Babyproof­ing your home

Want to keep your baby safe and sound, no mat­ter what? Here is a com­pre­hen­sive guide to mak­ing sure your house is baby-proof

Your Baby & Toddler - - The Dossier -

MAKE SURE THAT ALL ELEC­TRIC PLUG POINTS THAT AREN’T IN USE ARE FIT­TED WITH SAFETY COV­ERS AND DON’T OVER­LOAD ELEC­TRI­CAL SOCK­ETS AS THIS IS A FIRE HAZ­ARD

NO MAT­TER HOW closely you watch your chil­dren – which at the end of the day is the best way to keep them out of harm’s way – there will be times when you don’t have eyes in the back of your head. It’s in th­ese in­stances that you need your home to be safe. Be­cause while you can’t fore­see ev­ery ac­ci­dent, there are cer­tainly ones that you can avoid (or at least lessen the sever­ity of) by babyproof­ing your home and by know­ing what to do and who to call should some­thing hap­pen.

THE KITCHEN

While the kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s also the heart of where ter­ri­ble ac­ci­dents can hap­pen. Make no mis­take about it: hot stoves, hot food, elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances, de­ter­gents and sharp knives all pose a se­ri­ous threat to your child. So what can you do about th­ese things? ● Place knives out of reach and in­stall child safety latches on all cup­boards with dan­ger­ous ob­jects (even high ones, chil­dren love lad­ders). Never keep any other dan­ger­ous uten­sils such as scis­sors or graters in bot­tom draw­ers ei­ther. ● Never, ever put de­ter­gents, pes­ti­cides or any clean­ing agents un­der the sink. Place them high up in a cup­board and again, in­stall child safety latches on all cup­boards with dan­ger­ous poi­sons. ● Even once your child is two, leave th­ese latches on as they de­fine lim­its. Prefer­ably lock th­ese poi­sons away. ● Al­ways place pots on the back plates of the stove, with the han­dles fac­ing in­wards, so that your child can’t grab the pot and pull its con­tents onto him­self. ● High chairs and stools should be far away from the stove. Ba­bies should never be left un­su­per­vised in high chairs ei­ther or placed in car seats or Bum­bos on raised kitchen coun­ters, even if you’re watch­ing them. ● Never leave glass­ware, knives, or hot food and bev­er­ages unat­tended on coun­ters or ta­bles, not even for a few mo­ments. Don’t use place­mats or table­cloths dur­ing meal­times, be­cause a child can pull them – and their con­tents – down onto him­self. ● Move the toaster, ket­tle, and all other elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances out of your child’s reach. Tuck the cords away. ● Put a lid on your dust­bin and keep re­cy­clable ob­jects such as sharp cans and glass bot­tles out of reach. ● Pack plas­tic bags away. Th­ese pose a suf­fo­ca­tion risk.

THE BATH­ROOM Like the kitchen, the bath­room can be full of nasty sur­prises. A young child can drown in just 5cm of wa­ter and get burnt in sec­onds, so toi­lets and bath­tubs are ma­jor haz­ards. It is, how­ever, a room that can be closed off – so do this when you can, and in ad­di­tion:

● Never leave small chil­dren unat­tended in a bath­room or a bath. Ever. Not to an­swer the phone or see who’s at the door – rather take your baby with you to do this.

● Al­ways place cold wa­ter in the bath first and test it be­fore putting baby in.

● Never put an older child in charge of a younger child in a bath.

● Al­ways empty the bath im­me­di­ately af­ter us­ing it.

● Ra­zor blades (tod­dlers love to mimic), scis­sors, and medicines should be kept out of reach and locked away, prefer­ably in child­proof con­tain­ers.

● Cover nappy buck­ets with a se­cure lid.

● Turn the max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture of your geyser down to a medium heat.

● Make sure that your shower door is made of safety glass.

● Take the key out of the bath­room door Chil­dren no­to­ri­ously man­age to lock them­selves in.

● Never use elec­tri­cal equip­ment in the bath­room.

THE LOUNGE While the kitchen and stairs might be where the most dan­ger­ous ac­ci­dents hap­pen, the lounge is where the most re­ported ac­ci­dents (though less fa­tal ones) oc­cur. This is why you have to:

● Sand down sharp cor­ners. Your fur­ni­ture won’t look pretty, but it’s a lot pret­tier than get­ting your child stitched up in the emer­gency room or un­der gen­eral anaes­thetic.

● Don’t pol­ish wooden floors. It makes them more slip­pery.

● Never let your chil­dren run in the lounge or run/walk in socks.

● Se­cure loose rugs and car­pets. Se­cure book­shelves to the wall as chil­dren can pull th­ese onto them­selves.

● Tie away the loops of blind cords. Th­ese can cause stran­gu­la­tion.

● Make sure that all elec­tric plug points that aren’t in use are fit­ted with safety cov­ers and don’t over­load elec­tri­cal sock­ets as this is a fire haz­ard.

● Don’t place ex­ten­sion cords un­der car­pets that serve as a walk­way.

● Don’t leave knit­ting nee­dles or other dan­ger­ous craft ob­jects ly­ing around.

● If you have older chil­dren and tod­dlers, never leave mar­bles, Lego or other small toys ly­ing around. Th­ese are se­ri­ous chok­ing haz­ards. Sharp pen­cil crayons should be packed away too to avoid eye-pok­ing.

● Al­ways pick up toys and other ob­jects from stairs. Try to tidy up toys in pas­sages to avoid trip­ping and fall­ing.

● Make sure that there are stick­ers on glass doors at your tod­dler’s eye level.

● Lock away all al­co­hol.

● Never leave matches or lighters ly­ing around and al­ways place fire­guards in front of the fire­place if you have one.

● Don’t let your kids climb on the fur­ni­ture – it’s a long way to fall.

● If you live on a first floor and don’t have bur­glar bars, in­stall locks that will stop the win­dows from open­ing too wide.

● Set­tle down with a nice cup of hot tea, but never drink it while breast­feed­ing or when lit­tle kids are around. Don’t put hot drinks on cof­fee ta­bles.

IN THE GAR­DEN

● Cover fish ponds and wa­ter features. Al­ways empty pad­dle pools af­ter use.

● Ide­ally, garage doors should have a safety mech­a­nism that stops them from ac­ci­den­tally com­ing off the hinges and fall­ing onto your child.

● Lad­ders should al­ways be se­curely stored away so your chil­dren can’t get onto the roof.

● Never leave dan­ger­ous tools like gar­den shears or ham­mers ly­ing around – lock them away. Lock tur­pen­tine, paint, and pool chem­i­cals away too.

● Keep your car doors locked in the garage or drive­way. Never, ever leave a baby sleep­ing in a car.

● Never re­verse in your drive­way or close an elec­tronic door or gate with­out keep­ing an eye on your chil­dren. Trag­i­cally, par­ents have re­versed over their own chil­dren in drive­ways.

● Make sure that your chil­dren can’t get onto the road at all.

● Never leave chil­dren unat­tended near a braai or We­ber.

● Watch out for elec­tric fenc­ing. Don’t let your kids climb near it! YB

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