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NSM Tips: How to make your home safe for kids

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Breakfast

Every year, about 280 children in Australia die as a result of an injury… and more than half of these injuries happen at home. There are hazards everywhere! Realistically, it’s not possible to supervise your child 100% of the time (and it’s even harder when you have two or more!), so having a home that is safe for kids makes life a lot less stressful.

We asked members of the North Shore Mums Facebook group to share the things that they have done to their home to make them safer. So please… read through this very comprehensive list, and if you have any other safety tips, please comment at the bottom of the article. 

REDUCE THE RISK OF BURNS & SCALDS

  • ‘Turn down the water temp on your hot water to reduce risk of scalding.’ – Kathy.
  • ‘Make sure all cups of tea/coffee are very safely out of reach so they can’t be pulled down by bub. Have heard of some very bad scald injuries’ – Sharon.
  • ‘Water heater with temperature panels. We set the one in the kids bathroom to 41 degrees so even if they play with the taps or my eldest wants to run his own shower they can just turn the tap to hot all the way and it won’t s scald.’ – Amanda.
  • ‘If you are replacing your oven, try to purchase one that has a child lock feature so it can’t be opened by children when it is running (but you still can) and cool touch glass (especially if it is under bench).’ – Amanda
  • ‘Remove the knobs from the front of the stove and keep them in a cup on a high shelf. Knobs just push back on to use, but the plates/oven can’t be turned on accidentally if the knobs aren’t on.’ – Cate.
  • ‘We no longer have a kettle and have a Zipp tap instead that has a safety release. No chance of our youngest pulling a kettle onto himself.’ – Amanda.
  • ‘We use Contigo travel mugs for our hot drinks around the kids (as do the grandparents). The do not spill as the have a button release. They have the added benefit of keeping your tea or coffee hot for four hours so no more half finished cups of tea left around.’ – Amanda.
  • ‘Don’t leave cords hanging down. I pulled a just boiled kettle down when I was three and still have the scars to prove it. The fact that it was winter and I was wearing corduroy overalls apparently saved me from very severe burns.’ – Dana.
  • ‘Keep pot & pan handles out of reach and not hanging over the front of the stove top.’ – Natanya.
  • ‘Get rid of column heaters and have environmentally friendly and cheap to run radiant heating panels on the ceiling of our children’s rooms. No chance of them burning themselves or toys being left leaning up against a heater.’ – Amanda.

DSC_1147

REDUCE THE RISK OF POISONING

  • ‘I did a First Aid course and they told us the two most common causes of poisoning in kids are the contraceptive pill and the little tablet toilet cleaner that goes in a cage in the toilet – kids think they are lollies. So keep the pill out of reach and don’t use toilet tablet cleaners.’ – Judy.
  • ‘All of our medications are in a big plastic box in a cupboard above the fridge, vitamins too away from little explorers. This is inconvenient but makes me feel much better. ‘ – Mary.
  • ‘Make sure all small magnets, especially the really strong round ones, are kept out of reach on the fridge. Kids who have swallowed more than one have had major stomach surgery. The magnets ‘lock’ together on opposite sides of the intestines causing infection and holes in the lining.’ – Larissa.
  • ‘Put all medication in a top cupboard out of reach. We are also in the habit of telling each other if we have given medicine to the kids so there are no double ups.’ – Shannon.
  • ‘Put child safety locks on all cupboards that could have dangerous substances in them – kitchen, laundry and bathroom.’ – Aleesa.
  • ‘Definitely medicines and pills out of reach.’ – Ellie.
  • ‘Keep items with those highly toxic little round batteries out of reach. Electronic car keys, garage remotes, ear thermometers etc.’ – Natasha.
  • ‘We have the Poisons Info number written on the phone. It’s 13 11 26’ – Melissa.

completeblinds_160x600_01REDUCE THE RISK OF DROWNING

  • ‘I’ve heard that more children drown in buckets than pools. Never leave a bucket of water in reach unattended, use buckets with tightly fitted lids for soaking washing, and always empty the bath.’ – Jennifer.
  • ‘We have a lock down pool net over our pool in addition to having a pool gate. This net is tensioned so that even if a child gets into the pool area they have no way of getting into the actual pool.’ – Amanda.
  • ‘Don’t have open bowls of water (like pet water bowls) accessible by babies. They can drown in as little as 5cms of water. There are some safer bowls that you can get for this.’ – Larissa.
  • ‘Ensure your pool fence is secure and there is nothing around your child could climb up on to open it.’ – Mary.
  • ‘Never leave your child unattended in the bath, even for a minute. Also, be sure to take the water out of the bath as soon as you have removed your child.’ – Rebecca.

