Safety at home is of the utmost importance to everyone, and even more so if you have children in your house. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide organization, more than 790,000 children die each year from unintentional injuries. Protecting your children and maintaining a safe house can help prevent these unforeseen accidents. And that's why we're here to tell you our best tips for keeping your kids safe and sound at home.
1. A Safe House with a Safe Pool
Many homes in South Africa have a pool, and drowning is the second leading cause of death amongst small children (after traffic accidents). If you've got a pool then a hard cover will stop accidental falls (unlike soft covers, which children can fall through). Drilling your kids on pool safety and making sure that they can swim will further protect them. If possible, fence in your pool to stop kids accessing it without permission.
2. The Poison Cabinet
Another huge killer of children is poison, and that can be anything from cooking fuel to cleaning products, from medications to car antifreeze. Your best bet for keeping curious kids away from poisonous substances is to have a locked cabinet in your home in which you can store all these things. At the very least poisons should be kept on high shelves, out of reach for little hands. Most poisoning cases occur from domestic cleaning products…
3. Burning and Scalding is Preventable
Thousands of children go to hospital each year with burns or scalds, injuries that are completely preventable. Obviously, youngsters shouldn't be running around the kitchen, but since this isn't always feasible always turn the handles of pans and saucepans towards the wall when cooking. This stops kids accidentally knocking them over. Make sure that kettles and other potentially hot items (such as toasters) are pushed back on kitchen countertops to prevent them falling. Keep in mind that other devices, such as hair straighteners, also get hot and should be kept out of reach.
4. No More Falls
Kids are curious and they like to climb, but unfortunately falling is a big risk for little ones with delicate bones. Stair gates are a must (most falling injuries occur on staircases), but you also need to keep an eye out for bookcases and other pieces of furniture that are climbable. A child can easily begin climbing a bookcase, only to have it fall on top of them as they ascend. If it's not possible to move bookcases, then at least remove most of the books, leaving the furniture as light as possible should it fall.
5. Cover Your Sockets
Little fingers fit perfectly into electrical sockets, which is why all the sockets in your home should be protected. Most hardware stores sell socket covers, which are simply small plastic plugs that cover up the socket preventing children from sticking their fingers in.
6. Gun Safety is a No Brainer
Though firearms laws are getting stricter, with around three million South African homes containing at least one gun, gun safety around children must be a consideration. Guns and ammunition should be kept in separate locked boxes, and a loaded weapon should never be kept where a child might find it (and that includes hidden away in a bedside drawer).
7. Yard Activities
Chances are that you're going to be letting little ones play outside in the yard, if only to get some peace and quiet now and then! Prepping kids with helmets, knee and elbow covers for bike riding, skateboarding or in-line skating should help prevent most yard related injuries. When in doubt, strap a helmet on!
8. Temperature Control Your Taps
Something that many new parents don't consider is that hot taps are just that, hot. Many children each year are scalded from simply running a bathroom faucet. Fortunately, you can buy devices that fit onto taps and regulate temperature. These should be fitted especially in the bathroom, where kids are most likely to want to play with water.
9. Lock the Windows
Whilst locking your doors to prevent escape attempts might be second nature, window locking isn't quite as intuitive. All windows should have locks to prevent them being opened, which can lead to children falling. Even if your home is only one storey, a fall of a metre or so can be enough to break bones or worse.
10. The Little Things
Finally, there are the little things that need to be kept in mind. These include things like looping blind or curtain cords to prevent accidental strangulation, keeping plastic bags out of reach to prevent suffocation, making sure small items are out of reach to prevent choking. Kids are curious little things, and will play with anything (not to mention putting things in their mouths). Keeping a clutter free and tidy home is your best bet for making sure that kids don't get their hands on something that they shouldn't have.
Accidents do happen, as much as we don't like to think about them. Keeping a safe house should help to protect your child. It might not be possible to keep your child safe all the time, but if you follow these tips you'll be doing the best that you can!
Main subject: safe at home