There are many dangers to children in today’s modern lifestyle however this is matched by our heightened awareness of issues of health and safety. Therefore because we are more aware of potential dangers we can also more readily guard against them.
Keeping your kids safe is also a balance, they need to be exposed to some level of risk to develop healthily, for example they may get bumps and grazes playing but we wouldn’t want to stop them having fun. Our role as parents then is to give them some level of freedom whilst also protecting them from dangers which could cause long term damage.
Safety in the Home
As adults we don’t think about it very often but there are numerous items in the home which can cause accidents and as soon as your baby can crawl they will be able to get access to them. Child safety locks should be put on cupboards and drawers to stop your child coming into contact with any of the following cleaning products and bleach; medications; razor blades, scissors, knives and any sharp objects; plastic bags; and matches. Also remember, as your children grow they will be able to reach new areas, so be vigilant about any items that could cause harm.
The bathroom and kitchen particularly are areas where accidents can easily happen. Make sure your stove is out of reach and saucepan handles are turned inwards when cooking to prevent spills. Electrical sockets throughout the house should be covered. Toilets can be fitted with a lock and non-slip strips or mats can be put down in the bath.
Cords and long ties on curtains and blinds should be kept out of reach of small children. Furniture can also be an area of risk as children love to climb it and hide inside. If there is any danger of furniture tipping over then make sure it is secured to the wall. Items like chests should have lid supports so kids can’t accidently get stuck inside.
Fire is a concern for all family members so install smoke alarms and test them monthly. Batteries should be replaced every 6 months to make sure the alarms remain functional. As your children get older it is not just about keeping them away from danger but also about teaching them what care needs to be taken and when.
Safety Outside the Home
When your kids are out and about, whether they are with you or not, attention needs to be paid to their safety. Naturally some activities, such as sports, are riskier than others so ensure they are well supervised at all times. Safety around water is another area that should be considered and it is wise to teach your children to swim at an early an age as possible, there are now classes for babies upwards.
It is important to teach children about road safety as soon as they can walk but this is an area which will need a great deal of reinforcement, as children are impulsive and don’t think about danger. Therefore they should always be supervised when crossing roads. In the car make sure babies and small children have suitable car safety seats and older children always wear seat belts.
Once your child has learned to ride a bike it is valuable to get them to take a cycling proficiency test to make sure they understand all the rules of the road.
To protect your child it is also a good idea to take a first aid course in case they have an accident or so you know what to do in the event of them choking.
This overview of child safety has provided some areas to start thinking about but it is by no means an exhaustive list. Therefore, always be vigilant and consider carefully the risks your child may be exposed to.