Home is a place where children learn many things as they grow up! Filled with love, care and comfort, this is the place where your children would love to touch and feel the things they see around them, which helps their mind and body to develop. Therefore, it is very important that you make it child safe. Teach your children about safety at home.
While a home is a safe place, by any standards, for children, it may also have hidden dangers. Your child might face some accidents like falling down, getting a bite from the family pet or a choking hazard and get injured in the process.
1. Do Not Leave Your Children Alone In The Water
Children love to splash in the water, whether it is a bathtub or a swimming pool. Though it is a fun time, chances of accidents like drowning can occur in water tubs or pools. To make it child safe, make sure the water level is not more than the waistline of your child when you place him or her in a tub or sink. Never leave your child unattended, even for a second when the phone rings or doorbell rings. Give strict instructions to your children that there must be no pushing while enjoying a dip in the pool.
2. Keep All Cleaning Products and Detergents Away from Your Children
All cleaning products have chemicals in them which make it highly poisonous if swallowed. You can make your home child safe by getting on your hands and knees to make sure there are no cleaning products in and around the rooms where your children can reach. Install doors to all your cabinets and keep them locked after every use. Never store these detergents in food containers or store them near kitchen shelves as your children might mistake such things for food.
3. Keep The Sleeping Areas of Your Child Uncovered
If you have an infant at home, make sure that you keep the crib as bare as possible to make it child safe. Soft pillows, stuffed dolls or lots of bed covers might suffocate your baby accidentally. Wrap the mattress of the crib with a thin material blanket and tuck the bottom at the mattress end to make it look like a pocket. Make sure it reaches until the baby’s chest. If the weather is cool, dress him in woollen clothes.
4. Cover All The Electrical Outlets and Wires at Home
Make your home child safe from all kinds of electric shock by covering electrical sockets which you might not be using at the moment using plastic covers. Throw away the electrical gadgets or repair the electric cords which are damaged. Insulate the wires or fix them using casing to cover it. Teach children about the dangers of electric shock and tell them they must not touch any of these with wet hands.
5. Lock Away The Firearms
If you have a firearm at home, it is your full responsibility to make sure it is stored after unloading the ammunition and locked in a safe place which cannot be accessed by your children easily. Teach your children about the dangers of using a gun in real life and also tell them the difference between the guns used by heroes in movies. You can make use of ‘advanced gun safe’ to store your gun safely.
6. Small Sized Items Must be Kept away from Children
Children usually are in danger of choking, if they play with small toys or food items like whole almonds. Make sure you divide the food into bite-sized portions to avoid choking. Be careful while giving your child grapes, candies, carrots, nuts and popcorn to eat, as it can also cause choking. Make sure you keep buttons, coins, earrings, pins or marbles out of reach from your children as these can also trigger a choking hazard.
7. Set a Smoke Alarm At Home
Install a smoke alarm at home and check whether it is working fine every now and then. Teach your children about fire alarm, its beep sound and have a fire escape plan ready when the alarm goes off. When there is a leakage of carbon monoxide gas which has no odour or colour, it can be fatal to your children. Your water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, etc., can trigger this gas. Installing a detector would assure you that your home is safe.
8. Secure Your Perimeters
To avoid any kind of accidental falls or injuries, it is essential to keep your windows and doors locked. Never leave your child on the bed unattended as she might fall down. Do not allow your children to play with the open windows or patio doors. Also make sure the stairways are blocked when you are not using it, to prevent children from climbing it. It’s your responsibility to always maintain safety around the home for children.
9. Safety while Playing with a Pet
Pets are very affectionate but some actions of your children like pulling the tail or the ear can irritate them. Teach your children to be gentle with the pet and refrain from playing rough games with the pet. Tell them not to go near the dog when he is having his food. Teach your child not to take away a treat or bone from his mouth. Warn your child to stay away from a pet which is growling or showing off his teeth as it would harm them.
10. Better Safe than Sorry
To make sure that your child is safe, learn first aid and keep a kit handy. It is also a good idea to learn CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Have the contact numbers of your friends, neighbours, paediatrician, poison control facility, etc., written on a big sheet on the wall. Also, store it on the phone. If your child is old enough to know your home address, then teach him to dial such emergency numbers.
No matter how careful you are, it is essential that you stay prepared in case there is an emergency condition. Fortunately, mishaps or accidents can certainly be avoided through preventive measures. Educate your children about safety rules to be followed at home.
Child safety devices should be easy to use and sturdy enough to prevent injury to the child. No device is completely childproof! Determined youngsters can disable them.
It’s essential to childproof your home.
A good place to start is to get down on your hands and knees and look around.
What catches your eye?
Is there anything which if pulled or pushed could fall on your child?
Is there anything on the floor or on shelves which could be a choking hazard?
Does any of your furniture have jagged corners or exposed nails?
As your child grows and learns to walk and climb, different hazards need to be considered. If you don’t have the time or feel you don’t have the experience, consult a child safety expert if necessary. This may even be your parents or in-laws!
Here are some tips:
As the kitchen harbours many potential hazards, barring the child entirely from this area is highly recommended. Install a safety gate! You may otherwise consider:
Drawers that are accessible by the child should not contain cleaning aids, detergents and poisons.
Attached child safety mechanisms to cupboards and drawers.
On the stove, avoid using the front plates.
Turn pots and panhandles away, so the child is unable to reach them.
Install an oven lock.
Keep all sharp utensils (especially knives) out of reach (away from kitchen counter edges).
After the kitchen, the bathroom is the most dangerous in the home! Therefore, make sure that you do the following:
Install a fixed, lockable medicine cabinet.
Store all medications and vitamins in child-proof containers.
Dispose of old and expired medication.
Keep all razors and razor blades well out of reach at all times.
Keep all toiletries, e.g. body wash, shampoo etc out of reach of the child. When ingested they can be highly toxic.
Drownings in toilets are possible, and instances have been recorded. A toilet lock should be installed.
Anti-scalding devices are available for hot water taps.
Never leave a child unsupervised during bath time.
Dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms
Evaluate they child safety of these rooms. If they are not suitable for a child, block access to these rooms with door guards!
If any stairs lead to these rooms, fit safety gates at both ends of the staircase.
Do not leave electric appliances (shavers, hairdryers etc) plugged in after use.
Secure heavy furniture and appliances (bookcases, TV’s etc) to a wall with brackets.
Place heavy items on low shelves.
Curtains generally represent a little risk. Blinds can pose a strangling hazard if they have looped chords. Check blinds for child safety.
Use edge and corner ‘bumpers’ to protect the child from sharp furniture corners.
Cover all electricity plug outlets with outlet covers when not in use.
Keep matches, lighters and firelighters out of reach or locked up.
When a child starts climbing move certain furniture away from windows.
Install window locks and guards.
Make sure all toys are child-friendly.
Child safety in the garage, garden and pool
The garage is definitely a no-no for most children unless they are teenages! All preteen children should only be in a garage with adult supervision!
Children should not have access to the garage. Install safety gates.
Do not leave young children unsupervised in the garden. They can eat toxic plants, berries or seeds.
Do not allow children near buckets of water or wading pools.
A definite for child safety is a fence and locked gates that should enclose pools (the same applies to Jacuzzis).
Block all access to driveways and roads.
Supervise small children at all times.
To further enhance safety install fire detection and prevention mechanisms, e.g. smoke detectors and extinguishers.
Unfortunately, once a child starts to crawl or walk, they require constant supervision! This is still the best safety precaution you can take. Therefore, the supervision from other children in the house, a nursemaid, mother and father remains the best safety device of all!