Making sure that your kids stay safe and healthy is a big part of raising them. Most of the time, a lot of effort is put in to make sure that they go to the best schools and daycare centers – which is good, of course. But before anything else, every parent must not forget that the safest place for the kids must be one’s own home. Even with all the babyproofing and precautions, there are still a number of risks that may be beyond our control. Read on to update yourself with multiple points of keeping your kids safe at home.
Catch the Fall
If you are welcoming a new baby to the family, everything just changes. Because babies and toddlers are the most curious beings in the planet, you need to be extra watchful to make sure that they are safe at all times. This means that you need to check your own home – every room, every corner, every space – for any possible danger that lurks.
Falls are the most common risks that happen at home. Even though they are usually not fatal, no parent wants to take chances. This risk can be answered with the right planning and use of some equipment to babyproof the area. In fact, the occurrence of falls – especially for kids under the age of four – has brought about a huge variety of childproofing equipment and gadgets in the market today.
So what can you do to prevent falls from happening? Here are a few tips for parents:
- As soon as the baby starts to crawl, employ a safety gate to keep him/her from areas and rooms that are off-limits (e.g. the office, kitchen, bathroom, garage).
- Install safety gates at the top and at the bottom of the stairs. This isn’t a permanent fix, though. Once your kid grows up (as early as two years old), he/she might be climbing over these gates.
- Be wary of the things that lay around in your home, especially on the stairs. These can lead to someone tripping and falling off balance. In addition, maintain adequate lighting in all areas of the home.
- If you have balustrades, ensure that they are strong enough to resist children’s rage and curiosity. Also, make sure that they don’t have any footholds or platforms where kids can climb over.
- If there are any damaged carpets, prioritize repairing or replacing these.
- Use non-slip mats and pads to avoid sliding and tripping accidents.
- Protect sharp edged furniture and corners with cushions, if not to avoid accidents entirely, then to at least reduce the degree of injury.
The Great Outdoors
Windows and patios are a great addition to every home, but can also host a myriad of dangers for your kids. Just like the rest of the house, you need to give attention to the safety measures in these areas. You can do this by following these steps:
- If you must have blinds and/or curtains, skip the cords – or at least tie them high enough so that your kids cannot reach them.
- Kids can run into glass doors and windows by accident. To let them know that the glass is there, use colorful stickers on large areas.
- Have the locks of your windows from the top area to keep kids from opening them from within their reach. Also, make sure that there aren’t any furniture – chairs, tables, countertops – or platforms by which they can climb over to the windows.
Our kids are always on the lookout for holes and creases where they can shoot their tiny fingers and hands. This means electric sockets, too. Use socket covers to prevent them from plugging in their own appliances in there. This is also good advice for kids who are old enough to actually plug in electric devices into sockets out of curiosity. If your home is one of those with built-in shutters that automatically close down the sockets when kids stick their fingers in, then it’s a lot better and safer.
Hide any appliance cords, including lamp cords, behind heavy furniture. Babies may tug these cords and cause lamps or appliances to topple after them. In a similar fashion, remember to anchor cabinets, closets, and drawers to the wall or to the floor to prevent them from falling over the kids under any circumstances.
Fragile and Hazardous
If we haven’t stressed it enough, kids are innately curious and always off to discover new things. This is good for their learning, of course, but can be just as dangerous. As the parent, make it a point to track any hazardous stuff that you throw away. Things like paper clips, batteries, and plastic bags may seem like regular trash, but can be dangerous if within your baby’s reach.
In a similar note, keep sharp objects – pens, paper clips, staplers, scissors, letter openers, and clippers – away from their reach. Keep them in locked drawers or in places that are too high for them to get to. First aid supplies are life-savers, unless your kid gets access to them and accidentally ingests the dangerous substances. Keep these in a locked cupboard, especially those substances that may have poisonous properties in them.
Don’t Burn, Baby, Don’t Burn!
Install smoke alarms and detectors in the house, preferably one in every room – especially in the kitchen. Do regular checks to make sure they’re working. It is recommended to change your smoke detector batteries at least once a year. This is all the more important if you have a working fireplace at home. In addition to smoke detectors, be sure to have an approved fire extinguisher within the premises at all times. Check the expiration date regularly, and replace when necessary.
Homes with no alarms and detectors have twice as much chance of incurring damage, injuries, and deaths from fires. A more pressing concern is the number of children exposed to domestic fire risk, commonly due to lighters and matches left lying around the home.
Lastly, prepare an emergency escape route – for fires, gas leaks, and similar circumstances. Do a practice drill with every family member to be prepared whenever the need for it may come.