Life can be busy with a baby or toddler and whilst we are all very aware of road safety and a whole range of other hazards when we are out and about, it’s all too easy to forget about safety when you are at home with your little ones.
According to ROSPA, children under the age of five are more at risk of an accident at home than anywhere else. With this in mind, My Baba contacted Fred Safety to find out more about their Think Safe campaign which aims to prevent accidents and injuries at home.
Identify the hazards
The first step to protect your little ones at home is to identify the potential hazards.
1.Get down to your child’s level and move anything that could cause a problem. This means lifting up floor lamps, house plants and other accessories that you have around your home.
2. Watch out for electrical cables, sharp corners and other potential hazards too.
3. Once you have moved harmful items up and out of reach for little ones, the next step is to think about the items you can’t move. Flat-screen TV’s, bookshelves, floor and table lamps, drawer units and cupboards all pose a threat to small children once they start moving.
4. The key is to be prepared, so you can relax and enjoy those precious first crawls or steps.
You may have seen the news about the IKEA settlement in the press recently, because of the chest of drawers that tipped over and killed a toddler in the US. This shocking story makes very difficult reading, but it does highlight the importance of using effective anti-tip kits on freestanding furniture such as bookshelves and drawer units. Even a small child can make these tip if they start climbing up shelves or opening multiple drawers. It can happen in an instant, so make sure you fit anti-tip kits before your child is able to move around.
Plug socket covers
Look out for exposed plug sockets when you are getting down to your child’s level. It can be far too tempting for little ones to copy you and try to plug things in, or push other items into open sockets, all of which can cause electric shocks or household fires. To prevent these accidents, you can use plug socket covers which you can put in when you are not using the plug socket and then remove them when you need it.
TOP TIP: be careful when choosing your socket covers as they need to comply with safety standards for plug sockets in order to prevent damage to the socket.
Sharp corners on low-level furniture such as coffee tables can pose a threat as soon as children start crawling. As they begin to walk, dining tables, kitchen workshops and other sharp corners can also be a hazard. You can install corner protectors on dangerous edges but remember to fit one on top and underneath the corner to protect against falling down and getting up as a bang to the head can occur either way.
TOP TIP: when choosing a corner protector, it is important to ensure that you aren’t replacing one hazard with another. Look out for designs that stick firmly and won’t present a choking hazard if they do come loose.
Childproof locks and blind cord ties
Windows and doors present an obvious hazard so ensure you have childproof locks on all of them. If you have window blinds then it is very important to keep the blind cords tied up and out of reach of children because they pose a dangerous strangulation hazard to small children if they are left hanging loose.
Door slam stoppers
It isn’t only the risk of opening doors but also the risk of them closing and trapping little fingers, so it is important to use door slam stoppers on internal doors wherever possible to minimise this risk.
Pay close attention to your kitchen
43,000 accidents happen to 0-4 year olds in the kitchen every year according to ROSPA. These are often the most serious accidents that are reported in the home, and most of these are preventable with some easy safety adjustments. Think safe and consider all of the hazards to your children in your kitchen.
Keep kitchen appliances and utensils out of reach
Move kettles, toasters, microwaves etc to the back of the worktop so they can’t be pulled off by a young child and put anything sharp or poisonous away in cupboards or drawers so they are out of sight and out of mind for little ones.
Cupboard and drawer locks
Next, install drawer locks and cupboard door locks on those that contain hazardous items such as cutlery and utensils, electrical goods, cleaning products and medicines. Once your little one starts walking, they will enjoy getting into cupboards and drawers and pulling out the contents so unless you want to have cereal all over your floor, you may want to install locks on all your cupboards and drawers while they are young. If you choose an adhesive design, then these locks can be installed quickly and removed easily when you no longer need them, and they won’t damage your kitchen, so it really is a no brainer!
Use the back two hob rings
One of the most obvious hazards in the kitchen is the hob. When you are cooking try to use the back two hob rings as much as possible, and always angle the handles away from you so that little ones can’t reach them.
Install a hob guard
You should also be wary of children playing with the knobs on the hob and oven as the little buttons are very tempting and just within reach to a toddler standing on their tiptoes as they are often positioned at the front of the hob. To prevent this, you can install a hob guard which puts a physical barrier between your child and the hob.
Top Tip: be careful to choose one that fits securely and wraps around the hob so that little ones can’t reach around the sides.
The easiest way to prevent accidents in the kitchen is to keep your little ones out of harm’s way altogether, and lots of parents find it helpful to install a stair gate on the kitchen door. Some even set up a play pen to enable their children to play safely nearby while you cook.
Think safe in the bathroom
Bath time is great fun for splashing around with your little one, but sadly around 500 children are admitted to hospital every year as a result of burns and scalds from hot bathwater, and a further 2000 attend A&E with the majority under 5 years old.
Invest in a bath thermometer which will tell you the temperature of the water before your little one gets in. Use your elbow to test the water rather than your hand as a child’s skin is more sensitive than an adults. What feels fine to your hand could scald a young child.
Be careful of radiators or towel rails in bathrooms as these can get very hot. Towel rails often operate independently from the rest of your central heating so it can be easy to forget they are switched on.
Never leave your child in the bath unattended
Burns are not the only potential injury in a bathroom, children can drown in just 3cm of water. Never leave your child unattended in the bath and always ensure that toiletries, sharp objects such as razors, and cleaning products are kept out of reach in a locked cupboard or drawer to prevent poisoning.
If you have freestanding furniture in your bathroom then use an anti-tip kit to protect your child if they decide to climb on it or open the drawers while you are in the bath or shower and unable to keep an eye on them.
Falls account for 44% of children’s accidents, and according to ROSPA, sadly ten children die each year from falls, mainly involving stairs.
If your home has stairs then one of the most important things you can do when it comes to child safety is to fit a secure stair gate that complies with BS EN 1930: 2011 safety regulations. It is fairly obvious that you need to fit one at the top of the stairs to prevent children falling down the stairs, but you will also need to fit one at the bottom too to prevent children trying to climb the stairs and then falling back down.
As soon as your child starts crawling, you will probably find that they become fascinated with the stairs, so it is best to fit these before they start exploring!
Stair gates can be ugly and intrusive which can be slightly soul-destroying if you have decorated your home beautifully. Fear not, the Clearview Stairgate from Fred Safety will blend seamlessly with your interiors thanks to its clear but sturdy design. What’s more, it’s fully compliant with all safety regulations so you can rest assured your little ones are safe while your home will still look stylish.
It’s a good idea to keep the top stair gate in place well beyond your little one learning to climb the stairs safely alone because it can be useful to close if your little ones are playing upstairs. This way, you’ll have peace of mind that they can’t accidentally trip and fall down the stairs mid-game. We recommend choosing a design that you are happy to have in place long term, one that’s built to last.
Safety without compromise
Just as the Fred Safety Clearview Stairgate is built to fit seamlessly into your interior design, so is the rest of their home safety range.
Many of the drawer and cupboard locks are invisible on the outside of the cupboard or drawer unit, so you can protect your little ones without compromising on style. The entire range is fully compliant with the latest EU safety guidelines, something that other leading brands are unable to boast at this time.
It’s so important when you are buying child safety products to check for the following safety standards to ensure the products you are purchasing won’t end up posing a risk to your child….
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