TINY TRAPS, BIG RISKS
Your home is a place of safety, comfort and serenity, right? Think again. With an infant or small child in the house, it’s also a danger zone. Once you start looking out for them, you’ll see safety hazards everywhere you look. And while you may be lulled into a sense of security when your baby is a swaddled bundle of joy who can barely raise his head, just wait till he starts crawling – and later, walking!
ALL-ROOM GROUND RULES
Babies like to explore the world with their mouths. Everything, and we mean everything, goes in there. While the tendency will pass, for the safety of your child and the whole family for that matter, it is essential that the floor of your home is kept meticulously clean and free of small, dangerous objects that your curious toddler could choke on or hurt himself with. In addition, toys should be chip-proof and kept spotlessly clean.
Let’s look at the heart of the home, the kitchen. As the site of the most serious of all childhood accidents, it’s a minefield of mishaps waiting to happen. Not only can cabinet doors and drawers slam on little fingers, their contents can range from sharp knives to hot kettles to dangerous household appliances. Here’s what you can do to childproof your kitchen even before the cooking begins.
SENSIBLE SAFETY MEASURES
• ensure that doors and drawers have soft-closing hinges, to prevent slamming
• install safety latches on your fridge and on all doors and drawers
• keep appliances, glassware, spices, alcohol and flammable liquids out of reach
• seal off all electrical outlets with safety plugs
• keep pan and pot handles turned inwards on a cooktop
• ensure your floor is slip-proof
Next comes the bathroom. Everyone knows that water and electricity are a dangerous combination. And where there is water, drowning is also a dreadful and real possibility. Make sure you always unplug electrical appliances such as hair dryers after use and seal all electrical outlets. Keep medication and sharp objects like razor blades out of reach at all times.
LIVING AND DINING ROOM RISKS
The living room is another danger zone. The sofa, a comfortable nest, looks like a play gym to your toddler or small child. Place edge bumpers and corner guards on tables, coffee tables, cabinets and hard chairs. Finally, make sure all your heavy furniture is stable and not easily pulled or tipped over by children – pay particular attention to bookcases and floor lamps.
SET THE SCENE FOR HAPPY MEMORIES
Of course, even when every possible safety measure is taken, accidents could still happen. If a serious accident occurs, stay calm and seek medical advice. Meanwhile, secure your home and enjoy raising your little one, confident in the knowledge that you have done everything possible to create a safe environment. May your home be the setting for only happy family memories!