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With Parents Spending More Time At Home, Children's Health Gives Tips On Safeguarding

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — As North Texans and their families are spending more time at home, Children's Health is giving a right-on-time reminder.

"Injuries are the leading cause of death for children, and about a third of those deaths happen at home," says Marisa Abbe, manager of injury prevention at Children's Health. "If we know the top risk areas, we can safeguard against them."

According to Abbe, one of the most common dangers is children falling from heights. So, parents with stairs are encouraged to install baby gates at the top and bottom, and to be especially careful of windows.

"We have those window screens and a lot of us think that the window screens are going to keep the kids from falling out," Abbe cautioned. "But really, they are only there to keep the bugs from coming in."

Another concern is children getting burned.

"We're hearing from our colleagues across the state that there's been an increase in child burns," Abbe said. "Parents are cooking more, maybe even involving the kids. And that's great. But, turn those handles in so that curious children can't walk up and pull a hot liquid on top of them. And if you've got a very curious child, maybe move your cooking equipment to the back of the stovetop."

To avoid household poisonings, Abbe recommends that all cleaning supplies, medicines, vitamins and even cosmetics be kept out of reach.

And then there's accidental drownings in pools and bathtubs. Experts say a child can drown in less than an inch of water.

"This usually happens when the parent walks away for a brief moment," Abbe said. "To grab a towel or something they've forgotten. So, make sure that you get everything you need ahead of time."

Most of the warnings have all been heard before, but experts say increased awareness is necessary when there is so much fighting for parents' attention.

"What I try to do if I have a meeting or a phone call that I need to devote my attention to, I try to set up a safe space for him to hang out while I'm not able to fully supervise," said Abbe, who has a 7-year-old at home. "We're in an unprecedented time when we are juggling trying to teach our kids and keep them safe and maybe work at the same time... so I feel like if you know the risk areas and create safe spaces, we can prevent some of these injuries."

Meanwhile, a Children's Health collogue can attest to just how quickly accidents can happen.

Adriana Lantzy says she, her husband and 5-year-old twins had recently gone outside to enjoy some sunshine after being cooped up indoors, when she heard her daughter gasp. She turned around to see that her son fallen in the pool.

"It was a matter of seconds," Lantzy said. "He knows how to swim, but he hasn't been able to swim in months. So, we saw that he was struggling... my husband immediately picked him out. But I think the key is how quickly it happened."

She said the pool is fenced and the children are never outside alone, but the scare prompted them to add some alarms as a precaution.

Experts also fear that parents may be avoiding emergency rooms when children are injured at home, and are reminding them that doctors are also available on the Children's Health TeleHealth platform.

"It's not about feeling guilty or judged," Lantzy said. "But know that it can happen to anyone."

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