keeping children safe - Children`s Aid Society of Hamilton

keeping children safe - Children`s Aid Society of Hamilton
A Guide for Caregivers
Poscor Centre for Children & Families
26 Arrowsmith Road
P.O. Box 1170, Depot 1,
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 4B9
Phone: 905-522-1121
Emergency After Hours Service: 905-522-8053
Mission Statement
The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton, in partnership with
families and our community, is committed to the safety,
protection and well-being of children and the strengthening
of families, while valuing diversity and promoting equity.
Car Seat Safety 5
Farm Safety 8
Fire Safety 9
Fire Prevention Tips10
Developing A Fire Escape Plan
Fire Escape Plan12
ABCs of Safe Sleep15
Safe Sleep17
Safety Around the Home22
Safety Around the Home - Safey Checklist
Water Safety26
Resources & Contact Information
The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton understands that in
today’s world there are many factors to think about when
trying to keep children safe.
This booklet was created to support you in creating a safe
environment for children in and around your home. We hope
you will find the booklet informative and helpful.
Should you have any questions or concerns regarding any
of the information enclosed, please discuss your concerns
with your Child Protection Worker or contact the appropriate
resource listed within the booklet.
The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton
905-522-1121 •
Public Health
905-546-3550 •
Consumer Product Recalls
Ontario Poison Centre
Office of the Fire Marshal
1-416-325-3100 •
St. John Ambulance
905-387-1880 •
Ministry of Transportation
1-800-268-4686 •
Transport Canada
1-800-333-0371 •
Canadian Red Cross
905-522-8485 •
1-800-END-SIDS •
Be sure to check for
an expiration date
Family Doctor:_____________________________________________
Pediatrician: _______________________________________________
Child Protection Worker: _____________________________________
In case of EMERGENCY call 911
Car crashes are the number one cause of death for Canadian children
(MTO, 2011). Using a properly installed and appropriate car seat for your
child, can significantly reduce the chance of injury during a collision.
INFANTS: Birth to 9 kg (20 lbs)
• Rear facing
• 45 degree angle
• No more than 2.5 cm (1 in) of movement at anchor point
• The shoulder harness should come out below shoulder level
• Shoulder harness/strap should be flat against chest, not twisted • Chest clip should be secured at armpit level
• Allow only one finger of space between baby and harness at collar bone
• A child should remain rear facing until they are at least 20 lbs AND over
one year old.
TODDLER: 9-18 kg (20-40 lbs)
• Forward facing
• Must use a tether strap to secure
the seat from moving forward in a
• No more than 2.5 cm (1 in) of
movement at anchor point
• Shoulder harness should come out
at or above the child’s shoulders
• Chest clip should be secured at
armpit level
• Only allow one finger space
between strap and child’s chest.
You can get your car seat or booster seat installed or inspected
by certified car seat technicians at car seat and booster seat
clinics hosted by the City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services.
Call Health Connections at 905-546-3550
or visit for details.
Life jackets can help save lives when used appropriately.
• Ensure all life jackets have a label indicating it has been approved by
Transport Canada or for older models by the Canadian Coast Guard,
Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
• Ensure you are using the correct life jacket for the individual. For
children, life jackets are measured by weight, for adults, by chest size.
The life jacket should fit snugly.
• Ensure all buckles and
zippers are in good working
order and are secure when
in use.
• For children under age five,
choose a life vest with a
strap between the legs to
prevent it from riding up, and
with a neck support to keep
their face out of the water.
• Inflatable toys, water wings and puddle jumpers are not designed to
protect against drowning.
According to the Consumer Product and Safety Commission, fences
surrounding pools, ponds, hot tubs and spas should:
• surround the pool on all four sides;
• be at least 4 ft high (122 cm);
• be self closing and self latching;
• be locked when the pool is not in use.
Caregivers should empty all portable toddler pools and water tables after
each use. Keep young, non-swimmers within arms’ reach at all times.
Ensure you have first aid equipment and a phone in the pool area.
Consider becoming certified in First Aid and CPR and keeping that
certification current.
Drowning happens quickly and silently - often in only seconds. It is
one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Canadian children
ages one to four. A small child can drown in only a few centimeters of
water (enough to cover the nose and mouth). Young children most often
drown in backyard pools, toddler pools, the bathtub or at the beach.
• Children under five should be in arms’ reach of an adult at all times
when near water. Do not rely on older siblings or other children to
supervise young children.
