How to avoid accidents and make your home safer for your children.
Making your home safer
Many accidents are caused through carelessness - leaving toys lying on the stairs, putting a child in a bath that's too hot, or carrying a hot drink while you're carrying your child.
It's impossible to child-proof your home completely, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risks.
Measures you can take immediately:
- Fit child-proof locks on cupboards where you keep cleaning products - many contain hazardous chemicals.
- Use a stair guard for very young children.
- Put cold water in the bath first and then add hot, not the other way around.
- Don't use a tablecloth if you have a crawling or toddling child.
- Get down on your hands and knees to view potential hazards from a child's perspective.
- Move furniture, such as beds, sofas and chairs, away from windows to prevent children climbing up and falling out.
- Keep knives, razors, sewing kits and DIY tools locked away.
- Make sure your garden is safe - if you have a pond, put a fence around it.
Fire is the biggest killer of children in the home. Installing a smoke alarm is the single most important thing you can do to protect your family. Fit smoke alarms and test them regularly. Put one on every floor of your house. Most fires break out between 10pm and 8am when you're likely to be asleep.
To minimise the risk of fire:
- Keep matches, lighters and candles in a place where children cannot see or reach them.
- Put a childproof fireguard in front of an open fire or heater.
- Never leave children alone in the kitchen when you're cooking.
- Don't overload electrical sockets.
Everyone in your family - including children - needs to know what to do in the event of a fire starting. If you have a child under five, make sure they know to tell an adult if they discover a fire and that they must never hide - many young children think hiding from a fire is the best way to deal with it.
If your child is aged over five:
- Plan and practise an escape route - make sure they know the easiest way to get out of your house or flat and practise regularly.
- Make sure your children know where keys are kept - it's important door and window keys are kept in the same place.
- Explain what to do if they can't get out - show them the best room to take refuge in, for example, a room with a window and a flat roof outside.
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