BURLINGTON People who are grandparents today grew up in a world without car seats, smoke alarms or bike helmets, but also fewer cars on the road and fewer fire hazards in the home. Parents of young children need to let their own parents know that important changes have been made in childcare, says Susan Victory, Program Manager of Vermont Childrens Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care and Safe Kids Vermont Coalition coordinator. Accidental injury remains the number one killer of children ages 14 and under, but modern safety devices contributed to a 45-percent drop in accidental child deaths from 1987 to 2002. A grandparents home might not be childproofed with safety gates on the stairs, locks on the cabinets, a fence surrounding the pool and all potential poisons including medicine, cleaning products and alcohol locked out of reach. Before a child comes to visit, a relative who doesnt have young children at home should look for potential hazards at and below a childs eye level, says Victory. Pick up any small objects that could be a choking hazard, tie the cords of window blinds out of reach and lock up any matches or lighters. Safe Kids Vermont offers these reminders for grandparents who babysit occasionally:
Under Vermont law, all children up to the age of 8 years must ride in an approved child restraint system (car seat or booster seat) whenever they are in a moving car. All children 8-16 years of age must ride in an approved child restraint system or safety belt system. Follow the manufacturers instructions carefully, and dont hesitate to call the manufacturers toll-free number if you have any questions regarding the appropriate installation of a car seat or booster seat or you can contact the Vermont Tot-Seat program at 1-888-Tot-Seat or at their website vthighwaysafety.com. Children under 13 years old should always sit in the back seat. 1.) In a car, always buckle up yourself your grandchildren learn by watching you! 2.) Set your water heater to 120F or below to prevent scald burns. 3.) Make sure your grandchildren always wear a helmet when riding a bike, scooter, skateboard or inline skates. For skating and scooters, knee pads are also recommended. (Caregivers need to wear proper safety equipment too remember youre a role model!) 4.) If there are firearms in the home, store them unloaded and locked up, and lock the ammunition in a separate place. 5.) Keep the number of the Poison Control Center hotline, 800-222-1222, next to every phone in the home. 6.) Learn first aid and CPR. Classes are offered through the American Red Cross and American Heart Association. 7.) In any hazardous setting on a playground, around pools or water, in the kitchen, near traffic, or near stairs or unlocked windows, for example children should always be under active supervision, in sight and in reach at all times, with an adult paying undivided attention. For more information about home safety and childproofing, call 802-847-7055 or visit
. Safe Kids Vermont works to prevent accidental childhood injury, the leading killer of children 14 and under. Safe Kids Vermont is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing accidental injury. Safe Kids Vermont was founded in 1990 and Vermont Childrens Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care is the lead organization.