Just as we take out home insurance to protect us from external threats, we must also take measures to protect our children from the dangers inside our homes.
The main areas where children can injure themselves are highlighted below, along with ways to reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring.
This is one of the most dangerous rooms and particular care must be taken when children are around.
- When cooking, use rear burners and turn handles to the back of the stove;
- Avoid tablecloths which can be pulled down, along with everything on them;
- Rubbish bins are also a big attraction and should be placed out of reach;
- Install safety latches on all drawers and cupboards. Ovens, fridges and dishwashers should be similarly equipped;
- Place any potentially poisonous items in a high cupboard out of reach, and
- If these measures can’t be implemented, fit gates to prevent access to the kitchen.
The big danger here is water. A child can drown in just one inch of water, so never leave small children unsupervised in the bathroom and lock it when not in use.
- Install a safety lock on the toilet lid;
- Turn your hot water heater down or install anti-scald devices on taps;
- Unplug shavers and hairdryers and put them away when not in use;
- Make sure all medicines and items such as mouthwash and toothpaste are in one cabinet high up and out of reach.
Most accidents in the bedroom involve falls, so it is important that children can’t climb or fall out of cots and beds.
- Never leave babies unattended on changing tables;
- Don’t place cots near windows;
- Make sure all nursery and bedroom furniture meets safety standards, particularly cots with drop sides.
The back yard is full of potential dangers, particularly around swimming pools and play equipment.
- Make sure all play equipment conforms to safety standards and place sand or other cushioning material around it;
- Ensure gates to the street have child safety latches;
- Pool fences are required by law. Pools and spas must be fenced according to strict standards and children supervised at all times within the pool area.
Some other general safety tips around the home include:
- Put childproof covers on all electrical outlets;
- Bundle up cords hanging from phones, blinds or electrical appliances;
- Use corner protectors and edge bumpers on furniture and protruding objects;
- Use anchors on heavy furniture and appliances that could be tipped over;
- Install door stops on all doors to prevent little fingers from being trapped; and
- Place safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
The best form of childproofing is constant supervision. As this is not always possible, the next best thing is to know that when they’re out of sight, they are not exposed to dangers that you haven’t foreseen and taken measures to eliminate.
It’s inevitable that children will have accidents, but hopefully this article will help you ensure they are nothing more than the normal bumps and bruises of childhood.