• Always actively watch children around water – even if they can swim.
• Never leave a child alone in the bathtubor around any water (river,
toddler pool, sink or toilet, etc.).
• Consider requiring that all non-swimmers wear life jackets at all times in,
on or around water.
Never leave a child unattended
in a bathtub for any reason.
Health Canada does not
recommend the use of bath
seats/bath rings as children
have been injured by slipping
through the holes or tipping over
in the chair.
BOOSTER: Preschool to 8 Years, 18-36 kg (40-80 lbs)
• Seatbelts are designed to protect adults.
Booster seats raise the child up so that
the adult seatbelt works more effectively.
• A lap and shoulder combination belt
must be used with all booster seats.
• Your child’s head must be supported by
the top of the booster, vehicle seat or
• The shoulder strap must lie across the
child’s shoulder (not the neck or face)
and middle of the chest, and the lap belt
must cross low over the hips (not the
• Never use seatbelt adjusters.
YOUTH: 8 to 12 Years
Once your child can sit all the way against
the vehicle seat back with legs bent
comfortably over the edge of the seat, and
with the shoulder belt flat across the shoulder
and chest, he/she is ready to move from the
booster seat to the vehicle seatbelt.
• A child can use a seat belt only when the
child reaches one of these milestones:
weighs 36 kg (80 lbs) OR stands145 cm
(4 ft, 9 in) tall
• Never put the shoulder strap behind the
child’s back.
• Children under 13 are safest in the back seat.
In order to prevent burns, set
your hot water heater to 49
degrees celsius, or lower.
Always test the water
temperature before placing a
child in the bathtub.
For help installing your car seat securely contact your local Public Health
Department at 905-546-3550 or St. John Ambulance:
How Safe Is YOUR Home?
To make your farm more child safe, here are several things you can do to
protect them and yourself:
Yes No N/A
□ □ □ All exits in our home are clear and easy to access
□ □ □ All matches, lighters and fire-starting materials are stored
out of reach of children
□ □ □ All children are secured in an appropriate car seat for
EVERY trip in the car
□ □ □ Children are never left alone in the bath tub or near any
other body of water (kiddie pool, river, backyard pool, etc.)
□ □ □ Infants are placed to sleep alone on their backs in a crib,
cradle or bassinet
□ □ □ All unused electrical outlets are covered
□ □ □ The thermostat on the water heater is set to 49 degrees
celsius or less to prevent burns
• Inspect your farm for hazards that could lead to injury, involve your
children in the inspection and explain the potential hazards.
• Give older children age-appropriate tasks. Remember, they are
children - not small adults.
• Make sure children receive and understand safety training before each
• Never allow extra riders on any equipment.
• Check your provincial laws to learn the legal age for operating farm
• Keep work areas neat and clean, and keep machinery in good repair.
• Make grain bins and work areas off-limits to children. It takes only two or
three seconds to become helplessly trapped in flowing grain.
• Keep children away from farm chemicals. Store the chemicals in a
cabinet, room or building that can be locked.
• Keep children away from animals, especially in livestock-handling areas.
A calm animal can become dangerous if it or its offspring feel threatened.
• Fence farm ponds and manure pits, or any other source of water that
could be hazardous to children.
Farm Safety Association: Fact sheets about the risks and hazards;
developmental and age appropriate tasks;
Safe Kids Canada: Flyers, posters and the North American Guidelines on
Children’s Agricultural Tasks.
Farm Safety 4 Just Kids: Many resources including downloadable fact
sheets, games, puzzles and activity page for children.
The more ‘Yes’ boxes you can check, the safer your home.
Plans to address any identified safety concerns: ____________________
How Safe Is YOUR Home?
Complete this safety checklist to find out!