REDUCE THE RISK OF STRANGULATION

  • ‘Never hang your handbag on door handles. I know a heartbreaking story of a toddler getting his neck caught one.’ – Bianka.
  • ‘Make sure blind or curtain cords are not dangling down by the floor or near furniture. Ensure you get brackets to keep loose cords hooked up high ’ – Liv.

REDUCE THE RISK OF SUFFOCATION

  • ‘Make a habit of always tying plastic shopping bags in a knot so kids can’t use them as “hats”. If I’ve ever got plastic bags, I tie them the minute I finish unpacking, as a habit.’ – Sharon.
  • ‘Make sure the glad wrap and plastic bags are inaccessible. My husband and I do a ten minute check around the house every night before we go to bed to make sure there are no safety hazards that we may have missed.’ – Michelle.

REDUCE THE RISK OF FALLS

  • ‘Keep furniture away from windows or balcony edges.’ – Bronnie.
  • ‘Never walk away from your baby (even newborns) if they are on a high surface, e.g. change mat. Some newborns can roll.’ – Catherine.
  • ‘If you live in an apartment, do NOT assume that a flyscreen will stop a toddler from falling out. They are extremely flimsy. Remove any climbable furniture from near windows’ – Beth.
  • ‘Bit of an obvious one, but have safety gates at the bottom and top of your stairs.’ – Bronwyn.

REDUCE THE RISK OF KIDS ESCAPING

Fit a door chain up high

  • ‘Double gates down the side of the house…. kind of like an air lock. Firstly it keeps the kids from anything we may have stored down there, and secondly I know they are unlikely to get through two gates to get to the street.’ – Amanda.
  • ‘All our sliding doors have a two way turn snib so our youngest can’t get into the laundry, butlers pantry or gym etc. when we are not around.’ – Amanda.
  • We have a door chain locks up high on our front door, so there is no chance of the kids unlocking the front door and running onto the road’ – Rachel.

REDUCE THE RISK OF BEING CRUSHED

  • ‘Bolt all tall furniture to the wall… chests of drawers, bookshelves, plasma TVs etc. ‘ – Karen.
  • ‘Secure the TV to the wall so it doesn’t fall on them.’ – Shannon.
  • ‘TV’s secured to wall (dressers, cabinets, bookcases etc. even items you might think are too heavy for them to pull over, secure it anyway)’ – Mary.
Plasma

Make sure your plasma TV is secured to the wall.

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS FOR HOME SAFETY

  • ‘Get down to their level and look at all the things they could get to. It’s surprising the things you miss until you crawl on the floor.’ – Kayla.
  • ‘Use plug covers to stop them poking stuff in the plug holes’ – Lorna.
  • ‘No glass within reach anywhere. All sharp items in the kitchen moved up above benchtop height. Blind cords properly secured and tight. And stools kept out of reach as they foil all the toddler-proofing work!’ – Marietta
  • ‘Gaffa tape electrical cords on floors’ – Cristina. 
  • ‘Ensure all cupboard doors with dangerous items have safety clasps – protect your children from knives, cutlery, kitchen utensils, office supplies, bathroom supplies (shampoo, soaps etc), alcoholic beverages, laundry supplies.’ – Mary.
  • ‘Locks on tools and other dangerous items in garage and shed. Gas bottle on BBQ should be locked away when not in use.’ – Kathy.
  • ‘Buy kids toothbrushes with the really rubbery flexible heads. My dentist told me that kids often slip off the little footstep and fall headfirst onto the ground with toothbrush in mouth going through the back of the throat .’ – Judy.
  • ‘Never hang paintings or any heavy frames above the children’s beds in case they fall down. Stick to wall decals, fabric hangings and/or bunting.’ – Amanda.
  • ‘Get those rubber things that go on doors to stop fingers getting slammed in them!’ – Larissa.
  • ‘Remove all locks on internal doors even the toilet and bathroom or at least the keys. My husband locked himself in once when he was 3 and his mum always tells me the story as it really affected her!’ –Emma.
  • ‘Make laundry and garages absolute no go zones – gates if necessary.’ – Kerry.
  • ‘Change the bath tap to one that swivels out the way so kids can ‘t hit their head on it during bath time.’ – Amanda.
  • ‘Never leave sharp knives on the kitchen benchtop. Ensure your knife block is pushed to the back of the benchtop, and the handles facing parallel (not out) ’ – Sandie.

What’s your best tip for home safety? Please share your knowledge and comment below!

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