Safety at home during COVID-19 diagram

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has introduced us to all sorts of changes, like social distancing, working from home, and extended school breaks.

Many families are now at home with each other every day, and with this increased time at home comes an increased risk of injury for children. We’ve got some tips for keeping your family safe while social distancing.

Outdoor safety

Social distancing doesn’t mean families can’t enjoy the outdoors, and we encourage children to get outside for fresh air and play. The physical activity can help boost their mood and get some of their energy out. 

Stay away from playgrounds for the time being. It’s unclear how long the virus can linger on hard[WMA1] surfaces, such as swings and slides, so going to these public areas isn’t recommended. However, riding a bike or going for a family hike are great ways to enjoy the outdoors as the weather warms up.

Whether you live in a quiet neighborhood or busy area of your city, discuss traffic safety with your children. You don’t need to strike fear of the road or traffic in them; just be calm and clear in your lesson. Maybe even make a game out of it!

When riding bikes or scooters, or playing football or street hockey, wearing a helmet is an easy way to prevent injury.  Brains need that extra protection!

Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that bike helmets can reduce the odds of head injury by 50% and the odds of head, face, or neck injury by 33%. So, make sure your child wears a helmet, and that it fits securely by following these tips from our safety experts.

Internet safety

Tweens and teens live in an ever-connected world and getting on the internet is second nature to them. Review how to use the internet safely with them, especially if you can’t monitor their online activity throughout the day. Discuss how to use social media responsibly and allow your child to ask honest questions. 

You can also set parental controls to protect your kids from certain sites on the internet. If you need more tips, review this list of five steps parents can take to keep kids safe on the internet

Toy safety

You may be scrambling to find enough toys or activities for your children to play with right now. And although toys may seem like the least hazardous items in your home, there are some things to be aware of, like separating toys by age and keeping small pieces away from young children. 

Button batteries are found in toys, watches, and car key fobs. If swallowed, the battery starts releasing a charge as soon as it comes into contact with the moist lining of digestive or respiratory tracts, causing potential severe burns. 

Giving your children access to age appropriate toys is even more important if you’re working from home and need them to entertain themselves for a little bit. Eliminate choking hazards and have your children play in the same room that you’re working in, if possible.   

Medications (and other hazardous items) safety

Under normal circumstances, poison control centers receive one call every minute of every day. With children being home much more than usual, the risk of them finding medications or cleaners and accidentally ingesting them may be higher .

If you’ve recently brought new cleaning or disinfecting products into the house, make sure they are stored safely. Keep medications and other dangerous items (detergent pods, torch fuel, lawn mower gasoline, etc.) away from children. Also remember to properly dispose of medications that are no longer needed.

Lastly, save the Poison Help number in your phone, just in case: 1-800-222-1222.

Electrical safety

In our ever-connected world, it’s easy to forget the potential risks electrical outlets and items can pose to young children. 

To prevent fires or damage to the electrical system, make sure electrical outlets are not overloaded. Only use surge protectors and power strips that are “UL” (Underwriter’s Laboratory) certified, which means the product has met accepted safety standards.

Make sure to purchase electric cord covers and outlet covers to prevent children from chewing on cords or sticking their fingers in the sockets. Before using a cord cover, inspect your electrical cords to check for frayed ends. Worn cords can be a serious fire hazard.

Furniture safety

With more time at home, children may get bored and start making their own fun, like trying to climb on furniture or get on the computer. It’s important to make sure that all furniture—like desks, cabinets, bookshelves, and dressers—and TVs are secured to the wall to avoid tip overs.

Take the time to teach your children why they shouldn’t climb or pull on furniture or appliances so they understand the importance of being safe while at home.

Protecting you and your child’s health

There are some steps you can take to keep your child safe from COVID-19 even while social distancing.

Teach your children the importance of hand-washing for 20 seconds. You can sing “Happy Birthday” twice or make up a fun song to sing as you scrub.

Clean “high-touch” items and surfaces, such as keys, purses/backpacks, badges, phones, toys, door knobs, faucet handles, tables and counters often. 

If you need to go out in public, keep a social distance, use hand sanitizer, clean the handle of grocery carts and other items you touch, and avoid touching your face. Make sure to remove your shoes when entering your home, and wash your hands immediately.

If you or your child are feeling sick, isolate from others in your home as much as possible until you feel better. Make sure to clean surfaces around your home often, strive to get at least seven hours of sleep each night, and stay hydrated.