Yes No N/A
□ □ □ Medication is stored out of reach of children
□ □ □ Alcohol is stored out of reach of children
□ □ □ All cleaning products and poisonous products are stored
out of reach of children
□ □ □ Knives, scissors and other sharp objects are stored out of
reach of children
□ □ □ Sources of water (pool, hot tub, ravine) are fenced and
secured with a locked gate
□ □ □ Tools are secured and any power tools are stored in a
locked cabinet
□ □ □ Guns and firearms are stored unloaded in a locked
container with ammunition stored separately
□ □ □ All windows and screens above the first floor (windows,
balcony doors, etc.) are adequately secured using safety
latches or locks
□ □ □ Large pieces of furniture (dressers, TV, shelves, mirrors)
are secured to the wall to prevent toppling
□ □ □ Baby gates are in use at the top of all stairs
□ □ □ Blind cords are tied up and out of reach of children
□ □ □ No crib/bed/dresser is placed in front of a window
□ □ □ No bunk bed is placed under a ceiling fan
□ □ □ There are no locks on a child’s bedroom door
□ □ □ All exterior doors have functioning locks
□ □ □ All unused electrical outlets are covered
□ □ □ The thermostat on the water heater is set to 49 degrees
celsius or less to prevent burns
□ □ □ We have a home fire escape plan
□ □ □ We have working smoke alarms installed on every storey
of our home
□ □ □ We have a working smoke alarm installed outside all
sleeping areas
□ □ □ We have a working carbon monoxide detector installed
outside all sleeping areas
The Ontario Fire Code requires that working smoke alarms be installed on
every storey of the home and outside all sleeping areas. It’s the law! For
extra protection, the Office of the Fire Marshal recommends installing a
smoke alarm in every bedroom.
Tips to ensure your smoke alarm is in good working order:
• Test your smoke alarms once each month;
• Change smoke alarm batteries annually AND whenever the low-battery
warning sounds;
• Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
If your home has a fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached
garage, a carbon monoxide alarm should be installed adjacent to each
sleeping area. Fuel burning appliances include furnaces, hot water
heaters, gas or wood fireplaes, portable fuel-burning heaters and
generators, barbeques, stoves and vehicles.
• Alarmed and Ready (smoke alarm installation): 905-546-3382
• Arson Prevention Program for Children: 905-546-2424, ext. 7794
• Fire Station Tours: 905-546-3333, option # 4
• Volunteer Inspection Program: 905-546-3382
If clothing catches on fire:
▪ In dense smoke, crawl on floor to nearest exit
▪ Test every door for signs of fire
▪ Leave personal belongings behind
Once out, stay out!
• Keep bedroom doors closed while sleeping
• Store all flammable material away from heat sources
• Keep matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children
• Keep in mind that child-resistant lighters are not child-proof
• Teach young children not to touch matches or lighters and to tell an adult
if they find them
• Fireplaces and wood stoves should have screens to prevent sparks from
• Chimneys should be cleaned and inspected every year by a professional
• If anyone in the home smokes, they should smoke outside
• Adult smokers should have only one lighter or book of matches and
should keep it with them at all times
• Always stay in the kitchen when you are cooking
• Always blow out candles before leaving the room
• Keep lit candles away from items that can catch fire, such as toys,
clothing, curtains, Christmas trees and decorations
• Place candles in a sturdy, burn resistant container that won’t tip over and
is big enough to collect dripping wax
• Avoid overloading electrical outlets
• Extension cords should only be used as a temporary connection
• Check electrical appliances regularly for damaged cords and replace
loose, frayed or damaged cords immediately
• Don’t let trash accumulate in the attic, basement or garage
• Don’t run extension cords behind rugs or curtains
• Keep all exits in the home clear and easy to use
• If parents suspect their child is involved in inappropriate fire play they
should call their local fire department for information and assistance
• Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher labeled ABC for the kitchen,
basement and garage.
Medication poses a serious risk to
children and should be stored out of a
child’s reach and, whenever possible,
in a locked cabinet. When storing
medication in a purse or diaper bag,
always ensure the article is stored out of reach of children.
Keep in mind that child-resistant closures are not child-proof
and still require safe storage out of the reach of children.
• Alcohol should be stored out of reach of children or locked. • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 49 degrees Celsius or less
to prevent burns.
• All windows and screens above the first floor (windows, balcony doors,
etc.) should be adequately secured using safety latches or locks.
• There should be no locks on a child’s bedroom door (inside or out).
• Blind cords should be tied up and out of reach of children.
• Make sure plastic bags are kept out of the reach of children to prevent
• All unused electrical outlets should be covered.
• Put a barrier around fireplaces to prevent children from being burned by
hot surfaces, during and after use.
• Keep cords for electrical appliances, such as kettles and toasters, out of
the reach of children. Children can be injured if they pull an appliance off
the counter.
• All exterior doors should have functioning locks.
• Pools and other sources of water are to be fenced and locked.
• Tools should be stored out of reach of children and any power tools
should be stored in a locked cabinet.
