Health & Safety Tips

Read these 18 Health & Safety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Kid tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Many seemingly harmless household products, such as table salt and aftershave, are toxic if ingested in a large-enough dose.

Keep these products away from children.

Vitamins: Ingesting just 15 of chewable children's vitamins can sicken a 25 lb child.

Nicotine: Eating one cigarette, three cigarette butts, a small handfull of chewing tobacco, or half a piece of nicotine chewing gum is enough to harm a child.
Leading to vomiting, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, breathing difficulty, abnormal heartbeats and seizures.

Salt: One to two teaspoons ingested by a 25 lb. child can cause irritability, lethargy, and possible seizures. More than 1 1/2 tablespoons can be fatal.

Nutmeg: One to three whole nutmegs, or 5 to 30 grams (about 3/4 tablespoon) of ground nutmeg, can produce redness of the face, increased heart rate, dry mouth, confusion, hallucinations, drowsiness, upset stmach, and vomiting. Symptoms occur three to eight hours after ingestion.

Mouthwash/Aftershave/Perfumes: Three mouthfuls of cologne containing 90% alcohol can cause vomiting drowsiness, or even coma in a 25 lb. child.


Parents Magazine March 1992



Aerosol Cans
Automotive Products
Bubble Bath
Charcoal Starting Fluid
Dish Detergents
Drain Cleaners
Epoxy Glues
Furniture Polish
Garden Sprays
Gun Cleaners
Hair Dyes
Jewelry Cleaner
Lamp Oil
Laundry Detergents
Lye Metal Cleaners
Moth Balls
Nail Polish/Remover
Oven Cleaner
Permanent Wave Solution
Pet Food Petroleum Products
Pine Oil
Plant Food
Rodent Poison
Shaving Lotion
Toilet-bowl Cleaner
Weed Killers
Window Cleaner
Wood Preservatives



If you find yourself afraid for the kids to go out to the sandbox to play because of what the neighborhood kitties may have left behind, try this tip.

Prevent any "land-mines" by sprinkling rock salt once a week, and if it does not rain that night, water it in at bedtime. The smell is a great deterrent, as well as the salt crystals irritate the pads of their feet.



Dehydration is a danger most often associated with children who have diarrhea and/or are vomiting or have a fever. However, extreme summer temperatures and activities that cause excessive perspiration can dehydrate a child as well. Babies are particularly vulnerable because they can't tell us when they are thirsty, and because their bodies lose water at a much higher rate.

You can help your child to avoid dehydration bylimiting the time spent outdoors during the hottest part of the day (between 11am and 3pm). Providing a sunhat for them to wear. In addition, offer them plenty of water or diluted fruit juice before, during and after outdoor activities (enough so that their urine is consistently pale).

Signs of dehydration are .Lack of tears
.dry skin, mouth and tongue
.sunken eyes
.greyish skin
.decreased urination
Call your doctor immediately if your child shows signs of dehydration.
Offer them an oral rehydration solution (available at most drugstores).



It's important that your kids, particularly small ones, know how to use the phone and how to dial 9-1-1. Be sure that you say one, one and not eleven because there is no eleven on the phone. Children might get confused in an emergency. Make certain that they understand exactly how and when to dial 9-1-1 for help at home.



If yout need an application of an ice pack, you can make your own easily and cheaply with water and rubbing alcohol.

Pour 3/4 cup water and 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol into a zippered storage bag and close. Put the bag into another bag, seal, and freeze. Because the alcohol doesn't freeze, you will end up with a nice flexible, slushy ice pack.

(Be sure to label the contents clearly so that no one will try to use it for anything edible.) Double or triple this recipe as needed to make the correct size to fit the area needing the ice.



1-1/3 cup powdered laundry detergent
1 quart hot water
1-1/3 cup pine oil
Mix detergent and water and stir slowly until detergent is completely dissolved. If the mixture gets foam, stop stirring and skim off the bubbles. Gradually add pine oil and mix well.
To use, dilute using 1 part disinfectant with 1 part water, except when cleaning high bacteria areas such as toilet bowls, etc. Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Keep out of reach of small children. Good for use on countertops and floors.



