Updated: Feb 25
Today marks the start of Child Safety Week which runs every year and is organised by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). I am a big advocator of promoting child safety, I think this comes from an incident from my own childhood where I got hurt within the home. When I was only 2, I pulled a boiling cup of tea onto myself which resulted me in having severe burns, luckily enough my parents took the correct action resulting me in only having limited scars. However, I still have one scar at the top of my right arm which will be with me for life.
As your young children spend the majority of their time in the home, its important to make sure everything is #safe. Often little ones development will take you by surprise and things which weren’t hazards suddenly are, when they become more mobile with crawling, standing and walking.
In my previous role as a Family Support Worker, one of the things I used to do for families was carry out a Home Health and Safety Check to make homes safe for little ones and help them to source appropriate equipment to make their homes safe.
I also carry out risk assessments within my Norfolk Photography Studio to identify the hazards and reduce the level of risk to children and families during my different photoshoots. I also have certain health and safety measures in place:
-Chemicals are kept on high reach shelves out of children’s reach
-Blind cords have safety clips on them
-Furniture with sharp edges have plastic corner edging on it
-Sockets are covered with covers
-Electrical wires are in trunking and are fixed to the wall so there are no wires as trip hazards
-If windows are open they are secure on lock
-The cupboard in the bathroom has a child safety lock
Keeping children safe from burns at home
Your child’s skin can burn easily because it is very thin. There are simple steps you can implement to reduce the risk of burns at home.
There are some common areas where burns can occur:-
The scary thing with hot drinks is that they can still scald a child even after 15 minutes, due to the sensitive nature of their skin. So its important to remember to always put your hot drink up high out of reach so it is not at a height where you child can pull it down onto themselves. Or you could use cups with lids. Also try not to pick your child up when you are carrying a hot drink.
These are becoming a more common risk in the home, again the hazard with these can still be present 15 minutes after they are turned off. Children are eager to copy their parents, so if they see you using them they will be eager to copy you and grab hold of them. So make sure you use and keep them in a location out of reach from your children where the wire does not hang down as they could pull on this and end up pulling it down. You could also use a heat proof pouch to keep them in.
Keep spare batteries locked away and keep objects with batteries in out of reach of children, as they will soon learn how to get the batteries out. The risk with these batteries is that if swallowed they can get stuck in their throat, which can cause burning.
Your children are eager to be where you are, and a common place is in the kitchen. Your kitchen is full of possible hazards. Make sure kettles and knife blocks are at the back of the worktop so your child can not reach up to pull it down. Try to keep your child out while you are cooking, but if this is not possible consider having them in a high chair or a secure playpen to keep them safe. Again make sure any chemicals / cleaning products are stored in a locked cupboard or on a high up shelf, as these can cause skin burns or can burn the throat.
To avoid scalding the best thing to do is add cold water to the bath first then add the hot. Use your elbow to test the temperature yourself first and you can get various things to add to the bath to show if the temperature is too hot e.g. temperature duck, but of course do not fully rely on these. Also your child might be tempted to try and get more water out, so stay in the bathroom to supervise them. If your child is not stable in the bath use a bath seat to give that extra support to keep them upright.
Fires & Heaters
Make sure these are covered with fireguards to avoid children touching them. Also make sure these are not placed next to children’s beds as they could touch them in the night when your not there.
Keeping Children Safe from Poisoning
Your child is naturally curious and is interested by objects in their surroundings, and shiny packs, bright bottles and coloured tablets are all things will stand out to children, which they will typically explore with their mouth. They are also interested in things they see you use regularly as they want to copy Mum or Dad.
Washing Machine Products
Children often mistake washing capsules for sweets, as they are coloured and look appealing. The easiest thing to do is to make sure your child cannot get hold of them. Keep them in a lockable cupboard with a child safety lock or high up on a shelf. Also don’t leave any products out ready on the unit or in the washing machine ready to add the washing, as it does not take long for a little one to grab hold of them.
Painkillers / Medication
Again these look like sweets and can look eye catching to children. Keep medications in a high up cupboard or in lockable cupboard if it is lower down. Do not leave medication in handbags at children’s reach or on cabinets at child height.
Make sure these are kept high up and out of reach of your children, or again in a locked cabinet. Although they have safety caps, this does not mean that there are no risks to your child.
Further Hazards to Consider
There are a number of hazards within the home which could stop your child breathing, which you might not have not even considered.
Babies like to grab objects and put up to their mouths, as a result they could suffocate if a nappy sack got stuck over their face. So store nappy sacks out of reach of your child and do not leave any in a lower down position where your child can reach them.
Strangulation can occur in an unsafe looped blind cord, with devasting results in under 20 seconds. There is a simple cheap solution to this, which is what I use in the studio which are blind cord clips, that keep the cord and chain safely secured. These can be purchased online from Amazon.
Make sure you use the high chair straps at all times, as you child will often lean forward especially if they drop their cup from the top of the high chair and they could easily fall or slip out of the bottom.
Children are fascinated by outside and will be eager to look out of the window. Make sure there is no furniture or objects in front of the window which your child could use to climb up on. If you open any windows, you can get safety catches fitted so they cannot climb or fall out. Or you could put the windows on lock, but do not leave the keys inside.
Stairs can be a real hazard. Install a handrail as it can be difficult walking down the stairs holding onto a child. Once your baby starts becoming mobile, get a stair gate fitted.
Other Sources of Information
This is only a small snapshot of the many potential hazards that can be present within your #home #environment. As your little ones grow and develop more hazards will become visible which you might not have even considered.
If you would like more information on child safety there is a wealth of materials online:
· Child Accident Prevention Trust
· Child Accident Prevention Trust Facebook Page
· Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
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Written by G.Hampton 01.06.2020
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