Tips & Helpful Hints
- Safe Play Tips For Children With Special Needs
- Halloween Safety Tips
- Internet Safety Tips
- Safe Toy Shopping and Play Tips
- A Room-by-Room Guide to Baby-Proofing the Home
- Summer Safety Tips
- Travel Safety Tips
Through the magic of play, all children can experience victories, imagine new worlds and share the joy of learning. But, accidents can happen and rates of accidental injury are higher among children with special needs. This includes children with physical and psychological disabilities, and is especially true for children with cognitive, emotional and social limitations.
While basic safety rules apply to all children, regardless of ability, the delivery of the message should be tailored to ensure a differently-abled child truly understands and internalizes how to play safely. To make sure playtime is a positive, memorable learning experience for your child, following is a list of tips to help minimize playtime risks among children with special needs:
- Never Leave a Child Unsupervised: It is especially critical that a child with special needs is properly supervised by an adult or trusted caregiver at all times.
- Read Labels for Ability: Check toy packages for age grading, but choose toys that correspond with a child’s learning level rather than merely matching a toy with his/her actual age. Toys that are misused or inappropriate for a particular child’s abilities can pose a risk of injury.
- Survey the Play Area: Designate a specific area of the home for regular playtime – one void of hazards, such as electric wires across the floor that a child could trip over, hanging cords that could cause strangulation and pools or windows that a child could fall in/through. Safety gates or other barriers can also be helpful in keeping children away from areas unfit for their age or abilities.
- Establish Concrete Rules: Before playtime begins, discuss basic guidelines about what areas are off limits (i.e. the street, the roof or the pool). Make the message clear by saying, “Never go past this line without Mommy” and “Yell, HELP! if you are hurt, lost or scared.”
- Use Visual Warnings: Post notes with phrases, such as, “Don’t Touch!” and “Off Limits!” on toys for older children, as well as power tools, the stove, the kitchen drawers or any other potential source of injury; doing so can help a developmentally challenged child distinguish between an appropriate toy and an object that may be dangerous.
- Review and Repeat: After setting playtime rules, create visual reminders to post somewhere in the house or play area to serve as a constant reminder to the child. Also, ensure a child grasps the message by prompting him/her with hypothetical situations, such as, “What do you do when a ball rolls into the street?” and “What could happen if you play near the pool?”
- Prepare for Off-Site Play Dates: When scheduling a play date out of the home, pack a First Aid kit for the guardian to carry and a Child ID package to put in the child’s pocket or backpack, inclusive of the child and parent/guardian’s name, emergency contact information and instructions (i.e. allergies, illnesses/disabilities and medicinal protocol).
- Safe Storage: Teach children to put toys away so they do not pose a tripping hazard. Store an older child’s toys in a separate storage bin and regularly check for toys that may become worn, damaged, or have missing parts.
- Avoid Trigger Toys: For children who are prone to seizures, it’s best to avoid spinning or flashing toys. Opt for toys that have volume control for children who are adversely affected by loud noises. And make sure children have the postural stability to utilize ride-on vehicles and wagons.
Toys“R”Us, Inc. and Safe Kids USA have teamed up to help kids and families have a fun and safe Halloween. So, before kids dress up as their favorite cartoon character, ghoulish ghost or glamorous fairy, be sure to sit down with them and review the following Halloween safety tips:Kids should never Trick"R"Treat far from home or alone, remembering to always Trick"R"Treat in groups and stay together. And, until parents are comfortable with a child's street sense, they should not go without adult supervision.
- Kids should never Trick“R”Treat far from home or alone, remembering to always Trick“R”Treat in groups and stay together. And, until parents are comfortable with a child’s street sense, they should not go without adult supervision.
- Teach kids to only Trick“R”Treat at houses that are well lit.
- Children should only accept treats at the door and be told to never accept invitations to enter a stranger’s home.
- Ensure kids cross streets at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Teach kids to avoid main roads and other heavy-traffic areas, remembering to never cross in between parked cars.
- Remind kids to look left, right and left again for oncoming cars, before and while crossing the street.
- Children should walk, not run, when crossing the street. They should never dart out into the street or play in the road.
- Teach kids to always walk on paths or sidewalks. If there are no sidewalks or paths, they should walk facing road traffic, staying as to the far left side of the road as possible.
- When searching for a costume that is fun and safe, keep in mind that wearing bright-colored clothing and retro-reflective materials help children appear much more visible to drivers.
- Kids should carry a flashlight, in addition to wearing retro-reflective materials, when Trick“R”Treating after dark.
- Children should wear face paint or a mask with large enough openings for a child’s eyes and mouth to ensure clear eyesight and airways.
- When searching for a costume that is festive and safe, look for one that is appropriate for a child’s height and short enough to prevent the possibility of tripping. Ensure that a child’s choice of footwear is sturdy.
- Thoroughly inspect all Halloween treats before a child eats them. Safe, tasty treats are worth the wait.
At Toys“R”Us, Inc. the safety of children has been, and continues to be, our highest priority. We know that raising kids in the digital age presents challenges parents couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago. That’s why we have teamed up with Dr. Parry Aftab, Executive Director of WiredSafety.org, to create this list of important Internet safety tips to help you understand the risks kids face while online and to help provide a safe web environment for your net-savvy children.
From ensuring that you speak to your kids about safe online practices to restricting the websites that your children can visit, there are many ways to help keep kids safe while they’re surfing the web.
- Get help! Ask your child’s school officials, other parents or older teens for pointers. Even web-savvy parents can’t keep up with everything these days. Technology is always changing, so stay involved and informed.
- Ask questions! Don’t hesitate to ask your kids where they go, what they do and what they enjoy online. Ask about their online friends, just as you would inquire about their offline pals or playmates. Teens polled by WiredSafety.org said they didn’t discuss their online behavior because their parents never asked.
- Explore the Internet together. Have your children show you their favorite websites, and even play games with them online. You can have fun while making sure they’re practicing smart online behavior. Remember, families that surf together are safer together!
- Talk with your kids about online risks and the steps they can take to protect themselves. Help them identify ways to stay safe and remind them that you will be there if they need help.
- Passwords are the root of most cyber trouble. Remind kids not to share their passwords with anyone, even their best friends, and never to save their passwords on the computer where they can be easily accessed. According to WiredSafety.org, more than 85% of elementary students said they had shared their passwords with at least one friend. Discuss the importance of using a password that is easy to remember but hard for others to guess.
- Set your rules! There is no one-size-fits-all. Find rules that work for your family, including determining how much time kids can spend online, when kids can go online and what they should do while online. For more ideas ask other families what they are doing with their kids to encourage safe Internet practices in their homes.
- Check out the latest cybersafety tools. Parental controls and kid-safe browsers and closed networks keep getting better and better. WiredSafety.org recommends using one of these tools with all children ages 10 and under.
- Your screen name shouldn’t include personal information, like your real name, age, birthday, town, school or hobby.
- Don’t share or post any information online you don’t want your parents, your principal, a stranger or the police to read.
- A picture is worth a thousand words, and yours might have more information in it than you want to share. Check your pictures as carefully as other personal information before sharing them online. Always think before you post.
- Make sure you use available privacy settings on all profiles, photo- and video-sharing pages.
- Pick a password that is easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess.
- Always make sure the website you’re using is appropriate for kids your age. If you’re not certain, have an older sibling or a parent check out the site first.
- Get help if anything or anyone upsets you or hurts your feelings online. Talk to your parents or another adult you trust and let them know when you need help. It’s not your fault when other people do bad things online, so don’t worry about getting into trouble.
- What you post and share online stays online forever! Once you click “send” you lose control. Remember: “Think before you click.”
- Be honest. Don’t lie about your age online to use websites that are intended for teens and adults. If the site finds out, you’ll lose privileges to that site. There are lots of fun sites for kids your age.
- Avoid talking to people online who you don’t know offline without your parent’s permission. The people you meet online are not the same as your real friends. Never agree to meet them without your parents or another trusted adult present. You never know who they really are.
- Don’t let your friends do things online that put you at risk and remind them to check with you before posting any picture of you online. You should do the same before posting photos of them.
- Offer to help your siblings, cousins and friends stay safe online. Share with them the Internet safety tips you have learned.
- Cyberbullying is when people use technology as a weapon to hurt other young people. They can steal and misuse passwords, spread rumors or pose as others online.
- Help educate your children on proper online behavior. The more your children know about technology and online etiquette and the more they treat others with respect online and off, the less likely they are to be victimized by a cyberbully.
- To prevent cyberbullying, WiredSafety.org suggests teaching your children their “Internet Golden Rule” – never do anything online that you wouldn’t do offline.
- Most cyberbullying is done anonymously and is conducted by someone the child or teen knows. Teach kids to “Stop! Block! and Tell!” (Stop, don’t respond or engage the cyberbully. Block the person or message. And, tell a trusted adult.)
- When something upsets them online, kids should “TAKE 5!” Teach kids to walk away from the computer or put down the device or cell phone they are using and do something else they enjoy to help them calm down and regain perspective.
- Be supportive if your child tells you they are a victim of cyberbullying. Only 5% of teens surveyed by WiredSafety.org said they would tell their parents if they experienced cyberbullying. Acknowledge your child’s courage and promise to help them.
- Get help if your child is being cyberbullied. Visit StopCyberbullying.org for more information and WiredSafety.org for one-on-one assistance.
Social networking sites such as, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter are becoming increasingly popular among tweens and teens. According to WiredSafety.org, more than 93% of teens have a profile on Facebook.