• Guns and firearms must be stored unloaded in a locked container with
ammunition stored separately.
There are many potential
hazards for children in the
average home.
The following list provides
suggestions on ways to
improve the safety of
your home:
Develop a
Home Fire Escape
Plan Today...
It Could Save Your
Life Tonight!
Wall mounted baby gates must be used at the top of all
stairs. Pressure mounted gates are recommended at the
bottom of stairs and in doorways.
Large pieces of furniture (dressers, TV, shelves, mirrors)
should be secured to the wall to prevent toppling over.
No crib/bed/dresser should be placed in front of a window.
No bunk bed should be placed under a ceiling fan.
All cleaning products and poisonous products should be
stored out of reach of children and in a locked cabinet
whenever possible. Keep household chemical products in
original containers; never cover up or remove labels.
When cooking, turn pot handles
to the centre of the stove to
prevent children from pulling the
boiling water onto themselves.
Knives, scissors and other sharp
objects should be stored out of
reach of children.
Statistics show that most fire fatalities occur in the home
between 2:00 - 4:00 am, while occupants are asleep. That is
why it is critical to develop an escape plan so you can react
quickly during a fire. Quick response is extremely important
• The smoke is black and very thick making it impossible
to see;
• There is no time for indecision; a home can be engulfed
in five minutes;
• Most people are killed by smoke inhalation, not the flame
of the fire;
• The heat of the fire is extremely intense and can kill you
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
Office of the Fire Marshall (OFM):
Fire Marshal’s Public Fire Safety Council:
To create your family’s Fire Escape Plan,
use the grid enclosed (see page 13 & 14).
Draw a floor plan for each level of your home
keeping the points below in mind.
Include all possible emergency exits. Draw in all the doors,
windows and stairways. This will illustrate all possible escape routes at a
glance. Include any features that would help in your escape such as the roof
of a garage or porch.
Show two ways out of every room, if possible. The door will
be the main exit, however if the door is blocked by smoke or fire, identify an
alternate escape route such as a window. Make sure that all windows can
open easily and that everyone knows how to escape through them to safety.
Consider placing an escape ladder in bedrooms above the first floor.
Does anyone need help to escape? Decide in advance who will
assist the very young, older adults or persons with disabilities. A few minutes
of planning will save valuable seconds in a real emergency.
Choose a meeting place outside. This should be a safe distance
from your home and a place everyone will remember. A tree, street light or
neighbour’s home are all good choices. In case of a fire, everyone will go to
this meeting place to be accounted for.
Call the fire department from outside your home. Don’t waste
valuable time calling from inside. Once outside use a cell phone or
neighbour’s phone.
Once out, STAY OUT. Never re-enter a burning building for any reason.
Practice your escape. Walk through your escape route as a family,
making sure all options are practical and easy to use. Hold a fire drill twice a
year and time how long it takes to escape. Make sure everyone memorizes
escape routes. Knowing what to do can save precious time in a real
Health Canada does not recommend using bedside sleep
products that have one side lowered, as the space between
the adult bed and infant sleep product is too wide and a baby
may become trapped.
Babies should never be placed to sleep on standard beds,
water beds, air mattresses, couches, futons or chairs. A baby
can suffocate when sleeping on these unsafe surfaces.
Babies should never sleep on the same surface as an adult
or another child. Babies have been hurt or died because of:
• falling off an adult bed;
• being trapped between a mattress and headboard or
mattress and wall;
• being smothered by soft bedding (comforters/duvets) or
• being smothered while bed sharing with an adult,
particularly one who is extremely fatigued or impaired by
alcohol or drugs.
• Cords on window blinds, shades and curtains are a strangulation hazard.
Tie cords out of reach at all times.
• Place your baby’s sleeping area away from hazards such as windows,
patio doors, lamps, plugs, cords and small objects that could injure your
• Before putting your baby to bed, always scan the surroundings for
potential hazards. If hazards are identified, remove them.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use of any
baby or child product, particularly those used for sleep.
• Check regularly to make sure all hardware is secure and that there are
no damaged or sharp parts that may be dangerous.
Playpens are NOT intended to be used for unsupervised
sleep as they do not meet the same safety requirements and
are not as durable as cribs.
