Being a new parent is a blessing in numerous ways, but it can also be filled with different challenges that catch you off guard. One of those challenges is making sure your home is a safe environment for your child to learn, play, and grow in. The common problem with home safety is that you don’t always recognise a dangerous situation until it’s too late. It’s important to educate yourself on proper home safety for kids, as well as take first aid and CPR courses to increase your preparedness for emergency situations. Your pediatrician will have a lot of resources on child safety, as well as, the best emergency care facility in your area and the number to the poison control center.
While we consider a home to be a safe place for our family, there are still hazards within the home that can present risks to young children. Below is a list of common home hazards that can cause injury or harm to your kids:
1. Falling Hazards
From the very start of their lives, babies and toddlers are at risk of falling, especially since their movements can at times be unpredictable. These falls can result in small bumps, bruises, or even serious injuries.
Certain measures can be taken to prevent these fall-related injuries, such as the following:
- Install safety guards in entries to balconies and stairs. However, even with these safety guards installed, an adult should also be present to supervise the children.
- As soon as a baby is able to crawl or walk, lock any nearby windows and restrict window openings to prevent the baby from climbing and falling out.
- Clear out any scattered toys that may pose a tripping risk for both kids and adults.
2. Fires and Hot Objects
House fires are typically caused by cooking accidents, burning cigarettes, candles, faulty electrical wiring, and more. These are extremely dangerous to children. Also, objects that emit heat or have a hot surface should be kept away. Otherwise, an adult should be present to supervise the children’s safety.
Safety measures against burns and scalds:
- Install fire alarms on all levels of the home and make sure to change their batteries as needed.
- Consider investing in a smart smoke detector that can provide real-time monitoring with your smartphone or other devices.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and check it annually to make sure it’s in good working condition.
- Keep hot drinks and plates away from children’s reach.
3. Poisonous Substances
Poisoning is one of the leading causes of illness in children under five, and the culprits are usually common household items such as cleaning products, medicine, pesticides, and even indoor plants. Carbon monoxide is also another serious health hazard for kids.
To prevent home poisoning, parents can do the following:
- Install a CO detector that alerts you if carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels inside your home.
- Store medicines and chemicals that are dangerous to ingest inside locked cupboards or cabinets. You can also purchase child-safety latches on the cabinet doors.
4. Strangling and Choking Hazards
Small children are naturally curious and tend to put everything in their mouths. This can easily lead to choking. Items that can cause strangulation such as cords and curtains should also be kept away, especially because children see them as playthings.
Safety measures to prevent children from choking:
- Check toys for loose or missing parts.
- Frequently inspect the floors for small toys or items that your children might stumble upon.
- Keep small, hard foods like candies or nuts out of children’s reach.
- Cut up or boil hard foods to soften them up, especially for children under four.
- Keep cushions, stuffed toys, and piles of clothing out of cots and prams.
5. Sharp Objects
There are a number of household items that can cause cuts to your child, and it’s easy to leave them lying around. Examples of these sharp objects include razors, scissors, graters, and kitchen knives.
To avoid cuts or other serious injuries caused by sharp objects, you can:
- Store all items with sharp edges in high shelves or locked cabinets.
- Consider using a locking garbage can to prevent children from finding discarded sharp objects such as opened cans and lids.
- When doing an activity that uses sharp objects, make sure to keep the dangerous items out of children’s reach or do them when the children are in bed.
Even though most drowning incidents don’t occur inside the house, bathtubs and even half-filled water buckets can prove fatal for our little ones.
Safety measures to avoid drowning:
- Never leave your children alone in a bathtub for any length of time. An adult must always be present to watch the children.
- Keep toilet lids down and restrict access to the bathroom if no adult is around to supervise.
- Put away buckets for cleaning and keep them empty or away from a water source.
You Can Easily Make Your Home Child-Friendly
New parents may find it daunting to create a safe environment for kids, especially because it often leads to home and lifestyle changes. With a little effort and added precaution, it is possible to keep our children safe, especially if you apply the tips that are mentioned in this guide.