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Winter Park-Maitland Observer
Safety Tips for New Parents and Grandparents


Safety Tips for New Parents and Grandparents
By Dennis Marshall, Fire Marshal
As a new grandparent I’ve found I needed to review and remember how to deal with the safety of a small child all over again. During my research, I’ve revisited some tips and information that I thought would be useful for other new parents and grandparents.   Most of the information is simple, but in our fast paced lives, we all have a tendency to get distracted and forget these things. 
For starters, DON’T FORGET THE CHILD WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE VEHICLE! A vehicle’s interior temperature in Florida can reach 120 degrees F and heat stoke can set in very quickly.   Every year we hear of a family experiencing the pain and anguish of losing a child, so please double check.
Car seats are required to be used in passenger vehicles in the State of Florida.   But, not everyone knows the rules governing their use and installation. Before purchasing or accepting a car seat, check the label on the seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height.  
If you’re being given a car seat, check the label on the seat to make sure it is still safe. Like milk, car seats have an expiration date.  It’s best to check and make sure it is up to current safety standards.
Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all small children in the back seat.   You’ll want to keep your child or grandchild in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat.
To ensure your car seat is properly installed, please seek out a certified Car Seat Technician. These individuals have been trained in the installation of many different types of child car seats.   One location in Central Florida is the Children’s Safety Village; their web site is
Last but not least, if you leave your car seat in the car, please cover it with a towel or blanket. The sun beating through a windshield can heat metal parts to a very high temperature, no need to hurt the little ones by accident.
From vehicle safety we now transition to water safety.   The hard truth of the matter is drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death among children between 1 and 4 years old. And it’s the third leading cause of death among children.
Never leave your child unattended around water. We know it sounds strict, but there is no room for compromise on this one. Babies can drown in as little as one inch of water.
Please put the cell phone away, forget about all the other things you have to do and give young children 100 percent of your attention when they are near or around water.
Other water safety steps are empty all tubs, buckets, containers and wading pools immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach. And if you have a spa, a tight fitting cover is helpful.   You will also want to check and make sure all of your pool safety devices are working properly. Particularly, if it’s been a while since you’ve had little ones around.
It may seem strange but there have been instances of children accessing toilets. Keeping toilet lids closed and use of toilet seat locks can prevent drowning. It’s also a good idea to keep doors to bathrooms and laundry rooms closed.
Parents and grandparents have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. Maitland Fire Rescue does have CPR training available to our citizens and businesses. 
Knowing CPR will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent or grandparent, the better.  
If you have any questions on child safety matters you may contact your Maitland Fire Rescue Department at (407) 539-6226. Our Family Helping Yours – Whatever It Takes.

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