- Talk to your kids about social media. Ask if they have a page or profile on one of these sites and if you may see it. Also discuss with them why they want to be a member of these social networks and why they like it. The majority of kids just use these sites to communicate with their friends.
- Remember your kids can have social networking profiles and still be safe. Talk with them about using privacy settings and make sure they understand all of their privacy options.
- Visit WiredSafety.org for a tutorial on how to make the most of the privacy settings available on Facebook.
These tips were adapted from and used with the permission of WiredSafety.org and StopCyberbullying.org.
To ensure parents and caregivers make educated toy-buying decisions and help keep kids safe this holiday season and beyond, Toys“R”Us teamed up with Safe Kids USA to create the following list of helpful shopping and play tips.
To view an informational video on toy safety developed by Consumer Reports,
copy and paste the following link into your web browser: http://video.consumerreports.org/services/player/bcpid28763136001?bctid=55357857001
- Select Age-Appropriate Toys – Check toy packaging for the manufacturer’s recommended age. Age guidelines are primarily for safety, but also ensure that your child is not frustrated or bored with a toy. Don’t base your purchases solely on a child’s wish list – be sure you are buying a toy that will be fun AND safe! Remind gift-givers about a child’s skills, abilities and interests, as well as the importance of choosing age-appropriate toys.
- Remember the Safety Gear – If you purchase toys with wheels, such as bikes, tricycles, skateboards and in-line skates, make sure that the child has the necessary safety gear, like helmets and pads, in the appropriate size. It would be disappointing on Christmas morning not to have all of the right safety gear to try out a new bike, skates or other ride-on gifts.
- Consult the Experts – Don’t know what toys to buy? Have questions about product assembly or what’s right for the child on your list? Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us® associates are trained and knowledgeable toy and baby product experts who can help you find the right gift for any child.
- Store Toys Safely – Teach children to put toys away safely after playing. Safe storage prevents falls and other injuries. Also, if your child receives a toy that is inappropriate for younger siblings (small parts, sharp edges, electrical needs, etc.), find a safe place where the toy can be kept out of reach of small hands. While sharing is important, parents need to keep in mind that children of different ages have different safety needs. And, if your child receives a toy that will be appropriate after an upcoming birthday, do not hesitate to put the toy away until that time.
- Supervise Play – Children should be monitored while at play to ensure their safety and to make sure their toys are properly used. Parents, caregivers and older siblings/relatives should serve as role models to show children the correct and safe way to play with and use toys. This is especially important over the holidays when kids of all ages get together to play!
- Stay Informed – Be educated about the toys your children receive as gifts over the holidays. Check out Toysrus.com/Safety for great tips and advice about toy safety as well as information about recalled baby and juvenile products sold in Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores. You can also sign up to receive e-mail updates about toy recalls. In addition, all Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores feature Safety Boards that post recall information, including the product name, item number, description, recall timeframe and photo. Information about all consumer product recalls can also be found online at Recalls.gov or CPSC.gov.
- Examine Packaging and Toys – Before you purchase a toy, make sure its packaging isn’t opened or torn, which could indicate that the toy may have been damaged. Also, check the toy’s design and construction – the higher the quality, the better the toy’s chance of withstanding wear and tear. Once at home, check the toy to ensure that pieces aren’t missing and that all instructions, warranty and product registration information are included. This is also important when your children open gifts on Christmas morning – among the excitement, you want to confirm that your child’s gifts are in good condition.
- Read the Directions – If toys require assembly, make sure you follow the directions closely. This is especially important when planning to assemble toys on Christmas Eve. If possible, don’t wait until the last minute to read the directions—this will help avoid unforeseen hazards that may arise from incorrect assembly. Also, make sure you read the toy’s instructions to your child to ensure that he/she knows how to use it safely.
- Discard Packaging Materials – Before giving a toy to your child, remove and discard all packaging, but be sure to save the instructions and registration information. Many children’s toys are packaged securely in boxes, with plastic ties or pieces holding them in place—these can be hazardous to a small child if left within reach. Don’t forget after the holiday rush to mail in the registration/warranty cards so you are alerted if any safety problems arise.
- Inspect the Toy Box – Parents should regularly inspect toys in their home for broken parts, missing pieces or other hazards. The upcoming holidays provide a great opportunity to ‘clean out’ the toy box (and make room for new toys)! Do not hesitate to throw out toys that are worn or broken. Toys that require battery power should be checked to ensure that batteries are not leaking or accessible to children. It’s always a good idea to periodically wipe down all of the toys your children play with—especially when you have multiple children in the house.
We know the trust you place in us to ensure we are doing everything possible to keep children safe and out of harm’s way. That is why we have partnered with Safe Kids USA to develop the following baby-proofing tips. The tips make it easy for parents, caregivers and those who love a little one to take a simple, room-by-room approach to baby-proofing their homes.
