Some first time home builders are couples with young families. Baby safety is pretty standard, for infants iin a crib. However when a child starts to crawl, there are many things for a curious child right inside their home that can be dangerous. More than 500,000 children under the age of four (4) are injured in the home every year, and household injuries are one of the top reasons why children under age three (3) visit the hospital emergency room every year. The largest number of accidents are caused in an around the living area but the most serious accidents are caused in the kitchen.
A young child has the highest risk of being injured at home because that's where they spend most of their time. The minute a baby starts to sit up, they face hazards in the home, and when they start crawling and grow into active toddlers, the injury risks increase. Believe it or not fire is the greatest cause of accidental death.
As your children grow, one of the best ways to keep your home safe is to continually assess things regularly, especially as their mobility increases. Of course it is essential for parents to “child proof” their home.
As hard as it is to read these statistics, it is important for anyone who is building a new home to review this information, a sad reminder that child proofing your home must be done before you move in with ay children.
Causes of fatal accidents with children in the home include:
46% – Fire
39% – Falling; 10 children die each year from falling through a window or off a balcony
3% – death of toddlers by drowning in a bath, while swimming, or in a pond in the garden; children can drown in just 3cms of water.
130,000 – Injuries to children in the garden each year
30,000 – Signs of poisoning sends them to the emergency room; usually due to ingesting domestic cleaning substances
50,000 – Burns or scalds send children under the age of 14 go to the emergency room
35,000 – Children under four years of age fall down the stairs each year
3,000 – Injuries to children caused from tripping over toys or piles of laundry left on the floor
Sources: The above statistics come from various sources includingCAPTS, DTI, HASS, and Rospa.
How to Childproof Your Home
This may seem nuts, but if you were to crawl around your home on your hands and knees, you will definitely see things more from a child’s eye-level and perspective, noting sharp objects or furniture, places where your children could fall, and burn or be at risk for choking. Here are a few things to remember when baby proofing your home:
Purchase products that meet all current U.S. safety requirements; always avoid placing pillows, or toys inside a baby’s crib.
Look for window shade and/or blind cords hanging from the windows; install cordless window coverings as the safest option with young children in a home.
Avoid hanging mobiles, paintings, or pictures above the crib or a changing table; even mobiles need to be well out of reach.
Set your water heater to a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid burns from hot water.
Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways.
Cover all electrical outlets with outlet covers to avoid the risk of any child becoming electrocuted by inserting an object into an outlet.
Install safety latches and locks for cabinets that contain, sharp or breakable materials, and toxins.
Secure furniture that might topple, especially tall bookcases, chests of drawers, or even a stove. Watch out for flat screen television tip-overs. Use brackets, wall straps, or braces and sticky putty for vases or breakable objects.
Keep houseplants out of reach, because many are toxic when ingested. As kids reach a more mobile stage, your safety precautions should evolve with them.
Install door knob covers and locks to prevent entry into non-childproofed areas, including bathrooms; keep pot handles turned away from the front of a stove when cooking, and always use the back burners.
Childproofing a home should be an ongoing process. Although young children should never be left unattended, no house can be perfectly childproofed, so an adult’s presence is their best protection. Remember, it only takes an instant for a child to get injured.
Keep all medications and potentially hazardous liquids or substances out of reach of children. The most secure solution is to move all products that could be considered harmful to a high shelf or cabinet where it is completely out of reach for a young child.
Install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that can be extremely hazardous to humans when found in large quantities. Parents should make sure to have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the home and check it frequently to make sure it works properly.
Install smoke detectors and have a fire plan in case of a fire. Remember to periodically see if they are functional, and change batteries annually.
Keep a list of emergency contacts affixed to the refrigerator or wall. Parents should create an emergency plan that works best for their family and share it with emergency contacts and external family members.