5 Hazards to Be on the Lookout for in Your Church Nursery
Do you do safety checks for your church nursery? If not, it's time to get started. Doing so will allow you to identify and address potential safety problems. Ensuring a safe nursery environment will not only protect the little ones, but it will also provide their parents with a valuable sense of security.
Window Covering Cords
Window covering cords seem harmless, but they can become strangulation hazards. It is recommended to keep all window cords well out of reach of children. Cribs should never be placed near them. Be sure to eliminate any dangling cords and ensure pull cords are kept as short as possible. You can also switch to cordless window coverings to create a safer environment for kids.
Do a periodic safety check of nursery cribs. Pointers from the U.S National Library of Medicine include ensuring:
- there is no missing, loose, broken, or poorly installed hardware
- there is no cracked or peeling paint
- there are no more than six centimeters between slats
- there are no missing or cracked slats.
A firm mattress and fitted sheet are all you need in a crib. Extraneous items such as blankets and toys should be removed.
An Unsecured TV
Safe Kids Worldwide reports that a child went to the ER every 45 minutes over the last 10 years due to a TV tipping over. Being hit by a TV can cause skull fractures, other serious injuries, or even death. Safe Kids Worldwide recommends mounting flat-panel TVs to the wall to prevent tipping. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to achieve a secure fit. Older, heavier TVs should be set on a stable piece of furniture that is appropriate for the TV. Additionally, braces or wall straps should be used to secure the furniture to the wall.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
"Young children, particularly toddlers, experience electric shock most often when they bite into electrical cords or poke metal objects such as forks or knives into unprotected outlets or appliances."
Other examples of electric shock risk include inappropriately used appliances, water coming in contact with an electric current, and holiday lights. Recommended prevention measures include covering all electrical outlets, ensuring wires are properly insulated, keeping wires out of kids' reach, and keeping small appliances far away from water sources.
Keeping children safe while under your church staff or volunteers' care is an utmost responsibility. Churches should have an official background check process in place to screen those who care for, or have contact with, infants or children. Federal law dictates receiving applicants' written consent before completing the checks. You should search both local and national records and databases through a reputable screening company.