Health Canada does not recommend the use of sleep
positioners as babies can suffocate on them. Once a baby
can roll over they do not have to be kept on their back all
Health Canada does not recommend the use of bumper
pads as babies can suffocate if their faces become pressed
against the fabric. Additional concerns pertain to the long
strings/ties attached to bumper pads as a baby may become
tangled or strangle on the cords.
OTHER PRODUCTS (car seats, swings, strollers, etc)
It is not safe for a baby to sleep for long periods in strollers,
car seats, swings, bouncers, slings, etc. that keep the baby
in a seated semi-reclined position. In this position the baby’s
airway may become constricted causing breathing difficultly
and even death. Once you reach your destination or the
baby has been lulled to sleep move the baby to a crib, cradle
or bassinet.
Health Canada does not recommend placing a child younger
than two years on a bed with a portable bed rail as they may
become trapped between the rail and mattress. To keep
younger children safe if they fall out of bed, keep the floor
around the bed clear and use a crib mattress on the floor
beside the bed to cushion their fall. Health Canada
recommends only buying portable bed rails that meet the
latest ASTM International Standard.
Cradles that meet Canadian safety regulations are
appropriate places for your baby to sleep until he/she
reaches the maximum weight recommended by the
manufacturer OR until your baby can push up on his/her
hands and knees, whichever comes first.
• Do not use cradles with decorative cut outs or corner posts
that are more than 3 mm in height as these may cause
injury to the baby. Spacing between the bars should be no
more than 6 cm (2.4 in).
• The mattress must not be thicker than 3.8 cm (1.5 in).
• There must not be a gap more than 3 cm (1.2 in) between
the mattress and cradle sides.
Health Canada recommends that children under six years of
age should never use the upper bunk of bunk beds. Other
guidelines related to bunk bed use include:
• Only allow one person at a time on the top bunk.
• Teach your children to use the ladder and ensure the
ladder is always securely attached to the bed.
• Children should not be
allowed to play on the top
• Make sure the top bunk
has guard rails on all four
sides, even if pushed up
against the wall.
A crib that meets current Canadian Safety regulations is
the SAFEST place for your baby to sleep.
• A crib should not be used if the child is taller than 90 cm
(35.4 in) or is able to climb out of it, whichever comes first.
• Crib slats must be no more than 6 cm (2.4 in) apart on
all sides.
• The mattress must not be thicker than 15 cm (6 in) and
should be firm with no holes, tears or soft spots.
• Place the mattress support in its lowest position AND
remove mobiles and toy bars, as soon as your baby can
push up on his/her hand and knees.
• Bumper pads, stuffed toys or waterproof sheets should
NOT be used.
• Retighten all screws every three months and regularly
inspect the crib for
hazards such as holes, exposed bolt ends, broken or
missing parts.
Bassinets that meet current Canadian safety regulations are
appropriate places for your baby to sleep until he/she
reaches the maximum weight recommended OR can roll
over, whichever comes first.
• The mattress must not be thicker
than 3.8 cm (1.5 in).
• There must not be a gap of more
than 3 cm (1.2 in) between the
mattress and any part of the
bassinet’s sides.
It is recommended that caregivers follow the
ABC’s of Safe Sleep:
A is for Alone
B is for Back to sleep
C is for sleeping in a Crib
Reducing the Risk of
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
While the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has
declined in Canada, it remains the leading cause of death of
healthy infants. Current evidence demonstrates that unsafe
infant sleep environments can play a role in sudden infant
To help reduce the risk of SIDS, follow the guidelines below:
• Put your baby on his/her back to sleep for nap time and
bed time.
• Ensure the baby’s crib is empty aside from a mattress and
fitted sheet.
• Make sure the mattress is firm and fits tightly against the
sides of the crib.
• Avoid the use of heavy blankets, pillows, stuffed toys,
bumper pads and other soft items such as sleep wedges
or positioners.
• Instead of a blanket, consider a one-piece sleeper to keep
your baby warm. Blankets can cause suffocation if the
baby’s head gets covered during sleep.
The safest place for your baby to sleep is on his/her back, in
a crib, cradle or bassinet.
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada
recommend room sharing for the first six months of your
baby’s life. This involves placing your baby to sleep in a crib,
cradle or bassinet that is within arm’s reach of where you
• Make sure your baby does not get too warm or
overheated. Keep the room at a comfortable temperature
for you and baby will be fine.
• Keep your home smoke free. Cigarette smoke increases
the risk of SIDS (both prenatal and after birth).
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