How Safe Is Your Home, Really?

Can you guess the leading cause of deaths in children under 10? It's not cancer or disease. It's unintentional injuries, and half of them happen in or around the home, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the summer, kids break away from the order and control of classrooms and get the chance to let loose at home, often without direct supervision. By making your home as safe as possible, you can let your kids enjoy maximum freedom.

Nationwide Insurance partnered with Safe Kids Worldwide in hopes of preventing unintentional injuries through Make Safe Happen, an initiative that educates parents on creating safe environments.

This summer, Make Safe Happen is stopping at fairs and festivals across the country to spread the word about unsafe scenarios in the home. You can walk around in a simulated home, with each room featuring a dangerous condition, like household chemicals left in plain view or TVs that could be knocked down. With an iPad and Nationwide's mascot, Nate the Eagle, you'll learn how to make the space safer for your kids. Plus, you'll get tips like how to make sure water temperatures aren't too hot and how to make a fire escape plan. The tour will hit Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Arizona; click here for a full schedule.

Nationwide Children's Hospital also recently teamed up with CDC experts to launch a Make Safe Happen smartphone app that helps you create a safe environment for your little ones. Safety expert Dr. Lara B. McKenzie, PhD, of Nationwide Children's Hospital, was inspired to develop the app after having triplets, for whom she needed to babyproof her home in a major way.

"For the first time, we began implementing the safety advice I had been giving as an injury researcher for more than a decade," Dr. McKenzie has said. "I had the willingness to make my house safer, and the knowledge to do it. I'd been researching ways to prevent injuries in and around the home for years and gave interviews about it, so how was this still so hard?"

Dr. McKenzie has said her smartphone is the one thing she always has, which is why she figured it'd be the best tool to guide home safety measures. After entering the ages of your children into the Make Safe Happen app, you can explore room-by-room lists of safety steps. The app tracks your progress, letting you make to-do lists of how you could make your home even safer. Make Safe Happen can also set seasonal reminders, such as when to test smoke alarms or change the batteries, directly into your smartphone's calendar. Plus, in-app links let you make shopping lists of products you might not own, like toilet seat locks, then head straight to Amazon to buy them.

"It's fair to say that [my] triplets don't care a whole lot about safety themselves," Dr. McKenzie has said. "But they've pushed me to think about it in a different way. And I hope that the tool that my triplets inspired can help you."

Marissa Laliberte is an Editorial Intern at Parents magazine who loves running, baking, and drinking coffee. Follow her on Twitter: @mjlaliberte

Not only can it be tricky for crawling babies and toddlers to get around in a crowded living room, little ones can also be injured by heavy objects falling on them. Follow these child safety tips to baby proof your living room and help keep your child safe.

Image via Shutterstock

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