There is a special bond that exists between a grandparent and grandchild, and grandparents want to do everything they can to keep their grandchildren safe. With that in mind, Ellen Berghorn, MS, RN, Pediatric Trauma Coordinator at NYU Winthrop, organized an event in coordination with the Women’s Wellness Initiative of NYU Winthrop and NYU Winthrop's Trauma Center called "Grandparenting Matters... Let’s Do it Right!"
"I realized from my own experience with my children, and from patients in the Hospital, that many children are cared for by their grandparents," said Ms. Berghorn, whose mother helps care for her two children while she and her husband work full-time. "We wanted to teach injury prevention techniques to grandparents, similar to a parenting course, and bring about a positive impact on the community by making caretakers more aware of what practices may have changed since they last cared for a small child."
Ms. Berghorn’s vision was for a seminar on injury prevention, but also to create a space to bring grandparents who care for their grandchildren together to exchange ideas and build connection. The event was held this fall and was well-received, and Ms. Berghorn hopes to plan more in the future.
Estela Noyola, DO, Chief Pediatric Resident at NYU Winthrop, shared information with attendees on vaccines, SIDS prevention and home safety, along with understanding feeding options and poison control. Don Wang, Operations Manager at NYU Winthrop's Simulation Center and former Educator at Long Island's Regional Poison and Drug Control Center, also spoke about poison prevention.
(L-R) Done Wang, Operations Manager at NYU Winthrop's Simulation Center; Estela Noyola, DO; and Ellen Berghorn, MS, RN, Pediatric Trauma Coordinator; with members of the community who attended "Grandparenting Matters...Let's Do It Right"
"As a grandparent, your grandchild’s well-being and safety are extremely important to you. Particularly when he or she is under your care, whether it be at your home, in their home, in the car, or elsewhere, make sure that you’ve taken every step possible to ensure that they are safe and secure," said Dr. Noyola.
Here, Dr. Noyola shares some of these essential tips, adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics, a trusted source for pediatricians.
Childproofing Tips for Grandparents
*Adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Noyola recommends the acronym "SPEGOS" from Healthychildren.org, a trusted website for caregivers, to remind grandparents of the following:
- Smoke detectors should be placed in the proper locations throughout the house.
- Pets and pet food should be stored out of a child's reach.
- Escape plans should be thought about in advance, and fire extinguishers should be readily available.
- Gates should be positioned at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Outlet covers that are not a choking hazard should be placed over sockets to prevent your grandchild from putting his or herself at risk of an electrical shock.
- Soft covers or bumpers should be positioned around sharp or solid furniture.
- Put “kiddie locks” on the cabinets. To be extra safe, move unsafe cleansers and chemicals so that they are completely out of reach.
- Remove any dangling cords, such as those from the coffeepot or toaster.
- Take extra precautions before giving your grandchild food prepared in microwave ovens. Microwaves can heat liquids and solids unevenly, and they may be mildly warm on the outside but very hot on the inside.
- Store pills, inhalers, and other prescription or nonprescription medications, as well as medical equipment, locked and out of the reach of your grandchild. Be especially vigilant that all medications of any kind are kept up and away from a child’s reach and sight.
- Put nonslip material in the bathtub to avoid dangerous falls.
- Never leave a child unattended in a tub or sink filled with water.
Baby Equipment Safety
- Never leave your grandchild alone in a high chair or in an infant seat located in high places, such as a table or countertop.
- Do not use baby walkers.
- To reduce the risk of SIDS, infants should be placed completely on their back for every sleep by every caregiver until the first year of life.
- Place babies on a firm sleep surface, covered by a fitted sheet.
- Keep soft objects, loose bedding, bumper pads, or any objects that could increase the risk of suffocation or strangulation away from the baby’s sleep area.