If there’s any place where you should feel safe and secure, it’s your home. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make your home a safe environment for your kids. Having active children increases the risk of accidents due to their desire to explore. Child-proofing your home can give you greater assurance of your kids’ safety as they romp and play. A comfortable, safe and secure home will be a haven for the entire family. Learn the importance of Home Safety here.
Home safety begins with making an assessment of your property to see what safety measures are needed to make it a safer environment for your children. Your home safety assessment should take into account every area of your home to include bathrooms, kitchen, patio and yard.
Every year, over a million children suffer home accidents requiring hospital care in the UK alone. Children under the age of 5 are considered most at risk. However, parents should be conscious of danger areas in their home that can cause any of their kids harm.
Child proofing a home makes it a safer environment for kids to explore. By making a home safety checklist, you’ll get a better idea of how to establish a child friendly home. The following home safety tips create greater awareness of potential dangers in the home. They also offer preventative measures that can be taken to improve safety at home.
Falls account for approximately 44% of kids’ accidents in a home. By creating a safer home environment, you can protect your kids from the risk of falls.
Viewing your home from a child’s perspective gives you a better idea of what they can get into during their times of play. Young kids, for example, won’t consider the dangers of running up and down stairs, climbing on furniture or hanging out windows. Babies and toddlers also need extra protection to keep them safe from falls. The following measures can help guard your kids from falls.
- Put window guards on upper story windows as a precaution against kids falling.
- Makes sure babies and toddlers are strapped into their high chairs, swings and strollers.
- Place safety gates on the top and bottom of stairs.
- Secure top heavy furniture and TVs to walls to prevent their tipping over if pulled or climbed on.
- Keep stairs well lit at night and free of obstacles kids can trip over. Replace worn carpeting to avoid tripping and falling.
- Choose furniture with rounded edges or attach cushion corners to pointy edged tables or desks to prevent serious injury from a fall.
- Make home rules against running in the house or playing rowdy games in areas where kids can get hurt.
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in a home. Young children should never be allowed in the kitchen unsupervised when meals are being cooked. Kids can also suffer burns from fireplaces, heaters and outdoor BBQs. By taking these safety precautions, you can help prevent accidental scalding.
- Never cook with a child in your arms.
- Keep high chairs and strollers away from the stove during cooking to avoid grease splatters.
- Use back burners for cooking and keep pot handles out of your kids’ reach.
- Wait for hot foods and drinks to cool down before placing in front of children.
- Keep matches and lighters out of your kids’ reach.
- Keep water heater settings no higher than 120 degrees F to avoid scalding.
- When bathing a child, run the cold water first and then add hot water. Always check bath water temperature before allowing your child to enter.
- Supervise young children in the tub to prevent their turning on the hot tap and getting scalded.
- Place fireguards in front of fireplaces and never leave young kids unsupervised in front of a fire.
There are measures you can take to safeguard your home from fire. One of the most important is installing smoke alarms in strategic locations on your property.
Installing a smoke alarm can help save your life in the event of fire. Studies reveal that approximately 60% of home fire fatalities occur in residential homes without smoke or fire alarms. Taking this one step can help preserve the safety of your entire family in the event of a fire.
In addition to these devices, it’s important for parents to be wary of potential hazards that could start a fire in their home. Such hazards could include:
- Faulty electrical cords on appliances or faulty outlets
- Electrical wires that run beneath carpeting or rugs
- Portable heaters placed close to curtains or furniture
- Faulty kitchen appliances
- Unsupervised cooking in the kitchen
- Unattended fires in the fireplace or BBQ area
- Careless cigarette smoking, especially at night
- Kids playing with matches or lighters
- Careless use of candles
Fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors are also worthwhile devices to have in your home. Carbon monoxide is a deadly and unobtrusive gas that’s difficult to detect without proper equipment. By installing CO detectors close to bedrooms, you can be forewarned if this gas is reaching dangerous levels in your home. This gives you and your family ample opportunity to escape unharmed.
A fire extinguisher can be extremely handy in the kitchen in the event of a grease or electrical fire. It’s also good to have an extra extinguisher near your bedroom or in your garage to help fight accidental fires that may arise.
Babies and toddlers are notorious for putting things in their mouth, making them extremely susceptible to choking. Any small objects that attract their attention could be potentially hazardous to their health. Young kids can also choke on food that gets accidentally lodged in their throat during meals.
The following home safety tips can help provide greater awareness of the dangers of choking and how to prevent it.
- Make sure your toddler’s food is cut in tiny pieces to avoid getting stuck in his throat when eating.
- Avoid giving hard or round foods to children 5 years old or under to prevent accidental choking. Such foods include hot dog pieces, hard candy, popcorn, cheese chunks, nuts and grapes.
- Don’t purchase toys with small pieces for younger children.
- Keep babies and toddlers away from older siblings’ toy sets that contain small pieces such as Legos, construction sets, etc.
- Keep everyday objects such as keys, refrigerator magnets, coins, etc. out of your toddler’s reach.
- Sweep your floors regularly to protect crawling babies from finding small objects they can choke on in their path.
Never underestimate the curiosity of a child when it comes to trying out adult medications. Kids are always on the lookout for new and interesting products to explore and medications make interesting options, especially if they look like candy.
According to Safe Kids Canada, “medication is the leading cause of poisoning in children over all other toxic household substances.” Most cases of medicine poisoning are due to kids getting into their parents or grandparents medications. By being forewarned of this danger, parents can take greater precautions in guarding their medicines.
- Store all medications under lock and key or at least out of sight and reach of young children. If your kids know you carry pills in your purse, keep it stored in a safe location out of their reach as well.
- Keep non-prescription health products such as eye drops, vitamins, cough syrup, etc. out of your children’s reach.
- Make sure you give your kids proper dosage of vitamins or medicines they take to avoid health problems from overdosing.
- Discard old medicines down the drain or toilet where kids cannot get ahold of them.
- Post a toll-free Poison Help Number on your fridge or close to your phone for emergency situations.
Medicines are not the only hazardous substance that can result in accidental poisoning. By getting into any number of household cleaning products, your kids can suffer poisoning. Household cleaners such as bleach, liquid furniture, dishwashing liquid, toilet bowl cleansers, etc. should always be stored in a safe location out of your little ones’ reach.
Keeping your home safe and protecting your kids from harm is a daily process. By doing some home safety research on the Internet, you can gain a better perspective on how to maintain a safer home environment.
Safety should also be a priority when purchasing a new home. Additional safety topics around the home are covered here. They include Outdoor Safety, Food Allergies, Travel Safety, Outdoor Safety, School Bus Safety and Neighbourhood Safety. Are there any other areas we should consider?