Throughout The Home
- Parents should get on the floor on their hands and knees so they are at children’s eye level. Look for and remove small items such as jewelry, coins, buttons, pins, nails and stones. Keep these and other small items out of babies’ reach.
- Place smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors throughout the home. Teach children how to respond to the alarm and push the “test” button on the detector so everyone will know the sound it makes. If the alarm sounds for real, go outside immediately and call 9-1-1.
- Always watch babies when they are playing. Play is even more valuable when adults become involved and interact with their children rather than supervising them from a distance.
- Install handrails on both sides of every set of stairs, and always keep the stairs well lit and clear of loose items, like toys, to avoid falls.
- If babies or toddlers live in or visit your home, use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs and across entryways to prevent falls.
To view an informational video on safety gates developed by Consumer Reports, copy and paste the following link into your web browser: http://video.consumerreports.org/services/player/bcpid28221106001?bctid=28223940001
- Small rugs should be removed or secured to the floor with tape to avoid tripping or slipping on them.
- Place covers over open electrical outlets. Infants and toddlers can insert metal objects (forks or keys) into outlets, causing electrical burns.
- Plastic bags can cause suffocation, so be sure to keep them out of children’s reach.
- All windows above the first floor should be equipped with window guards – preferably guards with emergency release devices in case of fire. Babies can fall from windows open as little as four inches.
- Install cordless window blinds, or cut the ends and retrofit with safety tassels. Tie up all window blinds and drapery cords so children cannot reach them. The inner cords of blinds should be fitted with cord stops.
- Never leave babies alone on changing tables, beds, couches or other furniture. Always put babies in carriers on the floor, not on top of a table or other furniture.
- Never use baby walkers on wheels. Use stationary activity centers to keep babies in a safe location, but supervise at all times.
- Use corner guards on sharp table and fireplace corners to prevent bumps and scrapes.
- Do not allow babies access to household appliances where they could become trapped, such as refrigerators or dryers.
- The tub can be slippery, posing a risk of slips and falls for children, and even adults. Place non-slip strips on the tub surface and install a grab bar in the tub or shower to prevent injury.
- Keep the bathroom floor clean and dry by using a bath mat with a non-skid bottom next to the tub and shower. Always clean up spills as soon as they happen.
- Children can drown in one to two inches of water, so never leave a young child alone in the shower or tub, not even for a second. Always stay within reach of the child while she or he is in/near the water.
- Excessively hot water from the tap causes thousands of burns every year, some of which can be fatal. To prevent burns, keep the water heater set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or just below the medium setting. Use a thermometer to test the water temperature before giving a child a bath.
- Be aware of common household materials that can be poisonous to children, such as medicines, cleaning supplies, cosmetics, medical supplies and matches and lighters. Always read the labels and take special precaution when they are marked with words such as “Caution,” “Warning,” “Danger,” “Poison” or “Keep Out of Reach of Children” on the box or bottle. All medicines and cleaning products should have child safety caps. Use slide locks to keep these items out of reach from children.
- 1-800-222-1222 is the number for poison control. Call if you have a question about poisons and keep the number next to every phone, along with 9-1-1 and other emergency numbers.
- Locks should be used on the toilet to keep the lid down and on the outside of the bathroom door to keep children out.
- Keep all electronics with cords away from the sink and the tub or shower, including hairdryers, curling irons, electric shavers and electric toothbrushes, to prevent electric shock. Always unplug appliances after using them.
- Use stove knob covers or a stove guard to prevent children from accidentally turning on the burners or oven.
- Children should stay at least three feet away from the stove to prevent burns. When cooking, also keep children away from the stove and keep a close eye on them at all times. To establish boundaries, put a tape outline on the floor around the stove and teach children to stay away from that area.
- Never leave the kitchen while cooking, and always turn pot handles toward the back of the stove to prevent small children from pulling down a hot pan onto themselves.
- If clothes do catch fire, “Stop, Drop, Roll” by dropping immediately to the ground, crossing hands over the chest and rolling back and forth to put out the flames. Then immediately cool the burned area with cool water and call for help. Ensure children are familiar with this tip.
- Food that has been microwaved can be dangerously hot. Always remove contents from a microwave with oven mitts and be sure to test the food’s temperature before giving it to a child.
- Heat bottles with warm water and test before feeding. Never microwave a baby’s bottle.
- Never hold a child while carrying hot food or drinks. Food or drinks that don’t feel particularly hot can still burn a baby’s sensitive skin. For extra protection, use a commuter mug with a lid.
- Make sure babies are sitting down and belted into their high chair or booster seat when eating.
- Install drawer latches to prevent children from accessing sharp or breakable items, fire tools and other dangerous products that might be located in the kitchen.
