Keep children safe in the home

Many parents who take precautions to keep their children safe from dangers in the outside world are quite unaware that accidents in the home are one of the major causes of hospital or clinic visits.

Luckily, a few simple precautions and a dash of common sense can prevent many mishaps that could cause injury says Martin Schultheiss, CEO of the giant Homenet real estate group. The following checklist is a good start:

* The first rule of home safety is keeping medicines and cleaning materials out of reach – yet poison centres report that these substances cause a high percentage of annual cases of poisoning. Keep medicines and cleaning materials in lockable cupboards.

* Keep probing fingers out of power points by fitting safety guards over unused plugs.

* Wind blind cords safely around bobbins high on walls to prevent young children choking on trailing loops.

* Make sure bookcases are stable and balanced – preferably fixed to walls with brackets – and will not fall over on a child using them as ladders or climbing frames.

* Stairs can pose a serious hazard to toddlers and older children alike and should be guarded by safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. Latches on the gates should be toddler-proof.

* Decks and balconies should have balustrades with rails close together so that children cannot climb through. Plastic mesh firmly secured to vertical railings will afford extra security.

* Children at play often run into glass doors and can sustain serious cuts if the glass shatters. Place stickers or decals at children’s eye level.

* Kitchens can be trouble spots. Make sure sharp knives are not easily accessible, prevent cords of electrical appliances such as kettles form dangling over countertops and make sure that pot handles are always turned inward when meals are prepared on the stove.

* Slippery baths and showers are the cause of many concussions. Place non-slip mats or strips in the bath and shower.

* Pools should be securely fenced and pool gates should be kept locked. Teach children to only enter the pool area when there is adult supervision and discourage horseplay in the pool.

*Garages are magnets for curious children, especially if the garage doubles up as storage space. Preferably keep doors locked, make a habit of locking car doors, and store all hazardous chemicals such as weedkiller, fertilisers, paints and cleaning materials under lock and key.

Article by: