Health And Safety For Children – Home Safety, Safe Toys

Most parents are acutely aware of the potential dangers facing their children.
Traditionally in India, parents have had the support of relatives and servants to help in supervising the child. However increasingly today such resources are not available to them. As such, child safety has become a major area of concern for all parents, whether they have an infant or a teenager. Here is a look at some safety issues and precautions for all age groups.

Infant safety
There are many people who believe that a good child proof house is one in which all hazards are covered and all fragile and expensive things have been removed or placed out of reach. Certainly you need to protect your child and your valuables, but it must also be kept in mind that you are not equipping your child with the skills needed to live with daily hazards such as stairs or with fragile objects. As with adults, experience is the best teacher for babies also. Too many parents make their own house as child safe as possible and worry themselves sick every time they go visiting. A better option may be to remove really expensive objects but leave the rest and train the child to live with them. Similarly while some precautions are essential and unavoidable, it is not desirable to take the easy way out and substitute childproofing for supervision where common hazards like stairs are concerned. Also as the child starts crawling he will start exploring his environment and if all he hears is don’t touch this or don’t touch that than he will loose motivation to explore.
What is needed is a balance between childproofing and leaving some objects around which are neither fragile nor dangerous to your baby .

It may not be possible, or advisable, for a home to be made completely child proof. As with adults, experience is the best teacher for babies also. There are however, a few danger areas that must be necessarily checked and made child proof in all homes:

Home safety

Keep out of child’s reach

  • Medicines
  • coins, pins, needles and other small objects
  • scissors, knives, matches, lighters etc.
  • spray cans
  • plastic bags
  • objects that are heavy enough to hurt her
  • very expensive or hard to replace objects.
  • Check all electrical wires to see that they are not frayed or damaged. Preferably move cords out of reach.
  • Fit child-proof plugs and safety socket covers on all electricity points. Alternatively place heavy furniture in front of the sockets.
  • Never leave the child unattended in a high place or near water or in the kitchen.

Every few months, get down on your knees and survey the surroundings for danger from a child’s point of view.

It is never too early to start teaching your child about safety.

  • Don’t over stuff shelves in such a manner that a young crawler can pull down an avalanche of stuff on top of himself.
  • If Table cloths- if they hang over the side of the table remove them until your baby knows not to pull on them.
  • Ensure that the space between crib slats is no more than 2-3/8 inches to prevent the head getting stuck.
  • Don’t leave soft quilts, pillows or soft toys within reach of an unattended baby – these could be pulled over the face during sleep, causing suffocation.
  • Be careful with walkers – an unattended baby can ‘walk’ down the stairs or into numerous obstacles.
  • Use mosquito repellent and insect repellent.
  • Keep a small fire extinguisher handy & practice a fire drill once in a while.
  • Always strap the baby into the high chair and pram.
  • In the car Don’t put the baby in the front passenger seat – this is the worst place in case of an accident.Preferably use a car safety seat
  • Test your stroller’s brakes before each outing. Ensure that there are brakes in at least two wheels.
    Bath safety
  • Before a bath, always keep everything ready and near to hand so that you don’t have to leave the baby unattended even for the time taken to turn around and reach for something.
  • During the bath, always keep a hand on the baby.
  • Be careful of soap in the eye. Use your hand to wash off the soap from the head rather than pouring water over the head.
  • Be careful that the baby does not swallow water.
  • Look out for taps especially hot water ones.

A child can drown in even a quarter inch of water so never leave him unattended near water.

Toy safety

  • Be careful about putting tight threads or bangles on the wrist or neck of the child. They could hurt him, cut off circulation and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Be very careful about strings and cords on toys and clothing as these are potential strangulation hazards. Don’t let the baby wear clothes with a zip which could pinch the neck area or hurt tender chins.
  • Avoid any toy or other play object with small parts. These pose a serious choking hazard. Be especially careful with stuffed animals with button eyes and noses.
  • Don’t buy toys that have sharp edges that could hurt the child.
  • Don’t leave the baby unattended with rubber balloons. If it bursts, the rubber pieces could present a serious choking hazard.
  • Be careful with stuffed toys as they can inadvertently smothering a small baby. They attract dust, tend to lose fur, all of which is not good for the baby.

Safety for toddlers & kids.

There are many people who believe that a good child proof house is one in which all hazards are covered and all fragile and expensive things have been removed or placed out of reach. Certainly you need to protect your child and your valuables, but it must also be kept in mind that you are not equipping your child with the skills needed to live with daily hazards such as stairs or with fragile objects. As with adults, experience is the best teacher for babies also. Too many parents make their own house as child safe as possible and worry themselves sick every time they go visiting. A better option may be to remove really expensive objects but leave the rest and train the child to live with them. Similarly while some precautions are essential and unavoidable, it is not desirable to take the easy way out and substitute childproofing for supervision where common hazards like stairs are concerned. Also as the child starts crawling he will start exploring his environment and if all he hears is don’t touch this or don’t touch that than he will loose motivation to explore.
What is needed is a balance between childproofing and leaving some objects around which are neither fragile nor dangerous to your baby .

Parental vigilance is the best prevention for accidents.

Home safety

  • Keep toddlers out of the kitchen. Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove/shelf so that your child cannot grab them.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use. Make sure that the cords do not dangle over the edges of counters or shelves where curious children may tug at them.
  • All sharp and hazardous substances should be out of reach of a child.
  • Never allow a child under eight to use the microwave.
  • Keep hot foods and liquids away from the edges of tables. Keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
  • Cover all electrical outlets.
  • To keep children from accidentally locking themselves in rooms, remove the door lock or place a towel on the tops of doors to prevent them from closing completely.
  • Install child safety gates at the top and bottom of the staircase.
  • Do not allow your child to play unsupervised in the front seat of a car, where he may accidentally disengage the brake.
  • Lock doors of refrigerators or washing machines when not in use.

Toy Safety

  • Watch out for strings and cords as these constitute potential strangulation hazards.
  • Avoid any toy with small parts for children under five
  • Be careful about storage containers like chests etc which can hurt a child’s fingers and may also trap a child.
  • Pay close attention to age recommendations and safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
  • Dispose of all packaging material, especially plastics, which can represent a strangulation hazard.
  • Perform a stress test on all new toys. Check for loose or small parts, weak seams, easily breakable pieces and sharp edges.

Playground Safety

  • As far as possible, choose well- maintained play areas. Check for broken & missing equipment, loose parts, jagged edges, rust or rot.
  • Avoid areas with excessive litter, broken glass, hypodermic needles and stagnant water.
  • Check for stray animals.
  • Check that it is safe traffic-wise, or otherwise ensure adult supervision.
  • Make sure that there are no hard surfaces under potential fall zones such as swings & slides.
  • Beware of strangulation hazards such as loose ropes, cables or wires.
  • Look for small areas that can entrap a child’s body or head.

When you talk to your kids about safety keep in mind the following: –

  • Always try to explain why something is unsafe or off limits instead of simply saying No.
  • Keep discussion on safety, age appropriate.
  • Frequently repeat safety instructions to make sure they sink in.
  • Ration your No’s or else you will lose your child’s attention.

Recommended site:

kids toys

Related Links

An infant’s point of view
Infobank
Daily care