Among all the duties you may have as a grandparent — such as chief cookie baker, babysitter, homework helper, and sibling-squabble referee — you’re the safety police, too.

When your grandchildren come to visit, it’s up to you to keep them safe.

Take this room-by-room quiz to find out if you’re aware of the ways you can protect your grandkids from household accidents and injury.


The Kitchen

T or F: It’s OK to keep household cleaners under the kitchen sink if they have child-resistant packaging.

Answer: F. Child-resistant packaging isn’t childproof. Persistent toddlers may be able to pry them open.

Lock household cleaners, any type of liquor, and vitamins and medicine — even those with child-resistant packaging — in their original containers in a cabinet out of your grandchild’s sight and reach.


The Bedroom

T of F: Using a sleep positioner in your grandchild’s crib or bassinet helps protect her from SIDS.

Answer: F. Sleep positioners don’t protect babies from SIDS, and they’re a suffocation hazard.

A bare crib or bassinet is best. That means no sleep positioners, bumpers, blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals should be in your grandchild’s crib or bassinet. Dress your grandchild in a swaddle or sleep sack for warmth instead of using a blanket.


It’s safe to let your grandchild sleep in pajamas that aren’t flame resistant if:

A. They’re made of organic cotton.

B. They’re snug-fitting.

C. They’re size 9 months or smaller.

D. They’re size 10 or larger.

E. Both B and C.


Answer: E, both B and C. The Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations dictate that children’s sleepwear sizes 9 months to size 14 must be either made of flame-resistant fabric, which doesn’t ignite easily and must self-extinguish quickly when removed from a flame, or fit snugly because loose garments are more likely to catch fire.

Snug-fitting sleepwear doesn’t have to be made of flame-resistant material. That’s because it doesn’t trap the air needed for fabric to burn and reduces the chances of contact with a flame.

Infant sleepwear smaller than 9 months is exempt from government flammability requirements because infants aren’t mobile enough to expose themselves to an open flame. It doesn’t have to fit snugly or be flame resistant.


T or F: By age 5, it’s safe for grandkids to sleep in the top bunk.

Answer: F. Children shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in the top bunk until they’re at least 6 years old.

But even then, it’s a risk. Every year, nearly 36,000 children are injured in bunk-bed-related accidents, according to a recent Journal of Pediatrics study.

Kids under age 9 report the most bunk-bed injuries, but they happen at all ages.


The Bathroom

To help prevent burns, what’s the maximum temperature your home’s water heater should be set to if you have grandkids?

A. 90 degrees F

B. 130 degrees F

C. 120 degrees F

D. 150 degrees F


Answer: C, 120 degrees F. Children can get scalded easily by hot water because their skin is thinner than an adult’s. If you have young grandchildren, turn the water heater down to 120 degrees F or lower to prevent scalds from faucets.

To test your home’s water temperature if you don’t know what it is, run the hot water for a minute and collect it in a cup. Test the temperature with a cooking thermometer.

Also, get a cover for the bathtub’s spout to protect your grandchild from its heat-conducting metal and hard edges.


All Around the House

Children can strangle on window-blind cords from draperies or blinds that can form a loop. In fact, window cords kill an average of 12 children annually in the U.S.

To protect your grandchild:

A. Teach your grandchild to stay away from window-blind cords by warning him of the danger.

B. Eliminate this risk from window blinds by getting cordless blinds or using a cord winder (a plastic gadget that moves the cord out of the way).

C. Cut looped cords in half to form two strings or roll cords up, tie them with rubber bands or twist ties, or mount a cleat (hook) high out of the child’s reach to secure the excess cord.

D. Both A and B.

E. Both B and C.


Answer E, both B and C. You can’t teach a baby or toddler to stay away from strangulation dangers, so eliminate this risk by getting cordless blinds, using a cord winder, cutting the cords in half, or rolling up the cords with a cleat, says injury-prevention expert Meri-K Appy.

You can also visit the Window Covering Safety Council’s website ( to order a free retrofit cord-repair device.


T or F: If your grandchild is advanced for his age, it’s fine to buy a toy that’s meant for an older child.

Answer: F. Take the age recommendation on a toy package seriously. It’s more than a friendly hint. It can alert you to a possible choking hazard, the presence of small parts, and other dangers.

It also affects a toy’s play value. Although you might think a more advanced toy will present a welcome challenge, it could be a source of frustration if it’s inappropriate for your grandchild’s stage of development.

Also, think twice before buying a toy with small parts for a child older than 3 who has a younger sibling. The younger child will probably find a way to get the toy. Keep all small, round, or oval objects — including coins, balls, and marbles — away from kids under 3.

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