Child safety proofing
Hazards in the home injure or kill thousands of children every year. By using simple child safety devices these incidents can be prevented.
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.
- Have a first aid kit at hand.
- Have emergency contact numbers on your phone.
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!
Inspected Once, Inspected Right!®