Keeping a child safe is one of the biggest worries a parent will have. Learning what you can do to remove potential hazards and dangers at home is just as essential as it is when they our outside of the house.
In this blog article we look at the different tips and advice you can use to help ensure your little one is safe.
Preventing Falls at Home
This is the most common cause of injuries and visits to hospital in every age group, so it’s important to keep your child safe by watching the new skills they’re learning, as well as the new places they can reach which will enable you to and then alter your home accordingly.
- Put up safety guards/gates across the bottom and top of stairs and across balconies. Always supervise them when they are in these areas, even if you have this equipment in place.
- Keep windows locked or in the ‘lock’ ventilation position if you need to air the room. This is particularly essential for upper-storey windows. Alternatively, you could also install professionally fitted window guards so your child can’t fall out.
- At night use low-power or dimmer night lights, consider leaving a hall light on, or use sensor lights to make it easier for older children to get to the toilet without tripping.
Burns and Scalds
Burns are another common safety issue in the home, so keeping your child away from fire and hot surfaces means keeping a close eye on them whenever they’re anywhere near things that can burn – such as stoves, ovens, kettles, irons, fireplaces, heaters and other appliances that heat up.
- Hot drinks and baths that are too-hot baths are a major cause of scalds for babies and children. So, when you are making a hot drink, ensure your child is not in the kitchen or near the kettle and keep hot items out of their reach.
- Ideally, your child’s bath should be around body temperature (37-38°c). The hot water from your taps is around 50°C, so you will need to mix in cold water to their bath to ensure they are not scalded.
- Again, use guards around fireplaces and do not leave your child alone in a room with a fireplace or heater on.
- Keep them out of the kitchen when you are cooking and ensure that any other hot or heated appliances, pots and pans are kept well out of their reach.
House fires can be catastrophic and fatal to families. In the home they are usually caused by cooking accidents, smouldering cigarettes, electrical faults and other flamed items such as candles, incense, lighters and matches. Fitting and testing smoke alarms in your home is an essential fire safety precaution.
- By law your home must have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level. For overall fire safety at home, you should install a smoke alarm outside the bedroom areas – especially those that keep their doors closed.
- Test your smoke alarms every month and replace the batteries in battery operated smoke alarms each year. Replace the smoke alarms themselves every 10 years.
- Ensure any flammable items are kept locked away and out of your child’s reach at all times.
For children under five, poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury, and this is mostly resulting from ingesting common household chemicals, cleaning products and medicines.
- Remove potential poisons from your home or keep them locked away from view outside of the house in a shed or garage.
- Store chemicals, cleaning products or medicines in a high and /or locked cupboard or cabinet,
- Put child-safety latches on the doors of cupboards low down if this is where you you’re your household chemicals or cleaning products.
Strangulation, Suffocation and Choking
There are several items within your home that pose a risk to your child and could lead to them being strangled, suffocated or choked, such as toys and bedding, blinds, cords or ropes and bags, boxes and packaging.
- It’s a good idea to keep stuffed toys, cushions and piles of clothing out of cots and prams, especially if your child is sleeping.
- If you have any blinds in your home and especially those in your child’s room, you should wrap-up the cords tightly and attach them to the wall at least 1.6 m above the floor. Also, ensure that your child’s bed is not next to the window to lessen their ability to climb up and pull or get wrapped up in the cords.
- Tie knots in plastic bags and keep them stored safely away from your child.
- Ensure that any toys are appropriate for the age of your child and check them regularly to see if any parts have come off and choke them.
- Toys with removable small parts, should be kept away from very young babies, toddlers and children under 8 years old.
Supervising children around water inside and outside of the home including pools, ponds, dams, rivers, creeks, baths and buckets with water will help keep them safe from the risk of drowning. Even small bodies of water pose a risk of drowning so you need keep a very careful watch on them at these times.
- If you have a pool, fencing it off and self-locking gate will help to keep your child safe.
- When your child is in the bath, always supervise and give your full attention to children under five years. Do not leave them alone to answer the front door or the phone as they could easily lose their balance and slip under the water.
- Never leave older children or siblings to supervise your child as they may panic if something happens.
- Get a licensed electrician to undertake repairs and install safety switches which cut power off quickly to avoid electrocution.
- Replace electrical appliances and cords if they’re worn and use plug covers to stop your child putting their fingers in them.
- Install safety glass in windows and doors or apply shatter-resistant film to windows and doors of older homes.
- Always lock away hand tools like saws and drills, and keep lawnmowers, chainsaws and other sharp tools locked away and out of reach. Make sure your child is out of the way when you’re using tools and unplug tools whenever you take a break.
- Purchase items such as cots, portable cots, mattresses and highchairs that have the British Standards Kitemark.
- Undertake first aid and CPR training each year including classes that are specifically for children. Pin up a basic resuscitation chart and keep first aid kits inside your home, car, near your pool (if you have one) and also take them with you when you go on holiday or trips.
Keeping your child safe is undoubtedly one of your most important jobs as a parent. Do whatever you can to minimise any potential hazards and have a plan should incidents occur (Phone number of doctor), this will help you to feel more comfortable when you child is playing in and exploring their home.