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Show full transcript for Child Proofing the Home video

Child-proofing a home is essential to protect children against normal household items that could present a risk to them, such as sharp objects, and choking and electrical hazards.

Pro Tip: To see what a child sees, you have to get to their level. So, drop down to your hands and knees and begin crawling around the house looking for hazards that children can get into. You may be surprised what you notice seeing things from that perspective.

How to Child Proof a Home

There are a number of hazards in any home to be aware of, including:

  • Choking hazards. Any loose item that can fit into a child's mouth will likely end up … in a child's mouth. It takes just a few minutes to pick these items up and prevent a possible emergency.
  • Electrocution hazards. Items that may not be a choking hazard can still be put into an electrical outlet. If those items are metal, that could be a problem. Children are naturally curious and tend to exist according to the mantra, I wonder what happens if.
  • Burn threats. Young kids aren't big enough to reach the stove yet, but that doesn't mean that burn hazards don't exist. Watch where you put hot beverages like coffee, tea, and soup. On the edge of a low-lying tabletop that can be reached by an infant is a burn waiting to happen.
  • Staircase threats. Staircases are dangerous environments for small children. Keep doors to stairs closed or use an adjustable safety gate that fits into stairways. Also, keep stairs clear of items that everyone, adults included, can trip over.

Child-proofing a home will greatly help eliminate these unnecessary hazards. Prevention takes only a bit of time and effort, but it can make a huge difference in the health and lives of the children in that home.

A Word About Helping a Conscious Choking Infant

Since the biggest threat, and reason for child-proofing a home, is likely choking, let's take a look at the exact technique for helping a conscious choking infant.

You'll be performing a combination of back slaps and chest thrusts to try and dislodge the airway obstruction. But first, if there is a parent or legal guardian present, make sure to get permission before beginning the following procedure.

Back Slap and Chest Thrust Technique for Infants

  • Place your thumb and index finger over the baby's cheekbones and around the face. Make sure you're supporting the infant's head and neck.
  • Turn the infant over so they are facing down. Rest the infant's body on your forearm, so their legs are straddling your bicep.

Hold the baby at about a 30-45-degree angle, so the head is lower than the feet. This will allow gravity to assist, rather than hinder, your efforts.

  • Using your other palm, perform five back slaps between the infant's shoulder blades.
  • Using the same hand that you just used to perform the back slaps, hold the back of their head and neck and turn the baby over so they are facing up.
  • Draw an imaginary line across the infant's nipples and place two fingers on the sternum in the center of the infant's chest. Your fingers should be perpendicular to the chest, meaning your knuckles are directly above your fingers.
  • Make sure the head is lower, just like before, at around a 30-45-degree angle.
  • Perform five chest thrusts, much like you would when performing CPR on an infant.

It's important that you keep the infant's body stabilized when doing the back slaps and chest thrusts. If you allow the infant's body to move downward with each slap or thrust, you'll minimize the effects necessary to force enough air up the trachea to remove the obstruction.

  • Continue to perform a combination of back slaps and chest thrusts until the object comes out and the infant is breathing normally again.

If you called 911, let them come anyway, so the infant can be examined. EMS responders can check the choking victim's airway and listen to their lungs to make certain that there are no partial obstructions remaining. And they can do a quick assessment for internal bleeding or other damage.

If you did not call 911, it's always a good idea for you or someone else to take the infant into an urgent care center, hospital, or to see their physician to determine if more care is necessary.

This conscious infant choking procedure is around 80 percent effective if you perform the back slaps and chest thrusts properly.

If you couldn't remove the obstruction, the infant will go unconscious pretty quickly. Call 911 immediately and activate EMS or call in a code if in a healthcare setting. Then begin performing the unconscious infant choking procedure.