Of all the places your child goes, your home should be the place where they feel safe and secure. However, each year, millions of children are injured or become unwell because of preventable accidents in the home or exposure to toxins. More often than not, these incidents are pure accidents which occur simply because parents are not aware of the dangers themselves as they are not immediately apparent. Every parent wants to provide a home for their child, which is both healthy and safe, so here are 7 of the most crucial steps to take to make your home as child-friendly as possible.
- Protect Children From Hot Water
Make sure that the temperature of your hot water is set to no higher than 120 degrees F. If you were to put your child in a bath of hot water (140 degrees F); it can burn a child’s skin as quickly as fire. In addition to setting the thermostat, you should always check the temperature of the water before your child comes into contact with the water. Kettles should be placed out of reach of children ensuring the cord is not hanging where it can be pulled and, of course, extra care should be taken when moving and placing hot drinks when children are in the house.
- Get Your Electrical System Checked
A faulty electrical system in your home puts everyone at risk not only from electric shock but also potentially from a fire. The National Fire Protection Association advises that all electrical work done should be carried out by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections when remodeling or buying a home. If you are using lots of extension cords in your home, this could lead to overloading, but by searching for “licensed electricians near me”, you will be able to install more outlets in your home to improve this safely.
- Secure Your Windows
You may not realize it, but thousands of children visit the emergency room every year after falling out of a window in their own home. These accidents are entirely preventable by merely installing window guards on the windows. These are bars or mesh screens which are secured to the frame to prevent children from opening and falling out of the window, but they are easy and quick for an adult to release in the event of a fire. If you have cords on your shades and blinds, keep furniture which children can climb on away from them as young children can become entangled or even strangled. Ideally, try to use cordless blinds, especially in your child’s bedroom.
- Prevent Falls and Bumps
Falls cause a huge number of accidental injuries in children under 14, but toddlers who are just learning to walk are at most risk of falling down the stairs or off of/into furniture. Wall-mounted baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs will stop children from using them without your supervision. You may also want to add padding or cushions to sharp corners of tables to minimize the damage caused if/when they bump their head.
- Keep Poisonous Products Locked Away
Children are curious explorers by nature and have a nasty habit of putting what they find in their mouth. This is why you need to ensure that any products which could cause them harm if ingested are out of reach and locked away. This includes household cleaning products, cosmetics, bathroom toiletries, and more. If you suspect that your child has ingested a poisonous substance, contact the Poison Control Center.
- Have a Fire Safety Plan
In addition to a smoke alarm on every floor of the house, every home should have a fire escape plan which older children and adults know by heart. You should test these smoke alarms every month and never let batteries run flat. It’s also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in your home to put out small fires. However, if you cannot contain the fire, get the family out of the house and call 911.
- Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas produced when fuels like natural gas, propane, oil, kerosene, and coal do not burn completely, and it’s hazardous, especially for children. The carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in the bloodstream, which starves the heart and brain of the oxygen they need.
Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be much like the flu as well as dizziness, nausea, fatigue and passing out, and in extreme cases, it can cause brain damage and even be fatal. Because it can’t be seen or smelt you may not be aware that you are being poisoned until it’s too late, so it’s essential to get a carbon monoxide detector which will alert you when there is a leak. You should also get your heating system checked and serviced annually to ensure it is operating safely.
Your home should be a safe haven for not only your children but for yourself and your partner too. Often, parents are not aware of the dangers in a home until their child gets hurt, but by being prepared and keeping the above hazards in mind, you’ll be able to protect your child in the house effectively.