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This Hazard to Kids Lurks In Our Living Rooms

It's a scary world out there. How do we protect our kids even when we're not nearby?

Nothing takes the wind out of me and shakes me to the core like hearing about the loss of a child.  Recent news stories about televisions toppling over on children haunt me. Although the television in our family room is a newer, thinner model than the ones I have heard about, I was still very concerned.

So I went looking for advice. Electronic stores were useless (Best Buy actually suggested I use tape to secure our 42-inch television to the entertainment center).  Then I found furniture straps on the website of Baby Solutions, a Highland Park-based childproofing company—the same company we used to baby-proof our home after our daughter was born.  The strap cost less than $20.  I was sold and Baby Solutions was at my house the next day to secure my TV.

While I certainly feel better knowing that’s taken care of, I still worry about all of the “what-ifs.”  Like so many of you, we do our best to keep our house as safe as humanly possible for our kids. Personally, I think we have adapted well and, as my kids grow and are allowed more freedom, we are constantly re-evaluating the safety of our home.  Still, kids are kids—wild, playful and too often, unaware.

I don’t want my girls to grow up to be fearful, but I do want to teach them how to keep themselves safe when they’re out of my sight.  What happens at a friends’ house when, for example, they are playing downstairs near a long-forgotten older television high on a shelf?   Do other people secure their bookshelves to the wall like we do?  The reality is, they probably don’t.

Recently, I started gently reminding my daughter that heavy objects, like TVs, can fall and hurt someone.  When she has friends over I try to keep them in the playroom where there is less temptation for trouble.  If my daughter is a guest at someone else’s house, I remind her not to touch things without permission and to pay attention to her surroundings.

Asking my children to think about consequences that only a year ago I didn’t think of myself is troubling.  But, just like I warn my kids of dangers around them from sharp corners to busy street corners, I’ll do my best to protect them, and teach them to protect themselves, even when we are “in the safety of” our own home.

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