Child-proofing your home
Bringing up babies and toddlers is challenging enough in the outside world. Your number one asset warrants the highest level of protection in all environments, but particularly on the home front.
Help is at hand
With sound advice, the right safety measures and surveying your young charge under an ever-watchful eye, you can safeguard your pride and joy against potential accidents at home.
When inspecting properties, take the Home Safety Checklist (from chapter 24 of A Parent’s Guide to a Kidsafe Home from Kidsafe Australia; and from Safekids Aotearoa Home Safety resources), which covers all potentially hazardous areas. This will help you to pinpoint safety improvements. Ask in advance what child-safety changes the landlord is prepared to make.
At-home safety measures
- Install as many removable safety products, such as door barriers, as you can.
- Ask the landlord for permission to have a few important changes, such as child-resistant catches on kitchen and laundry cupboards.
- Electrical safety switches and smoke alarms are required by law. Check that you have them and they work.
- Create gates or barriers at the top and bottom of stairs to keep young children from falling, and ensure the stairs are well lit. In fact, all interior and exterior steps and stairs should be well lit.
- Use corner protectors on benches, tables and other sharp-cornered furniture.
- Make sure floor coverings are in good condition.
- Use rug grips to avoid slipping and trip hazards.
Preventing outdoor injuries
- Have a safe play area for children that is separated from hazards like cars, driveways and pools.
- Make sure play equipment is stable, has no sharp edges, splinters or pieces that can come loose.
- Play equipment should be placed away from paths and solid garden edgings.
- Cut off sharp branches that hang at child and adult eye level.
- Remove tripping hazards.
- Check that the plants in your garden are not poisonous. Ask your local nursery for advice.
- Check that barbecues are stable. If moveable, put these away when not in use.
- Keep garages and sheds locked. Store tools, chemicals, petrol, climbing hazards and other fuels here.
Sharing is caring
Talk to your friends and family about child-injury prevention. Give safety products as gifts to friends and relatives. Make a list of emergency contact numbers and place it in a prominent spot or near your phone.
Learn first aid
First-aid practice can save lives and equips you with essential techniques to assist accident victims of all ages. For course information, try:
Australian Red Cross www.redcross.org.au
New Zealand Red Cross www.redcross.org.nz