Before allowing your child to do a craft using a hot glue gun, or even a cool glue gun (which is still warm enough to soften the glue) you have to judge their ability to use it safely. I recommend allowing your child to practice with a cold glue gun. While you are watching carefully ask the child to show you how they would use the glue gun. Watch that they are keeping their fingers away from the tip, the glue that (would be) coming out of the gun and the project that just received the hot glue. When you are confident they realize where the "hot spots" are when working with the gun, then plug the gun in and continue to supervise it's use. Be sure you have a place to set the hot glue gun when it is not in use and the "rest" area is out of the way and cannot burn or scorch anything around it. You can buy stands for this purpose and I recommend you use one if a child under the age of 16 is to use this tool. I use a ceramic tile when I use the gun, however, if the kids are using it I have a frame/stand I purchased just for them.



Even toddlers can enjoy working with paints, fat markers and crayons but constant, close adult supervision is absolutely essential to ensure their safety. Pieces of broken crayon and marker caps are choking hazards, and adults must be vigilant to prevent children from putting these items in their mouths. Be aware of these hazards not only at playtime but when it comes time to put the art materials away. Always choose a storage location, which is inaccessible to young children.



We can't wait to get outdoors and spend some time in the warm summer sun. Before you do be sure to read these tips to keep you and your children safe. The warm rays of the sun feel good on our skin. Too much sun can be harmfull, so be careful!

If you are in the sun between 11 am and 4 pm, wear long pants, long sleeves and a hat with a wide brim to protect your skin from sunburn.

Wear sunglasses that say UVA/UVB blocking.

unse a sunscreeen lotion or cream that is SPF 15 or more. SPF means SUN PROTECTION FACTOR. Using a higher SPF number gives you more protection from the sun.

Use a sunscreen that says "broad-spectrum" on the label. It will screen out most of the UVA/UVB rays.

Put sunscreen on your skin at least 20 minutes before you go out in the sun. Don't forget your lips, ears and nose. These parts of your body burn easily.

Sunscreen gets washed off by water and sweat. So, reapply sunscreen after swimming or if you are sweating.



If you live in a cold climate it is necessary to prepare your child's play equipment for the winter season. This will extend the life of the equipment. Sturdy, wooden play equipment, anchored in the ground can weather the outdoors, as can heavier plastic or metal models. Remove the swings from heavy equipment and bring indoors. Wooden play equipment will last longer with water sealer applied in the fall and spring.. Also check for splinters and sand rough areas. Smaller lighter-weight units, especially plastic, should go inside to avoid sharp edges from breakage.



If you ever get banged on your head or leg and there isn't anyone around to help you, remember that you can use a chilled bag of french fries, peas, or just about anything from the freezer that's not dangerous as an ice pack!



To make a convenient ice pack to soothe minor scrapes, bumps and bruises, wet a small sponge and freeze it in a zip-lock type plastic sandwich bag. Novelty shaped sponges are especially popular. When your child is injured, hold the pack on the injury. As the sponge defrosts, it will conform to the body's shape. Use a new plastic bag each time you refreeze the sponge.



Non-slip socks can become quite expensive. Try this idea. I buy plain socks (cheap!) and a tube of puffy fabric paint. I first wash the new socks and lay them out with the sole facing up. Use your imagination.
Paint poka-dots, zig-zags or pictures. Let dry 24 to 48 hours, according to the paint's directions.



If you suspect that your child is having trouble with hearing, language acquisition, or speech clarity, call your child's doctor. A hearing test may be one of the first steps in determining if your child has a hearing problem. Two years of age is not too young for a referral for a speech/language evaluation, particularly if your child is not following directions or answering "yes" or "no" to simple questions.
Other "red flags" that may indicate your child has a hearing problem are:
1. Hearing difficulties
2. Problems following directions
3. Poor vocabulary acquisition
4. Speech dysfluencies (difficulty initiating or sustaining sounds)
5. Delayed acquisition of phrasing skills
6. Unclear speech
A speech-language pathologist is an expert who evaluates and treats speech and language disorders. They may recommend direct therapy or a referral to a developmental pediatrician.
Problems - such as stuttering - may be a developmental process that some children will outgrow. For others, more intensive therapy may be needed. Medical professionals, such as speech pathologists, therapists, or your child's doctor, can help your child overcome these communication problems. Help your child relate to books by selecting stories that mirror families like yours or people from your cultural or ethnic group.
Keep books, magazines, and other reading material where your child is able to reach them without help. Help your child create his own "This Is Me" or "This Is Our Family" album with photographs or mementos. Talk with your child about books or TV programs and videos that you watch together.

preventing accidents


When your child is young, removing dangerous articles from their access will prevent potential danger. As your kids get older, and are able to understand direction, a helpful reminder of clear consistent rules will reinforce their good intentions. Do not expect children to know what's expected of them without being told. As they mature, keeping an open dialogue with plenty of "What do you think...?" type questions will be an excellent resource for them to build their own repertoire of solutions.



