Go outside with your little ones and, like the vast majority of parents, your senses will be on full volume, with your eyes and ears open to potential dangers. And for a good reason – it’s a scary world out there. The trouble is that when we get home, it’s easy to take our eyes off the ball. And given the fact that the majority of child accidents occur in the home – which includes an astonishing 6,000 deaths every year – it’s something we all need to be aware of.
With these grim statistics in mind, I thought I would go through some of the things you might need to do around the home to offer your children a safe environment for playing and investigating. Take a look and see what you think – and feel free to leave any other ideas you might have in the comments section below.
Most savvy mums and dads will be covering their unused electrical outlets with protective coverings already. But don’t forget about the dangers of loose leads and wiring – kids love to grab them, and you don’t want to tempt them to have a chew. There are a few things you can do, from using wire fixing clips to building custom coverings to hide all the wires at the back of your TV.
Kids will try and drink or eat anything, so make sure that any household chemicals are stored well out of reach. Most come with safety tops, but you can’t rely on them working – nor can you count on yourself to do them up properly during those exhausted moments. The best bet is to store chemicals and cleaning products safely on high shelves and cabinets that are unreachable for your kids.
Furniture can cause a lot of damage to a small child. Inquisitive little minds will try reaching up and exploring drawers, wardrobes, and cabinets, and there is a chance that they could end up pulling them down on top of them. Ensure your furniture is secured to the walls, to prevent any potentially disastrous accidents. Watch out for trapped fingers, too – slow closing drawer runners in your furniture will help your kids avoid an agonising crush.
When you are busy, it can be easy to forget that the boiling water you make for your mid-morning coffee can be incredibly dangerous to your children. It only takes a probing arm to bring a coffee cup or kettle full of boiling water downwards – and the result will be long treatment at your local burns and scalds unit. Always be wary about cooking, boiling water, or anything else that involves dangerous materials or liquids in the kitchen.
I know it can be tough to keep on top of your home when you are busy running after multiple children. But if you do one thing, make sure you are cleaning up any choking hazards. Again, it only takes a second for a small child to swallow a tiny piece of LEGO or a little toy – and the results can be catastrophic.