Before kids come along, you probably wouldn’t think twice about leaving the back door unlocked when you are in the bath or cranking open an upstairs window as wide as it will go on a hot evening. But then you have a child and suddenly the world is a scary place where little ones are vulnerable to all kinds of dangers and your home is full of dangerous hazards.
Keeping a child safe is part of the job description when you are a parent. Outdoors this involves holding their hand when crossing the road and warning them about stranger danger, amongst other things. In the home there are a different set of dangers to think about, many of which are not as obvious. So if you have recently become a parent, here are a few things you need to be aware of when making your home safe for your growing family.
Fire is a very real danger and not something you should underestimate. If a fire breaks out, you have less than five minutes to escape before you are overcome by smoke and fumes. Smoke alarms provide a valuable early warning system and it is advisable to install at least two: one downstairs and one upstairs.
If you live in rented accommodation, check whether there are fully-functioning smoke and CO detectors installed. In larger blocks of flats, a smoke ventilation control system can be installed on stairwells or in long corridors, which will help to keep you safe.
Harmful cleaning products are a real danger to small children. Some bottles are fitted with child-proof lids to prevent a toddler opening them, but not all are so you need to make sure everything of a hazardous nature is locked securely away. This includes medications, as they can look like sweets to an inquisitive child.
Toddlers and babies love to climb stairs, which is fine if you are watching them carefully, but not so fine if they have a go when you are busy cooking dinner. Install stairgates at the top and bottom of every staircase and keep them closed at all times.
Windows and Doors
Adults understand the dangers of open windows but children don’t. They see an open window and are highly likely to try and crawl out with a view to flying like a bird/angel/fairy. To prevent your child from falling out of an open window, install window locks to prevent them from being opened too far.
There are lots of hazards in a kitchen: hot pans, hot ovens, dangerous cleaning supplies, sharp knives, etc. Do a risk assessment and spot the dangers before it’s too late. Luckily there are lots of safety devices you can fit to minimise the risk to your child.
There is no substitute for close supervision, so never let a lively toddler out of your sight, even for a few minutes. Toddlers have no sense of danger and are very capable of getting into trouble, anywhere and everywhere.