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National Child Safety Expert, Alison Rhodes, “The Safety Mom,” is one of the country's leading child safety authorities, providing tips and advice to parents on a broad range of issues facing all children - newborns to teens.

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Storage Safety For Your Tots
by Alison Rhodes

No matter whether its spring cleaning or fall clean-up everyone always has a plan on getting organized. And when you have kids itís even more important to be organized and keep dangerous items stored securely and locked away. Keep in mind how you store things is equally as important as what you store.

  • Linen closets/medicine cabinets
    Many parents think to lock away household cleaning products but neglect potential poisons in their bathroom cabinets and linen closets. Hairsprays and hair gels, mouth washes, toothpaste and perfume can all be harmful if ingested. Be sure that these items are stored in a locked cabinet preferably on the top shelf. Rearrange linen closets to place safe items such as towels on the shelves that are within childrenís reach.

  • Armoires and cabinets
    Closed cabinets are a great place to store DVDís, CDís and electronic equipment including TVís. But make sure that heavy items such as stereo systems and TVís are secured into the cabinet. Heavy duty Velcro, available at most hardware stores, is a handy way of accomplishing this. Additionally, secure the unit into the wall to prevent a tip over accident. There has been an increase in deaths due to heavy furniture and TVs toppling over onto children.

  • Pantries
    Many potential choking hazards and poisons reside in our food pantries. Items such as nuts, hard candy and popcorn as well as spices including cayenne pepper, chili powder and other hazardous items need to be stored on the top shelves of the pantry. Keep pantry doors locked as added precaution.

  • Toy Chests/Linen Chests
    While this is a great space to store blankets and toys, it also could be extremely hazardous. Install a slow-closing hinge so the top wonít fall on little fingers. Additionally, drill holes in the back of the chest so that in the event a child does get trapped inside they can get oxygen.

  • Garage and basement storage areas
    Toxic chemicals such as bug repellant, lawn fertilizer and paint thinner should always be stores in their original containers so that in the event of ingestion youíre able to provide all of the information to poison control. Keep all items in a locked cabinet and place a lock on the door leading to the garage or basement as an added precaution. Donít forget that items such as rakes, shovels, tools and lawn mowers are also dangerous for inquisitive kids!

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