the wood. Check tosee the mattress level is adjustable. Theminimum rail height should be 22 incheswhen the mattress is at its highest positionand the rail is at its lowest setting. The cribshould also feature steel stabilizing bars, aplastic covering on teething rails (if any)tight, secure and unbroken and casters formobility. Avoid posts or knobs that protrudeor crossbars.9. When the child is ready for a bed(when the baby walks), install safety rails onthe bed and place the bed at least two feetfrom windows, wall lamps, drapery or venetianblind cords. Also, never buy a bunk bedfor a toddler or allow one to sleep in theupper bunk of someone else’s bunk bed.10. Use screens in the windows, whenpossible.11. Reduce the number of furniture andaccessories in the child’s room to avoid storingunnecessary objects there.12. On all items in the room, look forlead-free paint, if painted, sturdy non-tipconstruction and smooth edges and roundedcorners. Avoid rough edges, sharp pointsor small parts that might break or breakloose. Watch for exposed hinges or springsand attached strings, cords, or ribbons. Besure to follow the manufacturer’s directionsfor use and maintenance of all items and toregularly check the baby’s crib, carriage andother equipment for loose screws, frayedstraps, supports that have snapped andother signs of wear.13. For more info, visit the Web site ofthe American Academy of Pediatrics(www.aap.org)The tips were compiled from:Recommendations by Dr. CarlosPonchner L., surgeon, doctor, pediatrician,and neonatologist (37 years of experience)and Fellow of the American Academy ofPediatrics for the last 32 years.“What to Expect the Toddler Years,” byArlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff andSandee E, Hathaway, B.S.N., WorkmanPublishing, New York.“What to Expect the First Year,” byArlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff andSandee E, Hathaway, B.S.N., WorkmanPublishing, New York.

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