Children are, by nature, inquisitive. This means that anything in your home that they are not supposed to touch, or could be dangerous to them, they will go out of their way to get hold of. The NHS report that 2 million children are taken to A&E each year because of accidents around the home. Young children are as yet unaware of the dangers presented to them, and it is much better to eliminate the hazards from their path than have them learn the hard way.
1. Keep Out of Reach of Children
Anything that could be chewed, swallowed or could lead to suffocation must be kept out of the reach of children. We hear this all the time, but practical advice on vigilance helps us get into the habit of constantly putting ourselves in the child’s shoes and seeing danger from their level. Every time you walk through a room, keep an eye out for hazards, and ask your friends to do the same.
2. Keep Things Under Lock and Key
Many products are available to keep cupboards, windows, doors and gates locked. Try www.tealproducts.com for gadgets to prevent your child from accessing windows, and online forums for advice on locks for the food cupboards, cutlery drawers, medicine cabinets and cleaning stores. If your child cannot access the dangers, it prevents them from swallowing poisons, falling downstairs and through banisters, and generally injuring themselves.
3. Sharp Edges Beware!
Even adults can get a nasty injury by falling and banging their head on the corner of a table. When children are first learning to walk, falls will be inevitable, as they will be through their toddling years. Be sure to cushion the sharp edges in your home, or even move pieces of furniture to make sure accidents do not have the opportunity to happen.
4. Fire Resistance
Fire safety is of pivotal importance in any home, but even more so in a home with young children. Check your smoke alarm regularly, change the batteries twice a year, and keep all electrical wiring covered. Make sure no matches or lighters are anywhere children could reach, and keep children away from the stove, or the kitchen, as much as possible.
5. Water Wise
Drowning is unfortunately a huge cause of child deaths in the home, as children really cannot be left for a second near water unsupervised. Try not to leave bowls or buckets around the house, ensure paddling pools are emptied after use in the summer and keep a good fence around a garden pond. It is also worth checking water resources at other people’s homes; if they do not have children, they are unlikely to have child-proofed any pools or ponds.
Accidents happen for all manner of reasons, so be on your guard to prevent something dreadful before it happens. Speak to other parents about how they approached child proofing their homes, and try to get into good cleaning habits, especially if your child is aged between 0 and 4.