Child electrocuted to death in dryer is grim lesson on safe play

How can you be sure that your own home is a safe environment to play in?

We are often wary of the dangers of outdoor play areas. However, sometimes, we overlook hidden dangers in our very own homes, especially when it comes to play. A recent, shocking incident involving the death of a boy shows just how dangerous household appliances can be to kids. It also highlights the importance of keeping an eye even on older kids, and creating a safe play environment at home.

A Tragic End to Hide-and-Seek 

Fernando Fernandez Junior, 10, was playing hide-and-seek with his younger brother one day. However, the game ended tragically as he was found inside the dryer, lifeless.

The mom of both boys, Christina Rodriguez, was shocked and heartbroken to find out about her 10 year old son’s shocking death.

“I don’t know what happened. I was just inside cooking and my little son came inside and told me my son was dead on the floor, ” she says.

Ms Rodriguez then asked her boyfriend to bring him into the house, but it was too late. “He was purple. His eyes were open. He was gone,” she recounts tearfully.

Fernando was rushed to the hospital, where paramedics performed CPR on him in futility. He was pronounced dead soon after. Initially, authorities thought the boy had suffocated inside the dryer. However, a further investigation by a Harris County Medical Examiner discovered that he was electrocuted.

How Do I create a Safe Play Environment?

This accident is made even more tragic because it shows that even older kids can get hurt while playing. And as sad as the incident is, it serves as a reminder about the need to always supervise children (old or young) when they are playing in case anything unexpected happens.

How do we do that? Here are some tips for creating a safe play environment:

safe play environment

Check your crib’s side grills. Are they narrow enough to prevent your baby’s head from getting stuck?

 For Younger Children:

  • Check your baby’s crib and ensure that it is of an appropriate standard. For instance, the fencing gaps must be narrow and bolts should be secure. Are there any choking hazards like ribbons, buttons, and removable paddings? Is the crib near a window or too exposed to the sun?
  • Always lock windows and doors. Windows should be free of cords and nearby furniture. Fit doors with stoppers so your little one’s hands don’t get caught.
  • Seal electrical outlets with a sturdy cover and place electrical cords out of sight.
  • Arrange your room’s furniture. Is the room crowded with too much furniture? Are objects like changing tables and chairs stable? Are there any gaps between tall and heavy furniture against the wall? Drawers and cabinet doors should be fitted with latches so that the baby won’t open them. Cushion all furniture corners to avoid injuries.
  • Decorate wisely. Avoid paint with lead, heavy mirrors and picture frames, and avoid leaving items that have strings or tiny removable parts in the nursery.
  • Only let your children play with toys that are safe, lead-free and age appropriate. Buy your toys from reputable brands and be sure to read the instructions before finalising payment. Also, toys should be stored in chests that don’t close quickly so kids won’t get their hands stuck.
  • Ensure that the space is open and lacking obstructions. This area helps infants and toddlers explore their environment without any hesitation.

For Older Children:

  • Set some rules. For instance playtime should not last more than one to two hours, and kids should be advised to stay away from potential hazards, such as knives.
  • Establish these rules and routines consistently at home and in childcare or preschool. Only let your kids play with friends who you know and trust. This way, their friends are able to contact you should anything happen, and it will prevent strangers from bullying your kids.
  • Teach your kids to look out for one another in case something wrong happens. This will help older children develop autonomy, friendships and teach them how to socialize.
safe play environment

Always ensure that your kids play with kids who you know and that they are accountable for one another’s safety.

  • Always supervise your children, whether old or young, while they are playing.
  • If you cannot supervise them, ensure that there is a trusted adult nearby who will take care of them.
  • Inspect the environment where they are to play beforehand. Are there any potential hazards around the location? Is it overwhelming to the senses? For instance, kitchens and bathrooms should be out of bounds as they may contain hazards. Kitchens have heavy objects, and bathrooms can be slippery. Strong chemicals like bleach are also commonly stored there.
  • Explain to your children what they should do if an emergency happens, such as a fire breaking out, a toddler becoming unconscious, or a stranger following them. Always tell them to contact the nearest adult for help, and tell them how to contact emergency and what to say.

We at theAsianparent hope that this has been useful for creating a safe play environment that protects your loved ones from tragic accidents.

 

References: Fox News, Play and the Learning Environment, Response Ability

ALSO READ: Creating a safe nursery

Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore