Safety At Home

Safety at Home

A home is where young kids and young families spend most of their day, hence, it  is important for our home to be a safe and nurturing environment. 

 

Some safety concerns that children may encounter at home are: 

  • Trips & falls
  • Bumps & bruises
  • Breakables & sharp items
  • Burns & electric shocks
  • Poisonous items
  • Choking 

Main Strategies:

  1. Baby/Childproof the house
  2. Household rules
  3. Household systems 

Baby/Childproof the House:

Trips and Falls 

Dangerous falls could cause serious injuries! Some simple preventative strategies: 

 

1. Make sure windows and balconies are inaccessible by child: 

  • Install grilles/invisible safety wiring/screen 
  • Doors remain locked unless with 24/7 adult supervision
  • Keep tables, chairs and any climbable furniture away from windows and balconies 

 

2. Staircases 

  • Install baby gates
  • Teach your child to use the banister when going up and down the stairs

 

3. Bunk bed/Double decker beds 

  • Children under six should not be allowed to sleep on the top bunk
  • Playing should be discouraged unless with adult supervision
  • Guardrails: prevent falls by rolling off the edge of mattress
  • Lights next to ladder: safety in the dark
  • Avoid placing hazardous items at bunk bed that may lead to strangulation: banners, ropes, or any long items
  • Avoid placing bunk beds near windows, ceiling fans or lights

 

4. Keep floors and carpets clear 

  • Have safe designated child proof play areas 
  • Remove/cover trailing wires and cables with carpet or tapes
  • Ensure floors are dry (especially at slippery zones: bathrooms, bathtubs and kitchens)
  • Use anti-slip mats/rugs, or adding a special rug grip underneath carpets and rugs

 

5. Facilitative tools: have step stools and learning towers  with reasonable height in the house for older children to use independently and safely. 

General Bumps & Bruises 

1. Bumper corners: place it around tables and sharp edges to prevent bumping 

2. Door stoppers/bumpers: prevent doors from slamming on little fingers

3. Stickers on glass doors: prevent walking into them! 

Breakables/Sharp Items 

1. Sharp items (knives, forks, chopsticks, scissors etc.): lock them in a drawer-with a safety latch!

2. Glass objects (cups, glasses, plates, bowls, cups, blender/food processor blades): keep them in cabinets and make sure it’s way out of reach!

3. Bathroom items (razors, brow shavers, nail clippers): lock away after each use.

4. Outdoor Play Equipment: perform regular checks to make sure they are not rusty, have no splinters or sharp edges that could be dangerous.

Burns & Electrocution 

*3800 cases of burn injuries in a year among children under 5 and seniors are caused by hot water

 

1. Kitchen: off limits! 

  • Utilize baby gates to prevent access by children without supervision
  • Turn handles of all appliances on the stove inside 
  • Use stove knob covers
  • Child-proof locks on kettles and hot water dispensers

 

2. Showers and taps 

  • Keep heaters turned off at all times unless under adult supervision
  • Lock the hot water tap

 

3. Electric shock prevention: use electric outlet covers 

Poisonous Items 

1. Cleaning products: locked up away with latches

2. Toiletries: placed out of children’s reach

3. Medicines: placed out of your child’s reach after each use and after purchase 

 

Never transfer medicines or household items and cleaning products into unmarked containers, keep them in their original containers to avoid confusion. 

Choking 

1. Ensure no  “edibles” lying on the floor (sometimes toddlers may consider anything “edible”)

2. Check your child’s toys thoroughly: throw any broken/removable parts away to reduce chances for choking

Disclaimer: this is just a summary, there may be many more

Note: consider your child’s developmental age when childproofing your house! 

Household Rules

Household Rules 

1. Feet on Floor 

  • Teach rules of no climbing and no jumping on furniture 
  • This includes no jumping on beds-substitute with trampoline!

 

2. “No Go” Zones 

  • Teaches areas of the house that children shouldn’t access 
  • No playing on balcony: a “No Balcony” sign can be placed on the balcony door for children to refer to

 

3. “No Touching” Visuals 

  • Teach your children about items that they absolutely cannot touch 

 

4. Communication 

  • Critical skill to learn regardless of verbal ability
  • Children can ask for help or to get things they want

 

Visitors should also learn your house rules and do check in that they follow the rules! 

Home Systems

These refers to new skills and simple practices done daily to help prevent injuries: 

 

  1. Always clean up toys after playing
  2. Ensure breakables (dining utensils, cups and plates) are kept away
  3. Wipe up any water spills anywhere right away
  4. Make a habit to lock all main entrances and immediately keep away the keys 
  5. Ensure all keys are kept out of children’s reach

Your Turn

  1. Go through your entire house and look at all the safety practices that have been put in place and which ones are yet to be implemented. 
  2. Next, check through our safety checklist. 
  3. List out the safety skills that your child has yet to learn. 
References

1. May Institute (2020), Shannon Kay, Ph.D., BCBA-D, https://www.mayinstitute.org/news/acl/asd-and-dd-child-focused/teaching-children-with-autism-about-safety/
2. Are Bunk Beds Safe For Kids & Toddlers? (n.d.). Sleep Advisor. Retrieved from: https://www.sleepadvisor.org/are-bunk-beds-safe-for-kids/[Accessed 21 February 2022].
3. 3 Ways To Stop Toddlers Climbing The Furniture (n.d.). Playgroupnsw.org.au. Retrieved from: https://www.playgroupnsw.org.au/ParentResources/ParentingYoungChildren/ways-stop-toddlers-climbing-furniture
4. Ding, E. (n.d.). Parents Say: How to handle a toddler who loves to climb | BabyCenter. Retrieved from: https://www.babycenter.com/toddler/development/parents-say-how-to-handle-a-toddler-who-loves-to-climb_10337563#articlesection1
5. How To Prevent Falls, Trips And Slips In The Home (2016). 24|7 Home Rescue. Retrieved from: https://247homerescue.co.uk/blog/how-to-prevent-falls-trips-and-slips-in-the-home/
6. Top 5 Injury Risks for Children and How to prevent them (2022) Retrieved from: https://arteviva.com/top-5-injury-risks-for-children-and-how-to-prevent-them/
7. Preventing Child Injuries: 16 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Child Safety in the Home (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.mcclellanlaw.com/preventing-child-injuries/
8. Household Safety: Preventing Cuts (for Parents) - Nemours KidsHealth (n.d.). Kidshealth.org. Retrieved from: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/safety-cuts.html
9. How To Baby Proof Electrical Outlets & Cords (Step-by-Step) (n.d.). Mom Loves Best. Retrieved from: https://momlovesbest.com/babyproofing-electrical-outlets