Accidents do happen and more often than not, in the home. As prevention is better than cure, parents can take precautions to make their home safer for their children.
In The Living Room
- Make sure the floor is not wet, especially tiled or polished floors, which can be very slippery for toddlers.
- If you have carpets at home, check them regularly for holes or loose edges that might trip your child.
- If your child can reach the door handle, fix a bolt further up the door to keep it from your child’s reach.
- If you’re living in a home with stairs, fix stair gates at the top and bottom of the staircase. The rails of the stair gate should not be more than 10cm apart. If the gap is too wide, the child could get his head stuck or get through the gap and fall down the stairs. Also make sure the gate is not high enough for the child to climb over.
- If you have a balcony, fix it with railings to prevent your child from climbing over.
- Avoid glass-topped tables and furniture that have sharp corners.
- Do not leave breakable objects, lighted cigarettes or lighters on low tables or within reach of your child.
- Curtain ties and blinds cords should be wound up and kept out of reach as a child could be accidentally strangled by a dangled cord.
- Keep railing wires out of sight and reach of your child so that he won’t trip over, pull, or worse, chew at the wires.
- Cover unused plu sockets with safety socket covers to prevent your child from experimenting with them.
In The Kitchen
The kitchen, with its various cooking activities and household utensils, makes it a potentially dangerous place for kids.
Here’s how you could minimize the risks to your child:
- Turn pan handles or boiling kettles away from the cooker’s edge, so that your child will not reach it and get herself burnt. Teach your child what ‘hot’ means so that she understands a warning.
- Keep all knives, cutlery, heavy pots and pans, medicines, cleaning solutions, matches or stove lighters safe in the drawers and cupboards, away from your child’s sight and reach.
- Never allow your child to touch the microwave oven.
- Keep chairs and stools away from work tops to prevent your child from climbing onto them.
- Unplug electrical appliances when they are not in use.
- Avoid using a tablecloth, even if it looks nice on the table. A walking toddler may pull at the tablecloth, thus bringing everything on the table down on himself.
- Keep your kitchen floor clean and dry, and wipe up any spills immediately to prevent your child from slipping.
- Make sure your kitchen windows are fixed with drills to prevent your child from climbing over.
In The Bedroom
- Do not use cribs or Moses baskets once your baby is about 3 months old as they are not stable enough and may tip over if your baby moves too vigorously.
- Your baby’s cot should be deep enough – at least 50cm from the mattress to the top of the rail to prevent him from climbing out.
- The gap between the cot bars should be between 2.5cm and 6cm wide to avoid your baby getting his head stuck between the bars.
- Do not use a pillow for a baby under 12 months as it could suffocate him. Put a pillow under the mattress instead if you need to raise his head.
- Use a thin sheet or cellular blankets until your baby is at least 12 months old. A quilt may be too thick and your baby may risk pulling it over his face and getting suffocated.
- Always put baby to sleep on his back or side, never on his front, to reduce the risk of cot death.
- Once your child is old enough to climb out of his cot, transfer him to a bed.
- Teach your child to tidy up his toys on the floor each time after he has played to prevent him from tripping over.
- Make sure the bedroom windows are also fixed with grills.
In The Bathroom
- Remember to turn off the heater each time after you have used it. This prevents your child from turning on the water and getting scalded.
- Use non-slip mats on the floor of the bathroom.
- Never leave your baby or toddler unattended in the bathroom. babies or children getting drowned in the bathtub or a pail of water is not uncommon.
- Keep all toilet cleaners and bleach on a high shelf or cupboard, away from your child’s reach.
- Other potential hazards such as mouthwash, make-up lotions, razors and aftershave should also be kept safely locked in a cabinet.
- Keep the toilet bowl lid down after each use.
- Do not mix toilet cleaners with bleach as the mixture can give off toxic fumes.