When it comes to children, time doesn’t just fly it actually vanishes. As parents, especially mothers, know that babies become toddlers and toddlers become trekkers and climbers at an alarming speed. Add to that their natural curiosity and you have in your hands a small package that has begun to open cabinets, escape over cribs, climb up window bars, and manage to have their hands on the most child-unfriendly things possible.
That day when…
Rishika is a working mother and her weekends are precious because she gets time to spend with her adorable 3-year-old daughter and just hangs around the house without deadlines looming. She was reasonably relaxed near the TV which was playing the umpteenth rerun of a Peppa Pig episode when a resounding crash from the kitchen made her bolt to the crime scene. Her little one had used the step stool used in the bathroom to help her reach the washbasin during brushing, etc. to gain access to the sparkly kitchen top from where Maa hands her all the yummy stuff to eat.
Rishika was quite afraid at first but also relieved to see that her little one reached for the cookie jar instead of the knives which were also stacked in the vicinity. A very bad incident had just been averted but it shows how children can get to the unlikeliest of places using their developing logic and land into trouble.
Parents Need to Up Their Proofing Game
As babies start to roll over, toddlers begin reaching tabletops, and soon they will be climbing too and don’t forget their problem-solving skills, they always find out a way. Step stools though necessary to reach basins, is access to a world of places for your child, hydraulic drawers fitted in modern furniture are feather-light to open, certain modular kitchen cabinet designs can even act as a ladder to reach up, and of course scores of other places and storage areas that are accessible, easily handled and operable by children.
As a parent, you have to think on your feet and take all precautions necessary to make your child safe home, so that they aren’t inconvenienced and nor are they ever put in harm’s way.
Measures to ensure that your home is child-friendly and safe, apart from the broad guidelines above, can be covered for the house through each room.
The place where most of your family quality life plays over, is a place fraught with potential hazards for your child, especially when you have other chores to attend or are talking, cooking, etc. To begin with, electrical safety for children is a mandatory area of attention,
- Block all electrical outlets
- Conceal all cords and wires
- Unplug and store away all electrical appliances that are not in use
- Educate your children, forbid them to touch electrical settings, etc. by explaining the pain and hurt that might follow.
Extend your responsibility beyond physical safety and strive to safeguard children’s emotional stability through television and internet safety too. Preview and control the content that your children are exposed to, whether images or videos and in all mediums. Try to keep viewing devices out of children’s bedrooms and maintain supervision.
This is a place fraught with many dangers for children, since water and heat, electricity and a lot of toxic products too, find their base here. By extension consider the points below for laundry room, swimming pool and bathroom safety for children.
- Lock bathroom doors at all times when not in use
- Never leave children unattended during a bath or toilet use
- Unplug and keep out of reach any appliances that use electricity
- Store cleaning products, detergents, lotions, shampoos, etc. out of reach and in locked cabinets
- Use anti-slip bath mats to avoid falls
- Pay attention to geyser settings, and equip water-taps so that accidental scalding can be avoided
- Never leave children unattended in pools or without floatation devices
This should be an area children should keep clear of, but at times a house’s layout might not allow such an option. Do not encourage children to join you in the kitchen while cooking until they reach the age where they might want to dabble into fixing simple meals for themselves whereby educate them about proper usage of microwaves, toasters, etc. Until then,
- Keep matches, lighters, knives out of reach
- Lock condiments and spices in cabinets
- Install safety stove knob covers, drawer stoppers, latches, etc. to minimize access and prevent injuries
- Do not encourage children to play with pots, pans, etc. so that they are not tempted to touch the ones that are on the stove or otherwise hot
- Use child-resistant garbage cans or better still keep trash cans out of view like inside cabinets, etc.
This is where the family retires and often children tend to spend a lot of time here or simply amble around while you might be doing basic chores or getting ready. It is advisable to keep the décor minimal with fewer or preferably no knick-knacks. Closets, dressers and mirror tables tend to be a fixture in this room, and hence due attention should be given to them. Keep them locked, with medications and make-up artifacts out of reach and safely stored. Linen closets are a favourite child hangout, make sure your kids do not get themselves locked inside them and install proper stoppers or keep them locked always.
Things You Need to Prevent
Even after effective child-proofing accidents happen. Children are prone to injuries, but you can always prevent accidents with this checklist:
- Child-safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs, entrance to other rooms, balconies, terraces, window bars, etc.
- Keep passages and corridors well-lit and free of clutter like toys, footwear, etc.
- Rearrange low furniture or potted plants that children may use for climbing, or might trip over
- Use doorstops and door holders to protect fingers, edge guards on sharp corners, secure unstable items
- Lock away all hazardous, poisonous items
- Ensure cleanliness of floors, keep the air purified and emergency aid handy
With children, if there is something they’re not supposed to do, they will do it and the best way to create a child safe home is constant and responsible adult supervision. At all other times, the tips above should tide you over.