12. Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are typically required by code, but often overlooked or neglected in the carefree pre-child days. Look for Underwriters Laboratories(UL)-approved carbon monoxide detectors, and install them in every sleeping room and at least 15 feet from any fuel-burning appliances (small releases of CO can set off the alarm). Consider a hard-wired smoke detector with battery backup, and test it monthly. Your local fire department will probably check the installation and placement of your smoke detectors for free.
13. Fire extinguishers and sprinklers: Parents might also want to take fire safety a step further than maintaining smoke alarms. Install multipurpose extinguishers in the kitchen and basement, and learn how to use them. Also consider retrofitting with a sprinkler system. Most important, have a family escape plan for fires.
14. Garage-door safety features: If you have an old garage-door opener, retrofit with automatic reverse and backup safety protection, such as an electric sensor that stops and reverses the door if it “sees” someone or something cross the door threshold. Also check your owners’ manual for instructions on testing and inspecting the garage door.
15. Family first aid kit: Keep a well-supplied first aid kit out of reach of children but easily accessible to adults. Stock it with a first-aid manual, bandages and gauze, cotton swabs, antiseptic wipes and cream, tweezers acetaminophen and Pedialyte or other electrolyte solution, which could help prevent dehydration.
From outlet covers to first aid kits, parents have plenty of options for keeping babies safe. Still, you can take it too far. Baby superstores are full of bathtub thermometers and small item testers. I can gauge the temperature of the bath with my wrist, and can guess if something fits in baby’s mouth without an extra gadget.
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