Many accidents such as choking, falls, fire, cuts, poisioing and other injuries occur in the home. That is why it is very important that adults keep the house safe and supervise their youngsters at all times.
Parents should start baby proofing their homes way before their child begins to crawl and more especially walk. The best time to start doing this is when parents decorate the nursery, as finding time afterwards when baby comes home is not always easy.
The Child Accident Prevention Foundation states that it is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to provide a safe home environment for their children.
For this reason parents need to view their home in a different way and anticipate potential dangers to their young children.
Parents are encouraged to crawl around their homes themselves to see dangers that may difficult for them to see from where they stand.
We share some safety tips and tricks that should keep your children out of danger and the home in one piece.
- Always keep things in their right place after use.
- It is essential that the floors are kept dry and that water and grease are wiped away to keep children from slipping.
- Electrical cords also need to be tucked away safely and tied together.
- Dispose all unwanted medicine and poisonous liquids properly. Don not discard these in the house dustbin.
- Keep a stool or step ladder out of children’s reach.
- Make sure the stairway is well light and that there are rails to allow a steady grip.
- Place a bath mat on the floor of the bathroom to prevent falling.
- Keep heaters where children cant trip over them.
- Children should be kept away from pots and pans filled with hot water.
- Electricity always presents a potential danger to young children. Always make sure that children don’t see or touch electric wires if switched on, and that gas taps and electric points are out of their reach.
- Sharp knives and scissors need to always be locked away.
- Discourage running in the house. Also children under 7 should be taught never to go outside with an adult.
- Coins should also never be left on the floor or where they can be easily reached by young children, as this often results in choking.
- Most dangerous area in the garden is the pool. Make sure it is either fenced with an SABS approved fence or have a safety net installed.
- Children should still be supervised even if they use flotation devices.
- Store turpentine, paint, and pool chemicals away and locked out of reach. Buy products with child proof caps.
- Store garden and other tools locked away and out of use. Make sure that when they are in use that children are supervised.
- Keep car doors locked in the garage or driveway. If using an electronic garage door, make sure that it stops if it touches an obstacle.
- Never reverse in your driveway or close electronic door/ gate without keeping an eye on your children.
- All outdoor play must be supervised.
- Make sure that small children do not have access the road.
- Never allow children to be out in the sun for long periods and between 11h00 and 14h00. Use sunhats and sunscreen protection at all times.
- Always keep the garden shed locked and teach children not to play in it.
- Never leave sharp tools lying around. Make sure your garden is safe.
- Insert little gates at the top and bottom of staircases if there are small children in the house.
- Insert grills or iron bars on windows to prevent children falling out.
- Make sure you have a wall around the house to prevent little ones wondering off onto the street.
- Children are drawn to fires, whether coal, gas or electric. So make sure that all fires are protected to prevent children from getting hands through.
- Children should be taught from an early age not to eat berries or anything else they may find on the outside. They should be taught to ask for permission first.
- Use safety plugs to cover all electric outlets in the house.
- Installing childproof latches on cupboards, especially in the kitchens, bathrooms and laundries, where poisonous substances may be stored.
- Secure bookshelves or furniture that could topple over if a child pulls on them or climbs up them.
- Removing or rolling up any cords dangling from on kettles, irons, curtains or blinds.
- Use safety glass in all sliding and shower doors, and mark these doors with bright stickers or tape at child level.
- Install door holders, which prevent young children from getting their fingers crushed.
- Making sure your pool is securely fenced and covered with a safety net.
- Installing window locks or guards on all windows above ground floor, as well as additional balcony railings if necessary.
- Store cleaning chemicals in a closed container that can only be opened by an adult.
Parents and caregivers must also ALWAYS have emergency phone numbers handy and should equip themselves with basic safety knowledge.
Child Accident Prevention Foundation (www.childsafe.org.za)