As a parent or guardian, ensuring child safety at home is one of our biggest priorities. Our homes should be a place of creativity, learning, and safety for children. Unfortunately, with so many hazards and potential dangers at home, injuries to tamariki under five are more likely to occur at home than in any other place.
So how can we improve the safety at home for tamariki? This article will cover some of the most common injuries at home and what we can do to protect our children. We have also included a child home safety checklist at the end.
Trips and falls are the number one cause of injury to tamariki at home. The common culprits are from falls from chairs, beds, stairs, or windows.
Firstly, ensure all windows within reach of children have a limiter. Limiters stop the window from being fully opened and prevent a child from being able to fall out from a great height. However, window limiters should be easily removable in the case of an emergency, when a quick escape is essential.
Other steps include installing balusters and railings for steps, stairs, and decks. These railings can prevent a dangerous fall and give something to hold onto to provide support, making trips less likely. If you have toddlers, a stair gate can be very beneficial while they are still getting familiar with walking up and down the stairs.
If you have a trampoline, make sure it is well-serviced and without any wear or tear. And while tamariki play, make sure they are supervised.
Children love exploring, grabbing, and pulling at anything they can, often putting those things in their mouths. Because of this, choking is another leading cause of injury to our children at home.
Low-hanging cords or wires, such as from a curtain, can be a hazard. It is important to keep these cords out of reach, preventing our children from pulling on them and choking or hurting themselves.
Additionally, keep items with choking hazards out of reach. If children can pick something up in their hands, it is likely going into their mouths. Because of this, we want to keep anything small that they could swallow out of reach from their hands.
Burns are also a common cause of injury to our children in the home. Luckily, some easy steps can prevent or minimise injuries.
First, ensure that the water from the tap has a safe maximum temperature. The maximum hot water temperature should be between 50°C and 55°C to keep children safe.
Introducing tamariki to the kitchen and how we prepare our kai is a great learning opportunity. However, when cooking, ensure children are at a safe distance from any hot water or oil to prevent scalds and burns from splatters. You should also turn the handles of pots and pans away from their reach to prevent accidents.
Hot appliances, pots, or even mugs with hot ingredients, should be out of reach and away from edges of benches and tables where they could spill.
And finally, to help keep the entire whānau safe from fire, at least once a month, check all smoke alarms are working.
It is important to keep our children safe from poisoning. As we mentioned earlier, children love to put anything and everything in their mouths. Because of this, we need to keep anything toxic out of their reach.
We recommend childproof locks on all drawers with medicines, laundry detergents, cleaning supplies, or alcohol. If you can't install locks, keep them high and out of reach.
Children love to play and run around the house. Because of this, ensure you have safety glazing in windows and sliding doors. With safety glass, if a child runs into the glass pane, it prevents cuts from broken glass shards. When possible, we also recommend stickers on sliding doors to make it obvious when they are closed, preventing the accident in the first place.
And when it comes to the kitchen, keep sharp utensils, such as knives and scissors, out of reach, ideally locked away in childproof drawers.
Another unfortunate cause of danger to tamariki at home is around pools and water. If you have a pool, you must have a fence and gate. You should regularly check if the fence is in working condition. Whenever tamariki are around bodies of water, whether that be a pool or bath, they should always be supervised.
Child home safety checklist
- Pots out of reach with handles turned away from grasp.
- Pots and containers with hot ingredients, away from edges of tables and counters.
- Sharp utensils stored in drawers out of reach.
- Slip-resistant flooring.
- Cleaning supplies and detergents are locked away in childproof drawers.
- Working smoke alarms
- Curtain strings and cords out of reach.
- Limiter on windows.
- Working smoke alarms.
- Water temperature is set to a maximum of between 50°C–55°C.
- Slip-resistant surfaces
- Baby supervised
- Medicines locked out of reach
- Fence and gate for any pools.
- Balustrade for outdoor decks.
- Railings for steps.
- Fenced play area away from the driveway.
- Ensure trampolines are well-serviced.