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The Safety Mistakes Even Good Moms Make

A Wide Reach

"I thought my two-year-old son, Thomas, was napping in his room while I was upstairs. Then I heard him make some noise, so I went to check and found him covered in baby powder. He'd reached over his crib rails to the changing table, grabbed the powder and wipes, and dumped nearly the entire container of white stuff all over himself. He was using half a dozen wipes to 'clean up.' Thankfully, the only damage was the mess he made, but it could've been much worse: He could've put everything in his mouth."
 --Sharyn, Athens, GA

How to stay safe:

Childproof your home. Toddlers are naturally curious, and this makes it easy for them to put their hands on things they shouldn't. Every year, more than 1 million unintentional poisonings among kids under 6 are reported to U.S. poison control centers. In Thomas's case, though baby powder isn't toxic, it can damage the lungs if it's inhaled. To prevent such accidents, you'll want to survey each room from a kid's point of view:

• Get down on your hands and knees and look carefully for any potential dangers between the floor and about three and a half feet above the ground.

• Remove items that are within reach from his crib and high chair.

• Check the carpet for buried items (such as pins, coins, and buttons) that your child could put in his mouth.

• Keep locked away  -- or at least out of reach  -- household products that may be harmful: cosmetics, art supplies, medicines, vitamins, and alcohol.

• Leave the toll-free number for the poison control center (800-222-1222) by your phone, and call right away if your child swallows something you think may be toxic.