Safety in the home - Rooms
A home is a very special place. It is the place where children should feel safe and comfortable. Unfortunately this is not the case in many homes as the majority of children’s injuries occur in and around the child own home. The good news is that you as parents can protect toddlers and small children from harm.
Just use the following steps to make your home child safe.
- Spot the hazard. Go through your home room for room and identify hazards.
- Decide how to deal with the hazard.
- Remove the hazard.
- Guard the hazard.
- Last resort is to watch your child within grabbing distance
- Make the change. Do this as soon as possible / straight away.
Just remember it is no use having created a physical safe home with out applying safe behaviour and good habits.
Hazards change in the home according to the child’s age and development. Therefore you need to create a safe home for children looking at different risks at different age groups.
No pre- school child can take responsibility for his or her own safety. It is therefore the caregivers and parent’s responsibility to create an as safe as possible environment for children. Children at the toddlers age are active explorative and unpredictable and it is important that parents should think carefully about specific safety in the home. Never depend on telling a toddler not to do something. The younger the child the more difficult it is for them.
It is advisable to crawl on your knees (level of a toddler), to see the hidden dangers in ones home. The world and environment has been designed for adults and unfortunately children are exposed to various dangers. Every parent should take the time to go trough the home from room to room and identify risks and danger spots that could be changed in order to create an as safe as possible environment. It is however important to remember that “ childproofing your home is not a guarantee that no injuries will occur. It will however build in an extra form of protection, which may result in less, severe or fatal injuries, if they do occur.
The kitchen is the center of many households and activities. It is however particularly hazardous due to the presence of hot, electrical and other appliances, toxic substances and sharp objects.
- Never leave small children alone in the kitchen when preparing food.
- Use back burners of the stove and turn pot handles inwards or to the back.
- Keep electrical cords of appliances such as the kettle cord short and out of reach so that they cannot be pulled.
- Install child safety latches on all cupboards with dangerous products (Poisons, glass, sharp).
- Buy potentially poisonous products with childproof caps if available. Always lock away out of reach.
- Install smoke detectors.
- Avoid hanging curtains near the stove.
LOUNGE/ LIVING AREA
- Cover electrical sockets that are not in use with safety plugs or heavy furniture.
- Secure bookshelves and furniture that can topple over.
- Do not overload electrical sockets (same for very room in the home).
- Use place mats instead of table cloths.
- Safety glass should be used for sliding doors and large glass panes. Mark door at child’s level with sticker or tape.
- Tie away loops of hanging blind cords.
- Do not place extension cords under carpets that serve as a walkway.
- Store alcoholic beverages out of reach in a lockable cupboard.
- Never leave matches or lighters lying around.
- Place fireguards in front of fireplace
- Secure loose rugs and carpets
- If you live on a first floor and have no guarding on the windows, install locks that will stop the window from opening too wide. Should however still be able to open in case of an emergency
- Place poisonous plants out of reach.
- Sharp corners of table are covered.
- Never leave small children unattended in the bath.
- Always empty bath when finished.
- Lock away all medicines. Install child locks on medicine cupboards.
- Store razors and other hazardous products out of reach.
- Cover nappy bucket with a secure lid and keep the bathroom door closed.
- Toilet seat guards are available.
- Set hot water cylinder to a safer temperature (50 degrees C or less).
- Use non –slip mat in the bath. Also on the tiles.
- Always place cold water in the bath first and test before using.
- Lock all cleaning products away.
- Make sure that the shower door is made of safety glass.
- Avoid using detachable toilet cleaners in the toilet bowl.
- Remove key from door. Hang on the top of doorframe.
- Never use electrical equipment in the bathroom.
- Avoid leaving medication on the bedside table.
- Never burn candles where children can reach them. Always extinguish when leaving the room.
- Use approved heating equipment.
- It is safer not to carry medication in handbag or keep it out of reach.
- Children should not be allowed to play on bedroom furniture.
- Prevent access to electrical appliance and cover electrical outlets.
- Avoid hanging clothes over heaters to dry.
- If using a cot place it away from windows, counter tops lamps or any appliances.
- Avoid using pillows for infants.
- If still using a cot makes sure that it is deep enough to prevent climbing babies from falling out. Safe designs info available from CAPFSA.
- Use a sturdy changing table and never leave your child of any age unattended on it.
- If child is old enough to sleep in a bed make use of a safety rail at first. Children under six years should not sleep on the top of a bunk bed,
- Do not allow children to play on furniture.
- It is not safe to use an electrical blanket for small children.
- Always try and supervise play. Buy suitable age appropriate toys.
- Throw away broken toys or repair.
- Avoid placing furniture under bedroom windows.
- Tie blind cords out if reach.
- Place baby oils and cleaning products out of reach.
- Make sure the banisters are secure and that the gaps between bars is small enough for children not to be able to fall or squeeze through.
- Make use of safety gates.
- Make sure stairs are well lit.
- Always tidy toys and other objects from stairs.
- Teach children how to use stairs properly
- 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. Both would be the best protection for your child.
- Children should still be supervised even if they use flotation devices.
- Keep potential hazards out of reach.
- 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. So many parents have reversed over their own children in driveways.
- All outdoor play should 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 a good 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 secure.
- If you have play equipment in your garden make sure they are age appropriate and well maintained. Have soft landing surfaces underneath equipment.
- Never leave children unattended near a braai fire.
- Always-empty paddle pools after use.
- Cover deep pond with a net or mesh.
- Make sure you know which plants in your garden are poisonous.
Have emergency phone numbers handy and equip yourself and your caregiver with emergency care knowledge.
Prevention is so much better than cure. Take a few minutes of your time check your home from room to room and make the necessary changes to create a safe as possible home for your child.
COMPILED BY CHILDSAFE