October is Children's Health Month: CPSC Chairman Safety-Checks His Own Home

October is Children's Health Month and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the White House and other federal agencies are urging parents and caregivers to "Discover the Rewards" of protecting children's health.
October 03, 2002
Release Number: 03-004

October is Children's Health Month and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the White House and other federal agencies are urging parents and caregivers to "Discover the Rewards" of protecting children's health.

To mark Children's Health Month, CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton invited a video camera inside his home near Washington, as he and his family safety-checked their house from hidden hazards. The Stratton home needed smoke alarms, cabinet locks and arc fault circuit interrupters...just like any home.

"A few simple steps can help reduce the risk of death and injury from consumer products around the home," said Stratton.

A Children's Health Month calendar highlights each day in October by alerting caregivers to a different hazard with a corresponding remedy or safety tip. The CPSC has provided safety tips to reduce head injuries, and prevent poisoning, strangulation, drowning, and suffocation hazards to children. The Stratton video is being broadcast via satellite to TV stations nationwide.

"Children's Health Month provides a wonderful opportunity for CPSC to spread the message to parents and caregivers about the importance of providing a safe environment for young children," said Stratton.

From the kitchen to the basement, Mr. Stratton is seen on the video eliminating hidden hazards from his home, such as water standing in large buckets. He's also shown cutting loops in window-blind cords.

Each year, more than 100 children drown in buckets, toilets, bathtubs and other sources of standing water in the home. Since 1980, CPSC has received reports of more than 200 children who have strangled in window-blind cords.

Here are some simple, low-cost product safety tips to protect children:

1. Never leave standing liquids unattended. Stay within arm's reach while your child is bathing or near any container of water. If the phone rings, let it ring; stay with your child.

2. Prevent tap water scalds by adjusting the temperature on your hot water heater to 120º F.

3. Keep medicines and hazardous household chemicals locked up and out of sight. Use child-resistant packaging for medicines and hazardous household chemicals, and call 1-800-222-1222 if a poisoning occurs.

4. Cut the loops on window-blind cords and call 1-800-506-4636 for a free repair kit.

5.Make sure your hairdryer has a large rectangular plug. The immersion protection device prevents electrocution if the hairdryer is dropped in water.

6. Change the battery in your smoke alarm when you change your clock's setting in October.

7. Have a professional check your furnace for carbon monoxide leaks and your chimney for blockages; put a CO alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area.

8. Prevent electrocutions by installing a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in your household outlets.

9. Installing Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) can prevent electrical fires. AFCIs can sense electrical arc and trip the circuit.

10. Babies on adult beds risk suffocation from hidden hazards such as entrapment between the bed and wall; entrapment involving the bed frame, headboard and footboard; or soft bedding such as pillows or thick quilts and comforters.

For more potentially life-saving tips, consumers may download the Children's Health Month: Discover the Rewards Calendar (it is in pdf format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader). Consumers may also visit the Children's Health Month web site at www.childrenshealth.gov to view this calendar and links associated with each day's suggested activity, and a compilation of fact sheets containing information on children's health issues from other participating agencies. Another useful link is www.healthierus.gov