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Safety Concerns

Before the Baby Arrives | Preventing Illness | Environmental and Playground Safety | Poisoning | Preventing Sports Injuries

At NorthShore we understand that your child's safety and well-being is important. Our aim is to provide parents and caregivers with the tools and resources necessary to ensure the safest environment possible for children to grow and develop.

Before the Baby Arrives

It’s never too early to begin baby-proofing your home. Preparing your home and educating yourself about the signs of choking can greatly reduce the risk of injury or illness. Be sure that every product your baby uses, including cribs, strollers, car seats, playpens, high chairs and changing tables, meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards.  

Preventing Illness

Simple precautionary measures can go a long way in keeping your children and family healthy. As young children’s immune systems are still developing, they may be more likely to catch bacterial and viral infections carried by others. In addition to ensuring your child receives the proper immunizations for his or her age, make sure to wash hands and toys often to help prevent the spread of illness. Pediatricians often suggest children should wash their hands for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” two times.

Illnesses can be caused by more than just bacteria and viruses. Toxins in the environment, such as cigarette smoke, asbestos, lead poisoning and unsafe drinking water, have all been linked to issues ranging from allergies to cancer.

To avoid environmental illness, do not allow smoking in your home, ensure that all gas or wood burning stoves have proper ventilation, install carbon monoxide alarms and keep the house dry to prevent mold. If your home does have mold, hire a professional to remove it, rather than attempting to do so yourself.

Environmental and Playground Safety

As children grow, parents should be proactive in taking steps towards a safe environment inside and outside their home. Choking hazards need to be placed well out of reach, electrical outlets covered, bookshelves secured, and any drowning or falling hazards made inaccessible through sturdy gates or fences. Never leave standing water in a bucket or a bathtub.

Outside the home, remember to check for the any potential safety risks. Equipment and the actions of other children on playgrounds, for example, can both become concerns if not properly monitored.

To protect your child throughout his or her development, it is extremely important to set firm rules about safety at a young age. Teach your child to use his or her car seat, to hold hands when crossing the street and to avoid hot stove tops and toasters that could cause burns. Educating your child will allow him or her to make the right decisions in the moments when you are not around or unable to be monitoring his or her behavior.


Common household chemicals, medicines, makeup, perfumes and cleaners can pose a major threat to safety in the home if not properly stored. To prevent poisoning, make sure all cleaners and chemicals are outfitted with safety caps and placed where children cannot access them. Toys and other items, such as jewelry, that your baby may come in contact with should be frequently checked for recalls due to lead or other hazardous materials.

Although lead paint is no longer used, your home, especially if built before 1978, should be tested before baby arrives. If lead paint is found, have a professional remove it to prevent contamination of the air or other surfaces. 

Please do not hesitate to call the Illinois Poison Center at 800.222.1222 if you suspect you or your child has ingested poison.

Preventing Sports Injuries

Before your child joins the team, establish behaviors that will help keep him or her safe no matter what sport he or she chooses to play. Teach your child to warm up by stretching and jogging before games and practices.

If you can, learn the sport alongside your child, so you can offer support and guidance about the proper skills and techniques necessary to play. Finally, make sure your child is using the proper equipment and that it is in good condition. It is also recommended your child wears the appropriate protective gear for the sport.

Never encourage your child to play through pain or when he or she is sick.