Child Safety In The Home

When we have children, we think of the home as our safe place for them; their safe place. However, it is very common for accidents that result in injuries to occur in the home.

This article is all about doing what we can to minimize accidents and injuries in the home.

We hope that this website will be a helpful resource to help remind you and make you aware of the most common things that cause injuries that result in a visit to an Emergency Room, or even hospitalization.

Children come in all types and sizes, and in ages from newborns to teens/youths, and that represents a wide array of different potential risk situations. So, let’s work from youngest to oldest, and, yes, we do want to be sure not to overlook those with disabilities.

Feel free to skip ahead if the age of your child is, or ages of all your children are, older than a given section or otherwise not relevant to your situation.

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Cupboards, Cabinets, and Drawers

Small children are inquisitive by nature and will find their way into any cupboard or cabinet that they can open the door to, so our first safety tip is to use child-proof catches of all cupboards, cabinets, and drawers that are within your child’s reach.

Electricity is Dangerous

Electrical outlets and the power cords that get plugged into them are conveniently placed close to floor level where even the youngest crawler can reach them. Unused outlets should be plugged up with safety plus that prevent a child from inserting anything into the open socket. Power cords plugged into sockets – lamps, electric fans, chargers for cell ‘phones, PCs, and other electronic devices and so on – should be heavy cords rather than light cords as they are more difficult to pull out of the socket. For the light cords use a power strip plugged into the socket and plug the light cords into the power strip. Two hands and a fair amount of strength are then needed to pull the cord out. You can even tie a loose knot using the power cord around the power strip and plug the light cord into the power strip to make things even more secure.

Kitchens are Dangerous

Use a baby gate properly and securely inserted into the door frame. Make sure your baby or young child cannot push the gate open or out of the door frame.

Stairs are Dangerous

Baby safety gates really are essential at both the top and the bottom of the stairs. Be sure to measure up and take photos of the top step and landing and also of the bottom step to take with you when you go shopping. Making sure you get the right type first time saves a lot of hassle. Be sure to check that it is securely installed.

Window Blinds Have Cords

Any window blind cord that your child can reach is a danger. Tie them up out of the way. If the cord is of the loop type, cut the loop and tie both ends into separate knots.

Windows Are Dangerous

Avoid placing chairs or other furniture below windows. If you give your child the chance they will prove just how good at climbing they are, and climbing onto a window sill could have disastrous results. Install safety locks on any windows that your child might possibly be able to reach.

Smoke Detection Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detection Alarms

Every floor in every home should have a smoke detection alarm and the ground floor – and if you have a basement, that too – should have both a smoke detection alarm and a Carbon Monoxide Detection Alarm. The recommendation for most homes is a smoke detection alarm adjacent to the kitchen and at least one other on the ground floor if you home has three or more rooms on the ground floor in addition to the kitchen and at least a smoke detection alarm on the upstairs landing and one for every two bedrooms in home that have two or more floors.

There is more detailed information on Smoke Detection Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detection Alarms on the ‘Fire Safety’ page (https://safety-at-home.org/fire-safety-smoke-alarms-and-carbon-monoxide-detectors/) of this website.

Baby Safety In The Home

Babies are born and babies sleep in cribs, need a safe place for their diapers to be changed, and as they grow need activities that help them develop the physical abilities – sight, sound, touch, grip, ‘supported standing’, and so on. We can direct you to good places that offer choice and baby-safe products. Among the product needs that the parents of a baby have are safe travel and transportation solutions.

Click this link ‘Baby Safety Products’ or any picture to be taken to Amazon.com to search for ‘Baby Safety Products’.   

Amazon UK: For UK ordering and delivery, Click this link to be taken to Amazon.co.uk

Crawler and Toddler Safety In The Home

As a baby gains enough strength to roll itself over from its back to its stomach, watch out because you have a baby that is beginning to travel. The first and among the biggest concerns is the baby that is liable to roll off of the changing table. The changing table is probably at waist height or higher for the parent’s convenience making for a potentially dangerous fall. Thankfully, there are safety solutions that can reduce the risk of a baby falling off of the changing table.

As they grow, the baby that is gaining enough strength to crawl is also gaining enough strength to pull themselves up in their crib. As soon as they can grip the vertical bars and pull themselves up, beware. It won’t be long before they will reach the top rail and pull themselves up, and once they get there and develop some leg strength they will be capable of pulling themselves up enough to climb over, but they will not have enough strength to hold on once they are over that top rail. Often, that results in a trip to ER as a fall off the changing table of over the top rail of a crib will require a thorough checkout in ER.

Once the crawler is out of their crib, they’ll be wanting to check out any and every place that catches their attention. They quickly learn how cupboard and cabinet doors and drawers work, but there is a good array of simple-to-install gadgets that can prevent crawlers and toddlers from getting into places they shouldn’t. The cupboard under the sink, both in the kitchen and the bathroom, are favorite targets, and both probably have cleaning items that baby should not be chewing on or swallowing.

Crawling under tables and chairs is now a favorite but standing up can be very painful when you’re just tall enough to hit your head on the underside of that table or chair.

Gates installed in doorways into the kitchen or even a bathroom are a convenient solution to control which areas of your home this young person has access to.

