Written by: Cally Worden
The home is a safe haven for our families, our go-to place when the need for space and sanity strike. But it is also the most dangerous environment our young children inhabit, mainly because they spend so much time there; they have so much freedom there, relative to when they are outside the house.
How To Make Your HomeÂ Child Proof
Accidents in the home account for more childhood injuries than any other situation. The only other type of accidents that cause more fatalities are vehicle crashes. So, without driving yourself bonkers and seeing danger at every turn, how can you make your home a safer place?
1. Secure tall furniture to the walls – an alarming number of children each year die as the result of being crushed by falling furniture. Wardrobes, drawers, bookcases and dressers all offer the potential for toppling over. These are heavy beasts, kids do love to open doors and climb. Simply securing large items of furniture to the wall with brackets can help.
2. Site your TV somewhere sensible and fix it well – many accidents happen where kids get crushed, because they have been scaling the furniture to reach a TV that has been insecurely sited on top. Even modern, lighter-weight TVs can pack a punch when falling from up high. Accidents also frequently occur from falling TVs that have been improperly attached to a wall. Those flashing, bright images are like a magnet for kids, so it’s important to place the TV safely.
3. Beware balconies, windows, stairs and bunk beds – and any other place up high. Falls account for the majority of hospital visit for injured children, with many dying each year from falls that could be prevented, with proper protection in place. Stair gates, window and door locks and a ban on high furniture like bunk beds, until your kids are old enough to appreciate the dangers are all good options.
4. Wrap up your cords – it may seem impossible that your child could get tangled in a length of cord tucked away in the corner of a window, but it happens with alarming frequency. Injuries and deaths occur each year from stray cords, electric cables and anything else that your child can get wrapped around their neck. Don’t think it won’t happen. I left my 6-year old daughter in the bath for 5 minutes one night, one ear vigilant – she called me in a panic – she had been playing a game with the shower cable and had it wrapped around her neck, not tight but she couldn’t move without it pulling taught. If she’d slipped … Just be aware Mums and Dads, the things you least expect can and do happen.
5. Keep medicines and detergent capsules under wraps – most parents are pretty careful with the drugs they have in the home – paracetamol, ibuprofen, calpol – stuff we all use and so many other things besides. But still, sometimes, kids get their hands on these little pills that look like sweets, or brightly coloured bottles that haven’t been properly sealed. With the rise in popularity of detergent capsules too, increasing numbers of A&E visits are due to ingestion of these interesting-looking ‘snacks’.
6. Be wary of relying on plug-caps for your sockets – a US study found that 100% of kids aged 2-4 were able to remove them within 10 seconds! Tamper-resistant sockets are now available, so may be an option for children who simply can’t resist sticking their fingers (or anything else) into every little hole.