How to Ensure Your Home is Child Safe

Making your home safe for children requires thinking about potential hazards from a child’s perspective. Children are curious, mobile, and lack full awareness of danger. Ensuring their environment is safe can prevent painful or even tragic accidents. Follow these tips to childproof your home.

Check for Choking and Poisoning Hazards

Young children explore their world by putting things in their mouths. Ensure they can’t access any small objects like coins, batteries, marbles, pen caps, or small toys that could choke them. Keep purses, bags, and other containers with small items up high and out of reach.

Toxic household cleaners, medications, alcohol, and cosmetics should be locked away. Use safety latches on all cabinets containing hazardous substances. Consider switching to plant-based cleaners with natural ingredients whenever possible. Mount any hand sanitisers up high to prevent accidental ingestion.

Regularly scan floors and low surfaces for choking hazards or dangerous substances a crawling baby could find. Sweep and vacuum frequently to remove crumbs and dirt.

Use Safety Gates, Locks, and Guards

Install sturdy safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs. Use gates or locks to prevent access to rooms with hazards like cleaning supplies or breakables. Install guards on windows above the first floor and guards around fireplaces and radiators.

Use doorknob covers and locks on the doors of rooms you don’t want your child to access alone. Kitchens and bathrooms are common areas that merit extra safety precautions. Cover sharp corners of furniture and walls with padding to prevent injuries.

Secure Appliances, Cords, and Equipment

Unplug and stow away any appliances like irons, space heaters, and hair tools that could burn curious hands. Tie up and anchor any cords from window blinds or drapes that could strangle or injure a child who pulls on them.

Televisions, bookshelves, and dressers should be secured to the wall with straps, anchors, or studs so they don’t tip over onto children. Keep any exercise equipment locked away when not in use.

Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Working smoke alarms dramatically increase your family’s chances of surviving a house fire. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and inside every bedroom. It’s also wise to have carbon monoxide detectors, especially near any gas appliances.

Test every alarm monthly. An easy way to ensure this happens is by using single application testers. Single application testers let you check all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in one spot. 

Check Water Temperature

Setting your hot water heater appropriately is crucial to prevent scalds and burns. The ideal maximum temperature from the hot tap is 50°C. Any higher risks serious burns in just seconds. Install a thermostatic valve or mixer on your water heater to regulate the temperature. These devices automatically blend hot and cold water to ensure what comes out of the tap stays below 50°C, even if the water heater is set higher.

For extra precaution, install thermostatic taps or anti-scald valves on bath/shower taps and sinks frequently used by children. These mixers let you fine tune the temperature or maximum temp at specific fixtures. Always check bath and sink water temperatures with your wrist before placing a child into the water or allowing them to use the tap. Start with cold water first, then blend in hot until it feels warm but not hot.

Use Car Seats and Seat Belts

The single most effective way to protect children in vehicles is to restrain them properly in the appropriate car seat or booster for their age and size. Infants should ride rear-facing until age two or when they reach the seat’s size limit. Toddlers and preschoolers should use forward-facing seats with 5-point harnesses.

When children outgrow the harness seat, use belt-positioning booster seats until seat belts fit correctly, usually around age 8-12. Double check the fit and snugness of straps with every use. Never allow children to ride unrestrained.

Childproof Garden Areas

Outdoor areas require special consideration to keep curious children safe. Ensure all garden chemicals, tools, and equipment are locked securely in a shed or garage. These include fertilisers, insecticides, gardening tools, mowers, and power tools.

Check your garden for poisonous plants like foxgloves, lily of the valley, and deadly nightshade. Remove these or install fencing and warning signs. Also, check for poisonous mushrooms and berries. Teach children not to put any plants, berries, or mushrooms in their mouth without checking with an adult first.

If you have any ponds or water features, install protective mesh fencing or secure covers to prevent access. Supervise children outdoors and teach them to avoid all standing water.

Make sure play equipment has no sharp, jagged, or protruding edges. Blunt or cover the ends of any bolts. Use rounded corner guards to cover pointed corners on playhouses, climbing frames, and wooden playsets. 

It’s important to conduct regular safety checks for potential hazards as your child grows and becomes more mobile. Ensure blind cords are secured, electrical outlets are covered, and any small objects are kept out of reach. Stay vigilant about safety!

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