The statistics for child deaths and serious injuries as a result of accidents in the home are terrifying.
Here are a few top tips that can help to make your home that bit safer.
Use child-gates on risky rooms
No family can possibly make every single room in the house entirely child-safe.
So, accept this and instead make sure your children can’t get access to rooms you haven’t protected. Child gates are modestly priced and easy to fix.
Watch out though – even toddlers are clever enough to quickly learn how to ‘pick’ child gate locks! So, keep an eye on them and upgrade as they get older.
Beware of blinds and curtain cords
Hard as it may be to believe, these can be lethal for young children. In fact, in the USA, roughly one child a month dies as a result of accidental strangulation in these cords.
Look for those which are labelled “child-safe” or make sure the cords are otherwise totally out of your child’s reach.
Secure high and heavy furniture to walls
Again, a surprising number of serious injuries arise each year due to children pulling high furniture down on top of themselves. That often happens as a result of trying to climb up.
A few simple screws or brackets can eliminate this risk.
Use child-proof cupboard and other locks
The obvious examples include places such as utility cupboards where you might have stored cleaning materials and toilet cupboards – perhaps for the same reasons.
Don’t forget your fridge, your electricity and gas meter cupboards, drawers where you might store kitchen knives, toolboxes and anywhere else that comes to mind.
Protect power sockets
Your children will be watching you like a hawk, including when you’re plugging things in. In one second, they could be trying to put their fingers into that socket too.
There are plenty of low-cost ways of sealing off your sockets from intruding little fingers.
Step ladders & stairs
If you have ladders out for a job, always put them away immediately. If you have to step away for a few minutes, get someone to watch your children closely with them.
If not, in a second, they’ll be trying to climb them – with all the risks that brings with it.
Stairs are another nightmare for parents where toddlers are concerned. Best to gate them off until you’re 100% sure your children can handle them safely.
Never, ever, leave a child in a bath unsupervised.
Ideally, also make sure your bath has some non-slip rubber decorations attached to the bottom to stop children slipping when they stand up.
Again, keep all cosmetics and shampoos out of children’s reach.
Fires, burners, boilers
A tricky one this because if you have one in the home, it’ll be on when you need it and you can’t exactly lock it away while in use.
The answer is to use child-proof fire-guards but even these aren’t infallible. Again, best to never leave your children in a room unattended where there is something hot.
Cookers / ovens
Children just won’t understand why they can play with their pots and pans but not yours. Sooner or later, they’ll start to try and reach up and grab things on the hob.
Where possible, only use rings they can’t reach. You can also use various forms of oven protection shields but ultimately, your only recourse may be to never leave your children unaccompanied in the kitchen while you’re cooking.
The most dangerous ages for children in the home run from around their first toddling up to perhaps 5, by which point most will have learned what is dangerous and what isn’t.
Until then, you will need to keep alert.