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Child Safety 101: Tips to Childproof Your Home & Yard

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Child Safety 101: Tips to Childproof Your Home & Yard

While parental supervision is always the best safety measure to have in place, introducing safety regimes and protection strategies like childproofing devices are vital and will help prevent accidents.

Child safety should be a priority for parents and carers, but it should not be a cause of stress or worry if you’re well prepared.

BD-HomeYardSafety (2)

Safety consultant, Gail Greatorex, warns in an interview with the Herald Sun, “Kids explore by climbing and often know that things they’re not supposed to have are kept up high. They find ways to climb, using open drawers as steps or clambering up a bookcase.”

Kids explore by climbing and often know that things they’re not supposed to have are kept up high. They find ways to climb, using open drawers as steps or clambering up a bookcase.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that accidents are higher among children compared to other age groups. The good news is most of these accidents are preventable.

Houses present all kinds of perils to child safety — from pools and window blinds to table edges and heavy bedding. The spaces we live in are created for adult use and as such, present a number of dangers to those precious little people in our lives.

Here is a list of preventive measures and helpful items to buy or install in your home for extra security and peace of mind.

kids safety concept- little girl climb on chair

Before you begin your childproofing crusade, remember that with any purchased device should be a commitment to read the instruction manual carefully. There is no point in going to the expense and effort if your device is implemented incorrectly or only partially working.

Also be cautious of children who are old enough (or clever enough) to disable devices you have put in place.

Safety Gates

Purchase a sturdy design that screws to the wall and is routinely locked by the parent. Safety barriers with gates are a good idea for keeping children safe from the plethora of kitchen hazards.

When kids start to toddle around, beware. Not only are they pulling themselves up on things, they are also prone to fall. Safety gates are the first port of call when it comes to stairs in the home.

Purchase a sturdy design that screws to the wall and is routinely locked by the parent. Safety barriers with gates are a good idea for keeping children safe from the plethora of kitchen hazards.

In both cases, be sure they meet with Australian Safety Standards and that the openings in the gates or fence are not big enough that a curious child could get his head stuck.

Child behind safety gate

Door Knobs, Latches & Locks

Latch any utensil drawers that might house sharp or dangerous objects.

There is no shortage of these available on the market. Choose a good quality, durable design that will last and is functional. While it is best practice to put anything toxic, all medicines and cleaning products well out of a small child’s reach, latches are a popular precautionary measure in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.

Latch any utensil drawers that might house sharp or dangerous objects. Keep little ones out of child-free rooms with door knob fittings.

Sharp-Edge Bumpers

For sharp-edged furniture, like coffee tables for instance, there are a range of soft plastic bumpers to prevent injuries should a child collide with the edge. Take a crash course in first-aid and CPR. Beyond Bandaids, first aid knowledge means you’ll be prepared no matter the situation. And you never know when the skills could be useful.

Corner Bumper

Anchor the Furniture & Technological Devices

When kids are on the move you don’t want to have tables and televisions that are going to tip over or that they can pull onto themselves. Anti-tip brackets can be useful, but it is always best to securely attach these items to the wall or floor.

Smoke Alarms

Diarise a monthly check and if you can, opt for long-life batteries and change these once a year

While this safety measure applies to all homes, not just those with children, it is a safety precaution many people forget to check. Inspector Boyd Townsend, of the Rural Fire Service Northern Rivers spotlights their importance, “Smoke alarms need to be installed because it gives people that early warning that there is a problem when they are asleep and gives them a greater chance of survival.”

Smoke alarms should be fitted throughout the home, including your child’s room. Diarise a monthly check and if you can, opt for long-life batteries and change these once a year.

Cots & Bed Safety Rails

According to Australia’s SIDS and Kids organisation, the best and safest place for a child to sleep is in a cot that has been designed to comply with Australian Safety Standards.

Along with this, there are a number of other child’s safety measures that include putting the child on his back, keeping the bedroom well ventilated and removing any padded bumpers, pillows, heavy bedding, hanging mobiles and toys.

Safety

Around age 2, children may start climbing out of the cot, which puts them in danger of a fall. This probably means it’s time to move into a bed. Transition slowly to a bed using a bed rail (compliant with Australian Standards) until the child is used to bed sleeping.

Make sure the bed rail is properly fitted and that there are no gaps between the rail and mattress.

Make sure the bed rail is properly fitted and that there are no gaps between the rail and mattress.

Alternatives include going from cot to the cot mattress placed on the floor. Make sure it is positioned away from the wall so the child cannot become trapped. A low-to-the-ground toddler bed is also a great idea and practical in that it can utilise the child’s same cot mattress.

Window Blind Cords & Mobiles

As children become more mobile, so too does their ability to get caught up in regular bits and pieces around the home. Window blind cords are one of the most perilous culprits. If left hanging they can form a dangerous loop or noose around the child’s neck. Remove these altogether or tie them up high in a knot.

Safety Switch & Powerpoint Covers

Electrocution is another hazard among curious toddlers and makes outlet or powerpoint covers well worth considering. Opt for a system that cannot be removed by the child as they can then become a choking hazard. Consider having a safety switch installed on circuits.

Pools & Spas

For young families, the backyard pool can be a great source of fun and enjoyment. However, all pool owners beware, drownings in home pools are all too common. Take precautions to fence off the area. Legislation for fencing varies depending on state and territory within Australia. Check your local laws for exact specs, though you can use these specs (from Kid’s Safe Victoria and NSW Government) as a gauge.

Pool Fence

Start with a gate. The gate latch must be more than 1.5m from the ground, self-closing, self-latching and opening outwards. It must also close on the first swing. The fence needs to be in good working order, no more than 100mm from the ground and at least 1.2m high. There should also be no vertical gaps more than 100mm apart.

There should not be anything lying around that children can use to climb the fence or unlatch the gate.

Make sure all the chemicals, chairs, pool toys and cleaning equipment are stored securely away from the pool. There should not be anything lying around that children can use to climb the fence or unlatch the gate.

While adult supervision is imperative, it is also good practice to ensure the prominent placement of a resuscitation sign next to the pool.

Plan a day to childproof your home. If you’re proactive, you can prevent unnecessary accidents and visits to emergency. Help identify the hazards in your home by reading our article on the hidden dangers in the home.

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/1d72f5e5299decc5ca25703b0080ccbf!OpenDocument
http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/household_checklist.html
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/home-furniture-accidents-kill-one-australian-child-and-injure-hundreds-more-each-year/story-fnpp4dl6-1227464679616
http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/warning-for-those-warming-in-winter/2733784/
http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Consumers/Product_and_service_safety/Pool_safety/Pool_fencing_requirements.page#Pool_fencing_laws
http://www.kidsafevic.com.au/water-safety/pool-fence-safety/pool-fencing-laws