Going online is great fun - you can look up information for your school project, get some great hints for your favourite video game, or even just surf and find new things that interest you. Another great thing about the 'net is the fact that it is realtime. You can chat with new people, and make new friends instantly. But, when going on a chat line or service, be cautious! Though most are good, there are some people who have bad intentions. These people will use phony names and information to try to trick you to give out yours. Here are a few tips that you should excercise at all times, just to make sure you keep safe online:

1. Giving out your first name is okay. There are probably millions of people with your name online, but last names may allow someone to track you down, and giving these out is a bad idea!

2. It's not generally a good idea to tell anyone more than the state or province in which you live. If your parents approve, you can give out your city name, but be careful and catious.

3. Don't ask anyone else for information that would possibly make them feel uncomfortable, or they may become suspicious of you.

4. To avoid unexpected coincidences, don't give out phony information about yourself. If you don't want to tell anyone your name, for example, change the subject, or let them know this rather than making up a name.

5. All of these tips can be modified or eliminated by your parents. It is up to them to decide what is appropriate and what is not for you, and you should make sure that everything you do online is okay with them.

How can I get my children to take care of their teeth?

Brush Your Teeth PLEASE

Tired of telling your kids to brush their teeth? Bored of telling them to go back and do the job again because they appear to have done nothing other than briefly chew a toothbrush?
Does your jaw get repetitive strain injury from asking the same old question at least twice a day: "Have you brushed you teeth?"

Oh the joys of parenthood.

And then to top it all, the response to your twice-daily question invariably falls into one of two categories:
1. Whinging - "Awww, do I have to?" "Why do I have to do everything," "I brushed them this morning" etc.
2. Blatant lying - for example "Sure," in a clipped tone, as they run out the door.

Well the solution to your problem may lie in a little bit of reverse psychology.

If your kids are the type of children who, when you tell them they can't play on their DSI, want to do it even more, or when you, quite absentmindedly, mention that you need to buy more apple juice because you've run out, a completely unexpected drama commences where they reveal that they’ve ONLY EVER enjoyed apple juice, and that everything else tastes AWFUL by comparison, then this is definitely the tip for you.

The next time you're met with objections from your kids about brushing their teeth, point out that there's a new house rule. Tell them, that if they don't brush their teeth right now, they will not be able to brush their teeth again for a week.

(Don't panic at this point. It is important here to hold fast. Do not allow yourself to visualise a prospective, cavity ridden outcome.)

At first you may be met with a snigger. Maybe even a look of disdain. In fact, in some cases, the idea will greatly appeal to them, and a world without teeth brushing will seem pretty awesome.

(Again do not panic.)

Then you have to follow it through. The first night my kids went to bed without brushing their teeth, they thought it was fantastic. Though they were slightly bemused (and a little nervous when they saw me packing up their toothbrushes into little Ziploc bags.)

In the morning, my 5-year-old tested the waters “Can I brush my teeth Mom?”
He started to complain. He was feeling a little hard done by.
"New house rule. No."

By the time he came home from school, it was the first thing on his mind.
“Not for a week,” I replied.
“I’ll be good.”
That evening he cleared up the table after himself. He put on his pajamas AND put his clothes in the laundry basket. He cleaned his face and waited.
“OK,” I said, “You can brush your teeth because you've been extra good.”

My nine-year-old was a harder nut to crack, but even he, who would happily adapt to a full-time career as slob, managed a mere two days before he too was on his best behavior. “Please can I brush my teeth?"

Now when I say “teeth," they both run off and brush without one word of complaint. When we go to the dentist, they boast about being cavity free.

They complain to the dentist how their Mom did this terrible thing: She stopped them being able to brush their teeth; did he have any idea what can happen to your mouth if you don’t get to brush your teeth?
The dentist says he has some idea, as he knows a little about teeth, but nevertheless he shakes his head sympathetically.
Then he turns to me and smiles.

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