Curious, adventurous and still shaping their knowledge of the world around them, children are accident prone by nature. Even the best behaved child could have an accident at some point in their lives due to a simple lack of understanding, and nowhere is this truer than in the home.
From stairs and windows to hot liquids and cleaning products, the home is full of potential hazards that, in normal circumstances, you might not even look at twice! However, with a child in the home they develop a sinister potential…
So how you can you stop these hazards from becoming a danger and improve child safety in your home? Read on for our list of top tips!
Look at your home through a child’s eyes
Get down to your child’s eyeline to see what they can see, and pick out the hazards they could easily encounter. Don’t forget that a house is like an exciting playground to a child: full of things to clamber on, touch and play with. The only problem is that these things might not necessarily be safe!
Keep anything hot out of reach
A young child’s skin is much, much thinner than an adult’s, meaning anything hot becomes even more dangerous than usual. Hair stylers, hot drinks, irons, pans and even oven doors should be supervised or kept well out of reach.
Fit locks on medicine and cleaning cupboards
Thousands of children are admitted to A&E every year due to accidental poisoning, mainly after consuming medicines and cleaning products which are kept in accessible places. If, like 48% of our Child Safety Week survey respondents, you store these products in low places, a simple lock will restrict access. Alternatively, you could always store them higher up.
Keep matches and lighters out of reach
British fire and rescue authorities attended no less than 192,600 fires between 2012 and 2013. 229 of these were started by cigarette lighters and 250 by matches – items which, according to our recent survey, seem to be kept in very easy reach of children. In fact, 39% of parents kept them in a regular drawer rather than out of reach or locked away.
These figures also illustrate just how important it is to have a smoke alarm fitted, and to test it once a week, as recommended. It only takes a few seconds!
Don’t leave children unattended near water
While 98% of our survey respondents didn’t have a pond, the 2% who did kept it completely open. This could spell disaster for any young, unattended children who stray too near the water’s edge.
Ponds aren’t the only area of household water that could be dangerous to children though – even a shallow bath could prove fatal if a child was to slip unsupervised.
Prepare for the worst
By ‘the worst’ we mean things like serious falls, which are much more common than you’d think; every week almost 800 under-fives are taken to hospital after falling downstairs, and almost 2,000 after falling from a building.
If you are one of the 41% of respondents who didn’t have a stair gate, the 6% who did but didn’t use it, or the 27% of respondents whose windows didn’t have child safety features, it’s a sobering thought.
Consider the small things
While preparing for the worst is a great precaution, you mustn’t overlook smaller household hazards either. Pan handles hanging over the edge of a hob, long cords hanging down from blinds, mats and rugs without non-slip pads and sharp furniture edges are just some of the seemingly insignificant things that could harm a child.
Don’t become complacent
When we juggle children, work life and a social life, it can be easy to become complacent about household child safety amidst the hustle and bustle. One example is the number of unused baby gates cited in our survey, or the 9% of survey respondents who had plug covers but didn’t use them.
One of the best ways to increase child safety in your home is to take a leaf out of your little one’s book and indulge your curiosity. Keep learning about child safety, conducting research and raising your own awareness about the dangers you don’t always hear about in everyday life.
However, it isn’t just your own awareness that could be improved by research and education; other peoples’ awareness could too! By passing on your knowledge and teaching others about just how many potential hazards could be hiding in plain sight, you could help even more parents to reduce the number of children being admitted to A&E due to preventable household accidents.
The full results of our Child Safety Week survey, our child safety infographic and other child safety blog posts are a great place to start your education.
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