- Remove tablecloths from tables and do not place hot foods or liquids near the counter or table's edge on the kitchen or dining room table. Youngsters may tug on the material, causing hot food and/or sharp or breakable items to fall on them.
- Use furniture wall straps to attach heavy pieces like bookcases and dressers to the walls so nothing tips over if the child tries to climb on them.
- Use a fireplace guard to keep children away from the heat and residue of fires.
- Know which houseplants are poisonous and keep them where babies can’t reach them.
- Make sure all railing slats are secure and no more than 3 ½ inches apart. Securely attach mesh or plastic barriers to cover openings greater than 3 ½ inches.
- Babies need a safe crib to sleep in. They should never sleep on couches, chairs, regular beds or other soft surfaces and should never share a bed with a sibling or parent(s).
- Buy a crib that meets all current national safety standards. Corner posts should be 1/16 inch or shorter and they should be the same height as the end panels. The distance between crib slats should be 2 ⅜ inches or less and the crib shouldn’t have sharp or jagged edges.
- Thoroughly read directions when assembling, using and caring for cribs and other furniture.
- Be sure to inspect a baby’s crib regularly to make sure there are no loose, broken or improperly installed screws, brackets or other hardware. Make sure the crib has a firm, tight-fitting mattress (no more than two fingers of space between crib and mattress) and that it is free of all plastic wrappings.
- Use tight-fitting bottom sheets that are made for crib mattresses. Never use adult sheets as a substitute.
- Remove pillows, comforters, pillow-like bumper pads, stuffed toys and other soft products from the crib before putting baby to sleep.
- Bumper pads, if used, should fit around the entire crib, tie or snap into place, and have straps or ties at least in each corner, in the middle of each long side, and on both the top and the bottom edges. To prevent babies from becoming entangled, trim off excess length after tying.
- Bumpers should be removed as soon as your child can pull to a standing position.
- Never hang anything on or above a crib with a ribbon longer than 7”.
- Lay babies on their backs, facing up. Use a zip-up sleepsack to keep them warm.
- Use safety night lights in the bedroom, hall and bathroom that children cannot pull out. Keep night lights at least three feet from bedding and other materials that can catch on fire.
- Use furniture wall straps to attach heavy pieces like bookcases and dressers to the walls so nothing tips over if the child tries to climb on them.
- Move furniture, such as cribs, beds and chairs, away from windows in children’s rooms to keep their attention away from the window.
- A playard should be securely assembled. Ensure that all pieces are attached correctly and securely, and only look for mesh that is less than ¼ inch in size.
- Move baby monitors and other items with cords away from the crib.
- When changing a baby, always use the safety belt on the changing table.
At Toys“R”Us®, we know how much kids enjoy summertime – school is out and days are filled with fun-in-the-sun activities like bike riding, swimming and playing outdoor games with siblings and friends. But, did you know that accidental injuries peak during the summer months?
Since nothing is more important to Toys“R”Us than the safety of our children, we have teamed up with Safe Kids USA to create this list of important safety tips to help you and your kids prevent accidental injuries and have a safe and happy summer.
- At the start of the summer, inspect bikes for safety by checking for loose bolts, under- or over- inflated tires, faulty brakes and gears, and rusty or deteriorating structures.
To ensure maximum control when riding, decrease the likelihood of accidents and improve overall comfort, a bike must be the right size for the rider. When in doubt, check with an associate at your local Toys“R”Us store to assist with the following assessments:
- A child should stand flat-footed on the floor and straddle the bike.
- At that point, the child should have a minimum of 2” clearance between their inseam and the top bar of the bike’s frame. If there is no top cross bar on the bike’s structure, the same 2” rule should apply while imagining a bar in place.
The following general guidelines can also be used as a reference when determining the right size bike for a child, dependent on age and height:
Ages 1½ to 4 (26” tall to 38” tall) = 10” and 12” bikes
Ages 4 to 8 (34” tall to 48” tall) = 16” bike
Ages 6 to 11 (36” tall to 54” tall) = 20” bike
Teen (54” tall to 60” tall) = 24” bike
- Adult (62” tall+) = 26” bike
- Ensure brake cables and pads are working properly. Try the brakes each time before riding for safer stops.
- Tires must be properly inflated. Under-inflated tires could mean poor traction when a child needs it most, and over-inflated tires could blow out causing a child to lose control. Use the manufacturer’s instructions on the tire sidewall as a guide.
- Make sure to watch for potholes, cracks, rocks, wet leaves, storm grates, railroad tracks or anything that could cause a rider to lose control of the bike.
- Teach kids to ride so drivers can see them. Children should not ride alone or stray far from home.
- Children should not ride after dark, especially without wearing retro-reflectors or other visible, protective gear.
- Don’t forget to remind kids to always look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Riders should dismount the bike and walk on the crosswalk to the other side of the street, only when it’s clear.