Then there are stairs and balconies that present danger for crawlers, toddlers, and small and even bigger children. Gates that adjust to the width of stairways are extremely advisable at the top of a flight of stairs to prevent crawlers and toddlers in particular from taking a nasty tumble. Gates at the bottom of a flight of stairs prevent a crawler or toddler from climbing when unaccompanied.

Whether at the top or bottom of the stairs, these gates need to be very securely attached; the spring-loaded type of gate that holds itself in place in a doorway is not advisable for the stairs.

Again, among the product needs that the crawler or toddler parents have are safe travel and transportation solutions. This link will take you to Amazon.com to search for ‘Crawler & Toddler Safety Products’.

Amazon UK: For UK ordering and delivery, Click this link to be taken to Amazon.co.uk

Pre-School-age Children Safety In The Home                 

Our young walkers, the pre-school-age children, are often like the toddler but having more ability to get into places and are now able to reach more things that can represent danger. It might be entertaining to watch a magician whip a table cloth out from under the plates, dishes, cups, and silverware on a table, but it’s not good when a young child attempts the same trick but in slow motion, pulling that table cloth with plates, dishes, and silverware heading straight for them from above.

Speaking of speed, pre-school-age children are now runners, and their height is just about right for running right into things they don’t see, things that are at or about eye level – edges of tables and pull-out cutting boards in the kitchen are examples. Putting foam buffers on furniture with sharp, prone corners is sometimes a good idea.

If you have opening windows, do not place any climbable furniture under the windows that would allow a small child to get onto the window sill on a window that is open or might be opened by a child. Where this is not a practical suggestion, install window locks. Window screens can be easily pushed out and will not stop a child from falling out of a window.

Cords that hang down from window blinds need to be tied up using a tie-down device or shortened so that they are out of reach. Looped window blind cords can even be cut so there is no loop. The other type of cord that is a danger is the electrical cord. Power outlets that are not in use need to be covered up or have dummy plastic plugs inserted in them. Power outlets that are in use need consideration to make sure a child is not going to be able to pull the plug out of the socket. Their small fingers gripping a plug that is partway out of the socket can easily touch the metal prongs. A heavy-duty power strip with three prongs is a better solution than a lightweight, 2-prong plug on a cord for a standard lamp, for example. Plug the standard lamp cord into the power strip which requires two hands; one to hold the power strip and the other the plug-in or pull out the lightweight power cord.

Safe travel and transportation solutions appropriate to the growing child are among the product needs that pre-school-age children’s parents have to consider. A lot of growth happens in this phase and safe travel solutions – five-point harness seats that meet legal requirements and then, as your child grows, booster seats – are not optional; they are a necessity.

This link will take you to Amazon.com to search for ‘Child Safety Products’.                                                           Amazon UK: For UK ordering and delivery, Click this link for Amazon.co.uk

Safe Home Tips (Basic Checklists)

To review our Safe Home Tips basic checklist for a Baby-Safe Home, and also an outdoors list for a Child-Safe back yard or garden, visit our Child Safety – Babies & Toddlers page. Each of the two lists is provided with notes giving an explanation for each item in the list. (Scroll all the way down on the page and you’ll find print versions of each checklist.)

School-age Children Safety In The Home

Yes, the 6 to 10/11 year-old crowd. Getting scrapes, cuts, and bruises for many in this age range comes naturally; no training needed. Aside from knocks and minor injuries from playing sports, or just playing, where are the biggest exposures around the home for injuries? The kitchen where sharp knives live. Stairs (if you have them) when children are not paying full attention to what they are doing.

One of the biggest dangers with school-age children is how they begin things and leave things because of interruptions or just short attention span. They might be using scissors or even knives on some art or construction project. Mother nature calls and they instantly head off to the bathroom, or, in these days of kid’s electronic devices, they hear an incoming message and their attention is now elsewhere. Any kind of situation like this creates a dangerous situation for a younger sibling.

Teen and Youth Safety In The Home

Teens and pre-teens, 11- and 12-year old, make up our youth category. In this age range, if you have already made your home safe for babies and toddlers, there is little that needs to be done that you haven’t already done. In fact, there will be some items that you will want to consider disabling or discarding. When the youngest of your children grow past the toddler stage, many of the mechanical devices that were installed for safety prevention reasons earlier have now become redundant and could be removed. Hopefully, common sense and good judgment have been developed in all of your children.

Adult Safety In The Home

For most adults special planning for safety in the home is not a major consideration, that is until we begin to get elderly or become challenged by a disability condition.

Safety In The Home For Elderly /Seniors

Elderly people, especially those living alone, often need assistive devices such as grab bars in the bathroom, both by the toilet and to assist in getting into and out of the bath or shower safely.

This link will take you to Amazon.com to search for ‘Home Safety Products for Seniors’.

Amazon UK: For UK ordering and delivery, Click this link to be taken to Amazon.co.uk

Safety In The Home For The Disabled               

Both adults and children of any age with special needs such as cerebral palsy, autism, or spinal cord problems, may require assistive aids, some installed in the home, and others that travel with them. Adaptive car seats or seat restraints for continued safety in cars or buses can be required for many. This is an area that can require expert guidance that is best provided by specialists in providing assistive devices for those with disabilities.

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