When you’ve lived together without children there are a few aspects of home life that you take for granted. For instance, you wouldn’t dream of putting your hands near a naked flame and neither would your partner, nor would you play around with sharp knives in the kitchen. Adults understand how to keep themselves safe, mainly through learning how to do so as children and being protected and taught by their parents, teachers and other responsible grown-ups.
Kids, on the other hand don’t know anything about safety until they are taught about it. If you’re parents with a growing family you need to do some clear thinking about possible hazards and ways to keep your baby, toddler or older children safe. Here are a few ideas to help.
Well of course you don’t want your baby to literally bounce, however, you do want them to be handled and transported safely. When very small, babies look around a lot and soon begin to recognize familiar faces and will thrash their arms and legs about. Protecting them at this age is about making sure the surfaces they lie on are comfortable and suitably padded, perhaps a changing table or mat, or a soft carpet or mattress. Protecting them while they sleep is also important, that’s why you’ll want to pay attention when being told about the safest sleeping positions for babies and to invest in a baby monitor. Further information is available online.
As babies grow stronger they learn to roll over and to hold their heads up. That is the time to make sure you don’t leave them alone on a changing table, as one quick roll could find them on the floor. Use cushions and soft toys at floor level to help them get stronger safely and be vigilant when they are in baby equipment that makes them more mobile. Remember that, if teething, they will immediately put anything they can hold into their mouths.
At the toddler stage children should be constantly monitored unless they are safely enclosed in a playpen. Once they are crawling, before they start walking, they can find trouble easily and remarkably quickly. Use toys appropriate to their age and their skills – avoid small parts when these are still a potential choking hazard.
A useful precaution when your kids become mobile and agile is to move any potential hazards higher up the walls as they grow. Watch out for audio and video equipment as well as TVs and their remotes that are reachable by a young child. Banish any trailing electrical cables and use safety covers on electrical sockets. It’s safer to tuck away floor length drapes until your children are older, and to ensure blinds don’t have long cords that can cause strangulation if your child becomes entangled. In a safe home your kids will also be shielded from heat and electrical hazards and kept safely out of any cupboards storing domestic chemical products. Use childproof or magnetic locks to maximize safety. Medicines, detergents, dishwasher products and household cleaners should be kept out of the reach of children at all times.
Home safety measures
As long as you take a pragmatic approach to safety in your home regarding your children you will be operating on the right lines. All your appliances, including fire alarms, intruder alarms and carbon dioxide monitors should be regularly checked. Should an appliance develop a fault, as long as your household is covered by a home warranty company you can report the problem, and have it repaired or replaced promptly and safely simply by visiting the company website.
Don’t forget the garden when your children are old enough to be out and about unsupervised. As well as keeping your household tools under lock and key you need to ensure garden equipment is safely stored so it can’t be accessed without adult supervision. Sharper and heavier pieces such as saws, forks, hammers, shears and any chemicals used to control garden pests should be out of sight and out of reach. By all means encourage your kids to enjoy being outdoors learning to grow everything from sunflowers to vegetables, just make sure they do so when supervised by responsible adults.
As they grow, your kids are going to pester you for gadgets. Stay strong and read up on the best ways to handle this and the methods you can employ to keep them safe when online in your home.