- When riding with friends or family, bikers should always ride behind one another and with the flow of traffic, not against it.
- Red lights, stop signs and all other traffic signs and signals should be respected at all times when riding. And, remind kids to give cars and pedestrians the right of way.
- Riders should wear a bicycle helmet that meets the safety standards developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Scooter and Skateboard Safety
- Even the most experienced scooter, skateboard and bike riders wear helmets, elbow and knee pads, and additional protective gear each and every time they go out – as should your child.
- Shock absorbing pads with adjustable straps and air vents are most efficient in ensuring safety.
- Most protective gear comes in small, medium and large sizes to provide the perfect fit.
- Kids should never hold onto cars or other vehicles while riding; nor should they wear anything that restricts hearing, including listening to radios, MP3 players or phones via ear pieces while riding.
- Whether riding a bike, skateboard or scooter, the above general safety guidelines apply to all riders at all times.
Choosing the Right Helmet for Safe Riding
- Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, wearing a helmet is essential, as no piece of gear is more important. Make sure to choose a helmet that is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Ensure the child’s helmet of choice fits properly. When in doubt, check with an associate at your local Toys“R”Us store to assist with the following guidelines:
- Rim of helmet should be 1 – 2 finger-width above the eyebrows
- Adjust helmet straps so they form a “V” just beneath the earlobe
- Helmets should always be worn with the chin strap buckle fastened and the strap pulled tight – make sure the buckle is flush against the skin under the chin when the child’s mouth is open
- A helmet needs to fit snugly on the head from day one. Don’t buy a helmet that is too big in anticipation of future use.
To view an informational video on bike helmets developed by Consumer Reports, copy and paste the following link into your web browser. http://video.consumerreports.org/services/player/bcpid28221106001?bctid=30321251001
Backyard and Street Safety
- Supervise children carefully while playing outside
- Before summer play, inspect swing sets and regularly used play areas for hazards like product deterioration, unstable parts, electric wires, cords or lack of protective barriers (i.e. fences around pools).
- Use safety gates or other barriers to keep younger children away from areas unfit for their age or abilities, including the top and bottom of stairs. However, supervision is paramount.
- Teach children to use playground and playing fields with rubber, wood, mulch or sand surfaces. Grass and dirt are not as good at preventing serious injuries. Avoid asphalt.
- Kids should never play in the road. Warn drivers of children at play by using curb-side safety signs. Also, teach children that if a ball rolls into the street, to look left, right and left again for danger before walking, not running, to retrieve it.
- Children should try to dress in bright colors or wear retro-reflective materials so drivers can easily see them.
- Always keep First Aid kits on hand in case of emergencies ranging from bee stings to splinters to cuts, bumps and bruises.
Pool and Water Safety
- Inspect in-ground and above-ground pools, and surrounding areas, for hazards like electric wires, cords or lack of protective barriers (i.e. fences around pools). Make sure the pool has a new drain cover that reduces the danger of entrapment.
- Install pool fences that go all the way around the pool and are at least 4 feet high. Fences should have self-closing and self-latching gate. Lock the gate when there is no adult on duty as the designated ‘water watcher.’
- Always watch children near water and teach them never to swim alone. Leaving children unsupervised is dangerous, even when safety gates and other precautions are in place.
- Following a fun day in a backyard wading pool or on the waterslide, be sure to empty the water and turn the pool over, so children do not have access to the water.
- Teach kids to swim when they're ready. New research shows that swim lessons can be helpful for very young children (1-4 years old). Teach your child to swim as soon as you think he or she is ready. Children should always wear the right type and size lifejacket when in or around water.
- Enforce ‘No Horseplay’ rules - children should not run, push or jump on others around water.
- Learn infant and child CPR and other life-saving, First Aid maneuvers.
Toys“R”Us offers a broad selection of bikes, boards, toys, pools, swing sets, gear and accessories to help parents make the summer months safe and fun for the entire family. The following are examples of some of the summer play items available at Toys“R”Us stores and www.Toysrus.com.
- Bikes, Scooters and Skateboards
- Helmets and Protective Gear
- Safety Gates
- Swing Sets
- Pools, Waterslides and Water Toys
- Flotation Devices and Swimmies
- Pool Covers and Locks
- Safety Signs
- First Aid
We’ve also teamed up with the Injury Free Coalition for Kids to provide you with information about what you can do to keep your kids safe, happy and healthy as they play during the summer months. The tips for staying safe on the playground listed below were developed by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids’ network of emergency room physicians based on their years of experience in treating accidental injuries.
Parents Playground Injury Prevention Checklist
Supervise children at the playground
- Make sure the playground has few or no blind spots. You need to be able to see the children you want to supervise.
- Remove all drawstrings from children’s clothing before they enter the playground. Other loose objects like necklaces should also be removed.
