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Parenting -- Child safety at home (1)

Key points

  • Home safety is about supervision in safe environments. Children also need to learn what is and isn’t safe.

  • You can do a lot to avoid common home injuries like falls, burns and scalds, poisoning, drowning, strangulation and suffocation.

  • It’s important to know basic first aid and CPR.

Promoting child safety at home

Your adult-friendly home has many potential hazards for a child. But you can keep your child safe by finding out what the risks are, and then preventing or removing them.

But even when you think you’ve removed all the home safety hazards, the reality is that children can still have tumbles and falls. That’s why supervision is one of the keys to child safety at home.

Also, as your child grows and learns to climb and open things, you need to be alert for new hazards. You’ll probably need to change the environment to make sure your home is still a safe and creative place to play and explore.

And along with supervision and a safe environment, you can also improve home safety by teaching your child about what’s safe and what’s not.

*If children have a creative space to play and explore, with plenty of interesting things to do and look at, they’ll be less likely to seek their own stimulation by exploring areas you might not want them to get into.

Burns and scalds prevention

To prevent burns, keep your child away from fire and hot surfaces. Keep a close eye on your child whenever they’re near things that can burn – especially around stoves, ovens, microwaves, heaters and other appliances.

Hot food and drinks and too-hot baths are a major cause of scalds for babies and children. Here are some simple safety precautions to avoid these risks:

  • Keep hot food and drinks away from and out of reach of children.

  • Avoid holding your child if you’re having hot food and drinks.

  • Always test bath water temperature before bathing children – the safest bath temperature is 37-38°C.

  • Have the hot water delivered to your bathroom at maximum of 50°C. You still need to mix cold water with the hot water coming out of your taps to get the right bath temperature for babies and children.

Electrical safety

Here are tips for electrical safety at home:

  • Get a licensed electrician to install safety switches, which cut power off quickly to avoid electrocution.

  • Get a licensed electrician to do any repairs.

  • Replace electrical appliances and cords if they’re worn.

  • Use power point covers.

Falls prevention at home

Falls are the most common cause of injuries and visits to hospital in every age group.

You can help to keep your child safe by watching the new skills they’re learning, and the new places they can reach – and then adjusting your home. For example:

  • When your child starts crawling, install safety guards across entries to stairs and balconies. And you still need to supervise your child on stairs and balconies.

  • When your child starts climbing, lock windows – particularly upper-storey windows – restrict window openings, or shield them with firmly attached window guards. This will stop your child climbing out and falling.

  • Leave a hall light on at night, or use sensor lights to make it easier for older children to get to the toilet without tripping.

Don’t leave babies unattended on raised surfaces like change tables, sofas or beds. Babies might roll or wriggle off and fall.

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