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Home Safety – Expert Advice

Home Safety

As a parenting consultant, and a mum of a little 10 month old, home safety is very much a priority for me. I was a social worker for 10 years, and part of this role included carrying out home safety checks for foster carers.

Recently my 10-month-old has begun crawling, and pulling herself up on furniture. So the time has come to do a safety check in our home. Sadly 67, 135 children were admitted to the hospital due to accidents in the home in 2020. As it is Home Safety Week it is a great reminder to risk assess your home, to help to ensure your little ones are kept safe.

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Here are a few things I am doing to ensure our home is as safe as possible
General:
  • Ensuring that our smoke alarm has a working battery. As a minimum I recommend having at least one upstairs and one downstairs
  • Ensuring window safety (that they cannot swing open or fall on a child)
  • Ensuring all blind cords are short, out of reach of the baby and secured to the wall
  • Keeping small items, which could be a choking hazard out of reach
  • Batteries are kept out of reach of children at all times (any battery operated toys have them screwed in place)
  • Plug sockets have be covered with a plug guard. Did you know that 42% of UK parents have never installed plug socket guards, but 13% report their children have been injured by one?
  • Door slam stoppers have been installed to prevent tiny fingers being slammed in doors

Kitchen:

  • Cupboard safety locks have been applied to cupboards containing alcohol, medicines, and cleaning products. 13% of UK parents state their children have accidentally consumed detergent pods
  • Drawers containing sharp scissors and knives will be kept child locked
  • Table corner guards are placed on table edges – 27% of UK parents state their children have been injured hitting their heads on table corners.
  • A hob cover can prevent children from pulling down pans containing hot contents
  • Kettles will be placed far back on the kitchen work surface, with their leads behind them – to prevent the baby from being able to pull it down
  • A carbon monoxide detector is placed in the kitchen
  • Hot drinks are kept out of reach at all times. As a mum of a small child and another on the way, I like using insulated cups with secure lids. It allows me to drink hot drinks hot, even when I get distracted by baby activities and ensures they cannot spill
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Bathroom:

  • The bathroom door is kept closed when not in use, to prevent young children from going in unsupervised
  • Tap guards can ensure children do not have access to hot water
  • Cleaning products and medicines in a locked or out-of-reach cupboard. Items such as mouth wash should be out of reach.

Bedrooms:

  • Children under age 1 should sleep in a clear environment, free of cot bumpers, mobiles or toys. After the age of 1, a soft toy or comforter may be present in the cot as long as it meets safety standards
  • All furniture is secured so that it cannot topple if the baby attempts to pull or stand on it
  • Small items are kept out of reach to prevent the baby from placing it in her mouth
  • The cots (and later bed) will not be beside a window or radiator which can promote overheating The sleeping environment were possible, will be kept between 16 – 20 degrees
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Hallway / Landing And Stairs:

  • When the baby gets older, we will ensure the external doors cannot be opened by children from the inside – to prevent them from going out unsupervised
  • Stairgates at the top and bottom of the stairs can prevent children from falling down them. 33% of UK parents describe how their child has been injured on the stairs. Screw-mounted gates have a no-trip bar, ensuring that they are not a tripping hazard at the top of the stairs. Gates at the top of the stairs should swing against the direction of the stairs. This is to prevent children from leaning on it and it swinging forward if not closed correctly. Stairgates must be securely attached. We choose to use Fred safety gates as they provide a screw mounting option for the top of the stairs and pressure fit for the bottom.

Living Room:

  • Fire surrounds should be sectioned off to prevent access – to either the fire or the sharp corners. Children should never be left unattended in a room with a fire or log burner in use.
  • Ensure coffee tables contain table corner coffees
  • Hot drinks should be kept out of reach

We opted for Fred Safety home starter pack as it contains so many of the products we require in one bundle. This includes a top drawer catch, 2 lower drawer catches, choke tester (it checks the size of objects to see which are choking hazards), door slam stopper, socket covers, corner protectors, multi-purpose block (perfect for securing cupboards and drawers) and double door block (to secure double cupboard drawers).

This list is not meant to contain helpful advice and does not contain all potential risks in the home. Parents should continue to risk assess in accordance with their own home and the age and stage of their children

Susan Wallace/ Parenting Consultant Expert From Settled Petals