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Parenting -- Child safety at home (2)

Furniture safety

Children can be seriously injured if furniture tips and falls on top of them. Here are ways to reduce the risk of this happening:

  • Check that furniture is sturdy – your child shouldn’t be able to pull it down or knock it over. Anchoring furniture like bookshelves and wardrobes to the wall or floor reduces the risk of them tipping.

  • Brace or strap televisions to the wall or entertainment unit.

  • Move furniture with sharp corners away from areas where children run around, like hallways and near doorways. If you can’t move the furniture, pad its corners with foam or corner protectors.

Glass safety

When children are running around at home, it’s easy for them to run into glass windows and doors. Here are tips to keep your child safe around glass:

  • Install safety glass in windows and doors or apply shatter-resistant film to windows and doors of older homes.

  • Put stickers on glass at eye level.

Household tools and backyard safety

Some simple precautions can help you keep your child safe around household tools and other backyard safety hazards:

  • Lock away hand tools like saws and drills, and keep lawnmowers, chainsaws and other sharp tools out of reach.

  • Make sure your child is out of the way when you’re using tools.

  • Unplug and store tools away whenever you take a break.

House fires

House fires can be caused by cooking accidents, smouldering cigarettes, electrical faults, candles, incense and children playing with lighters and matches.

Working smoke alarms are an essential fire safety precaution.

New Zealand law dictates that smoke alarms must be installed:

• within 3 metres of each bedroom door, or in every room where a person sleeps

• in each level or story of a multi-story or multi-level home

• in all rental homes, boarding houses, rental caravans, and self-contained sleep-outs.

Test your smoke alarms every month and replace batteries each year. Replace the smoke alarms themselves every 10 years.

Poisoning prevention

Poisoning is one of the leading causes of injury to children under five, and children are often poisoned by common household chemicals and medicines.

You can make your child’s environment safer by:

  • removing potential poisons

  • storing chemicals and medicines up high in a locked cupboard or cabinet

  • putting a child-safety latch on the doors of cupboards where you keep household poisons.

Strangulation and suffocation prevention

Many homes have everyday items that could strangle or suffocate a child. These items include soft toys and bedding, blinds, cords and ropes, and bags, boxes and packaging.

Here are some essential safety tips to keep your child safe from suffocation and strangulation:

  • Keep stuffed toys, cushions and piles of clothing out of cots and prams.

  • Wrap blind cords in cleats attached to the wall at least 1.6 m above the floor.

  • Tie knots in plastic bags, and keep them away from children.

Water safety

Water safety depends on 100% active adult supervision whenever your child is around water. This includes around baths, pools, ponds, dams, rivers, creeks, baths and buckets with water.

If you have a pool, by law you must have a pool fence and self-locking gate that meets The Building (Pools) Amendment Act 2016. Regularly check and maintain the pool fence and gate to make sure it’s in proper working order. Never leave the gate propped open.

For bath safety, always supervise and give your full attention to babies and children under five years in the bath. Never leave children alone in the bath or bathroom. Never leave older children or siblings to supervise.

CPR and first aid

It’s a very good idea to do some first aid and CPR training. First aid training is recommended every three years, and CPR training is recommended every year. You can do training with organisations like the Red Cross and St John Ambulance.

Keep first aid kits in your home and car and take a kit on holidays too.

Emergency numbers

Make a list of emergency numbers to keep near your telephone.

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