Clinton County program offers free child safety tips

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 4:28 PM EDT
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MORRISONVILLE, N.Y. (WCAX) - Your home is often considered your safe space, so don’t you want to make sure it is actually safe for new children? A program in Clinton County is offering new parents peace of mind.

At eight months old, little Theo is Amanda Cole’s first child. “Being a first-time mom, I was so nervous not knowing what to do to prepare to baby-proof my house. You know, all those new mom jitters,” Cole said.

After getting married and moving into their new home in Morrisonville during a pandemic, Cole had a lot of questions about when the baby would arrive. That’s where Maryann Barto with the Clinton County Health Department comes in. She first met with the Coles in October and came to their house last month after Theo became more mobile.

“People get used to their environment and you just don’t see things,” said Barto, who is one part of the two-person team that runs the health department’s Healthy Neighborhoods Program. “We’ve been around since 1985. We are only one of two counties that have been able to keep it.”

The free program focuses on making sure people’s homes are safe and giving them the resources to keep it that way. “It’s a grant through New York state. We are one of 18 counties that have it. We just got renewed for another five years,” Barto said.

And it’s not just for new parents or homeowners. Officials want to make sure every home in the county is ready for any potential household danger. First, they ask homeowners about their safety needs and survey the home for up-to-date smoke detectors, fire extinguishers expiration, and even potential tripping hazards, like a pesky rug.

“And after, we just give you products to make it safer. That can be a lot of different things,” Barto said. And after a few months, they come for a follow-up. “Give you a lot of education, too. So, if there are things that we still see, we talk about it again and review the education that was given at the first meeting.”

Services that Cole is grateful for and recommends to others. “I even sent her to my mother’s house because she babysits and I wanted to make sure it was safe there,” Cole said.

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