- Never let a child play on playground equipment wearing a bicycle helmet. While a child should always wear a bicycle helmet while riding his or her bike, he or she should remove it before playing at the playground because of the potential strangulation hazard.
Check the equipment
- Know which types of equipment are appropriate for your child’s age and make sure that he or she plays on the appropriate equipment for his or her age group.
- Check the equipment’s temperature before letting children play on it. Metal equipment can cause serious burns in hot, sunny weather. Metal equipment, particularly slides, should be in shaded areas.
- Make sure elevated surfaces, like platforms and ramps, have guardrails to prevent falls.
- Make sure that all spaces on equipment measures less than 3½ inches or more than 9 inches. Spaces between these two measurements an entrap children.
- Make sure there is no dangerous hardware like protruding bolts and open S-hooks that would catch a child’s clothing. The gap in S-Hooks should not admit a dime.
- Check the equipment for sharp edges or points that could cut a child’s skin.
- Check the playground regularly to see that the equipment is in good condition and free of missing or broken or missing parts, and/or hardware. Wood equipment should be free of rot and splinters and plastic equipment should not be cracked.
Examine the surfacing
- Check the playground’s surfacing to make sure it’s appropriate. Acceptable surfaces include loose-fill materials such as engineered wood fiber, shredded rubber, and sand or pea gravel. Without consistent maintenance these surfaces can leave hazardous materials in harm’s way. Other options include synthetic surfaces such as rubber tiles, mats or poured surfaces. Hard surfacing like asphalt, concrete, dirt and/or grass should never be used on or under equipment.
- Make sure the loose-fill material is at the proper depth. Most playground safety groups recommend 12 inches of loose-fill material.
- Check to make sure that appropriate surfacing is under all equipment and its use zones. Generally zones for equipment are six ft in all directions. For swings the length of the fall zone should be twice the height of the beam from which the swing hangs.
Teaching Your Child About Playground Safety
Safe playground equipment, proper surfacing and adult supervision are extremely important, but it's only part of the equation: Kids must know how to be safe and act responsibly at the playground. Here are some general rules to teach your child:
- Never push or roughhouse while on jungle gyms, slides, seesaws, swings, and other equipment.
- Use equipment properly - slide feet first, don't climb outside guardrails, no standing on swings, etc.
- If you jump off equipment, make sure that you check to make sure that there are no other children are in the way. When you jump, land on both feet with knees slightly bent.
- Playground equipment should never be used if it is wet because moisture causes the surface to be slippery.
- During the summertime, playground equipment can become uncomfortably or even dangerously hot, especially metal slides. So use good judgment - if the equipment feels hot to the touch, it's probably not safe or fun to play on.
Whether it’s a quick trip to the store, an extended vacation, an overnight stay at Grandma’s or a stay at a hotel, creating a safe environment for young travelers should always be a priority. Toys“R”Us, Inc. is committed to helping keep infants, toddlers and older kids safe and happy. To prevent injury when on-the-go and away from home, we have teamed up with Safe Kids USA to create helpful travel safety tips.
Preparing for Travel
- Before leaving home, discuss travel rules, itinerary and emergency contact information with older children. If a child is too young to remember, safely store this information in his/her personal belongings, like a backpack.
- Keep a recent photo of your child handy in a wallet, envelope or key chain in case he/she wanders away from you.
- Parents and caregivers should plan a team approach to ensure safe travels with kids. While one adult keeps a watchful eye on young travelers, the other can handle the travel logistics.
- If your travels include an extended stay at a friend or relative’s home, discuss the importance of creating a safe environment for your children with your host. Provide advice about installing safety devices in the home, such as outlet covers, safety gates, portable monitors, cabinet locks, and self-closing and self-latching gate around home swimming pools to prevent injuries during your stay.
- Memorize the poison control hotline number: (800) 222-1222. This toll-free number will connect you from anywhere in the United States to the local poison control center.
- When packing, keep all of your baby’s travel items together in one diaper bag to ensure quick and easy infant care. In addition to extra clothes, diapers and wipes, the bag should include drinks, snacks and safe toys for entertainment.
In a Car
- Never leave your child alone in the car, even if it’s just to run a quick errand.
- When you travel, bring your child’s car safety seat. You will need to use it for the trip to and from the airport as well when you arrive at your destination.
Secure young children in a car safety seat. When choosing the proper seat for your child, follow some simple guidelines:
- Keep babies rear-facing for as long as the car safety seat allows. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until at least age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.
- Use an upright forward-facing car seat for as long as the harness permits. Many harnesses go to 50, 65 or even 80 pounds to protect toddlers and preschoolers.
- Once your child has outgrown a car safety seat and is between the ages of four and eight and 40 to 80 pounds, he/she should ride in a booster seat. Children should remain in the booster seat until the vehicle seat belt is properly positioned on the body, which usually happens between the ages of eight and 12, a height of 4’9” and 80 to 100 pounds. Use Safe Kids’ Safety Belt Fit Test to learn when your child is ready for a seat belt. The laws regarding booster seats differ in each state, so check safekids.org to learn about your state law. Use a booster seat even if your state does not have a law.
- Keep all children under the age of 13 in the back seat. Never place a rear-facing car safety seat in the front passenger seat. All children should be seated away from front passenger airbags.
- Position harness straps through the correct slots and tighten so they are snug. Loose straps can allow children to climb out of seats or be ejected in a crash. Once buckled, you should not be able to pinch the webbing when tested at the shoulders.
- Find a car safety seat check at safekids.org to ensure your child’s car safety seat is correctly installed. A certified child passenger technician will teach you about proper installation, which will help every time you have to move or reinstall your car safety seat.
- Take frequent driving breaks so young travelers can stretch and the driver stays alert.
- Before hitting the road, secure all loose items in the car that may become projectiles during a sudden stop or crash.
- Make sure that door locks are engaged while the vehicle is in motion.
- Driving and childcare cannot occur at the same time. Should your baby need attention, pull over and stop the car first, then care for your baby.
- Remember to pack plenty of age-appropriate, soft and portable toys and games, as well as movies and music to keep children occupied and entertained during long trips.
On a Plane
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recommendations for flying with your little one when you’re visiting family and friends far away or taking a vacation that requires air travel. To help you provide the safest, smoothest trip for your child, follow these tips from the FAA:
- When on a plane, holding a child on an adult’s lap is not the safest option. Children who ride in a safety seat when in the car should ride in one when on a plane.
- Whenever possible, buy a child his/her own seat on the plane so that an approved car safety seat with a harness can be used. Most airlines offer a discount for children under the age of two – check with your carrier.
- Keep in mind that car safety seats are not allowed in exit rows and must be installed in a window seat.
- If you don’t purchase a ticket for your child, consider asking your airline if it will allow you to use an empty seat. If this is permitted, try to avoid the busiest days and times to increase the likelihood of finding an empty seat next to you.
- Ask your airline if it can provide a safety seat for your child. If so, you may not be allowed to bring your own seat on board and may be asked to check it as baggage.
- Make sure your child’s car safety seat has “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” Printed on its label. Otherwise, you may be asked to check it as baggage.
- In general, your car seat should fit in most airplane seats if it is no wider than 16 inches.
- The FAA recommends that a child weighing less than 20 lbs. use a rear-facing seat, and a child from 20-40 lbs. use a forward-facing seat.
- Children who weigh more than 40 lbs. should use an airplane seat. While booster seats enhance safety in vehicles, the FAA prohibits these types of devices on airplanes during taxi, take-off and landing.
- Adult travelers should buckle up, too. Children learn safety behavior by watching parents and caregivers.
- Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.
- Arrange for your airline to assist you if you need help making a connecting flight. Carrying a car seat, your child and other luggage can be challenging.
- Always travel with a first aid kit in case of any unexpected cuts or scrapes.
- When selecting toys, consider your child’s age, interests and skill level. Look for quality design and construction, and follow age and safety recommendations on labels.
- Make sure to pack a helmet and other protective gear if you know you child will be biking, skating, skateboarding, skiing or riding a scooter.
- The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a well-fitting sheet. Cradles and bassinets may be used, but choose those that are JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certified for safety.
- Put your baby to sleep on his/her back, facing up.
- Bring your own folding playpen, instead of relying on borrowed cribs. If you must use a hotel’s crib, inspect it carefully for broken or missing parts and look up the model on www.Recalls.gov to make sure it isn’t subject to any safety notices.
- Do not place pillows, soft bedding, toys or anything in your baby’s crib.
- Babies should never share a bed with a sibling or parent(s) nor sleep on couches, chairs, regular beds or any other soft surfaces.
- When using any kind of highchair, make sure the waist and middle straps are secure.
- Minimize spills and avoid potentially slippery situations by using snack containers with sealed lids.
- When in the car, pack snacks that are chewable and/or dissolvable to prevent choking hazards.
- Don’t let children under the age of three eat small, round or hard foods such as hot dogs, grapes, hard candy, nuts or popcorn.
- Soft, adaptable utensils should be included in your luggage to prevent the danger associated with infants and toddlers using adult utensils.
- If you are planning an extended vacation or you travel frequently, it may be a good idea to look into purchasing a portable highchair that provides baby a safe place to eat when away from home.
In a Crowd
- Actively supervise your children at all times. Keep them close to you and/or know where they are. Make sure your children know in advance that they cannot leave your side without permission.
- Dress children in brightly colored clothing so they are easy to spot in a crowd.
- Make sure children younger than ten always cross streets with an adult. Teach children to cross streets at corners and look left, right and left again before crossing.