I don’t mean to scare you but the statistics say it all (quoted from KeepYourChildSafe.org):
- About 1,000 children choke to death each year.
- Yearly there are around 800,000 child abductions in the United States.
- Accidental injury is the number one killer of America’s children, taking more lives than disease, violence and suicide.
- Between 500 and 600 children lose their lives in house fires. About 2,000 children 14 and under die each year from home accidents. 80% are ages 4 and under.
And the most important statistic:
- Experts estimate between 75 to 90% of these tragedies could be avoided through better safety awareness.
It’s worth repeating here that safety awareness could have prevented up to 90% of the tragedies.
With that in mind, I truly hope that this list can help you reduce child accidents and mishaps. Let’s make our home a safer place for our children to grow and play.
Here are the 101 tips:
Windows and doors
1. Even first floor windows are a risk for children. If they can be opened more than about 4 inches, then they are unsafe. Use childproof window guards or keep windows locked if they can be opened by children.
2. Remove window cranks from casement windows so that children can’t open them.
3. Keep objects such as stools and firm boxes away from windows so that children cannot climb on them and fall out of a window.
4. Hammer a nail into the door jamb so that the nail to open the door from the inside can be hung on it. Keep keys out of reach of children so they cannot escape when you don’t notice.
5. Make sure your patio doors feature safety glass and affix a strip of safety tape to both sides so that children will see that there is glass there and won’t run into it.
6. Keep cords from blinds out of children’s reach as they present a choking and strangulation hazard.
7. Never position a baby’s crib or child’s bed near a window or blinds.
8. Install a chain door guard to keep little ones safely inside and strangers outside.
9. Use a ‘door mouse’ to prevent squashed fingers in slamming doors.
10. Use doorknob covers so that children cannot gain entry to rooms they shouldn’t.
11. Install locks on the inside of cabinet doors and drawers in the kitchen, bathroom, garage and laundry.
12. Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone.
13. Never hold a child while stirring hot foods on the stove or while carrying hot plates or pans.
14. Position microwave ovens up high.
15. Never let children of any age operate the garbage disposal unit.
16. High chairs and booster chairs must be sturdy and able to be cleaned easily and children should never be left unattended in either.
17. Affix an oven lock to your upright stove so it can’t be opened.
18. Use knob covers on your stove knobs to prevent children turning the gas or electricity on.
19. A stove guard protects curious youngsters from burning themselves when trying to see what’s for dinner.
20. Keep all knives and other sharp utensils out of reach of children.
21. Store all hazardous substances out of reach or in locked cabinets.
22. Ensure that appliance cords do not dangle over the countertops.
23. When children are around, cook only on the back burners of the stove and keep pot handles turned towards the rear of the stove.
24. Add dishwasher detergent to the dishwasher immediately prior to turning it on so that children are not tempted by the pretty powder as food.
25. Buy a fire extinguisher suitable for kitchen use and keep it handy in the kitchen. Make sure you know how to operate it.
26. Avoid the use of tablecloths because children can pull them, and the entire contents of the table, down on top of them.
27. Keep pet bowls outdoors or at least out of the reach of children as they represent not only a hygiene concern but a choking or drowning risk.
28. Cover the bathtub spout with an inflatable safety gadget to prevent bruising and burns.
29. Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub for even a second.
30. Always empty the tub or basin because even a couple of inches of water poses a drowning risk to small children.
31. Install a lid lock on toilets as these are also drowning hazards.
32. Use safety locks on medicine cabinets and wherever hazardous substances such as cleaning products are kept.
33. Keep sharp items such as razors out of reach.
34. Use a non-slip bath mat both in the tub and on the floor.
35. A safety tap guard will prevent scalds from children turning on the hot tap.
36. A cord control kit will keep all your electrical cords and computer cables neatly in one single tube and out of reach of curious fingers.
37. Outlet plugs prevent little fingers from inserting hazardous objects into electrical outlets.
38. While children are at risk, keep electrical appliances out of the bathroom. Have strip heaters affixed to the wall and keep hairdryers and other styling appliances in the bedroom.
39. Install a mains-operated circuit breaker or a safety switch.
40. Replace cords on electrical appliances if they are damaged or worn. Try to buy appliances that have short cords, or tie in place if too long.
41. Get down on your child’s level to see what they can see and if any electrical hazards are visible, remove them.
42. Teach your older children never to play near power lines, especially if a storm is looming.
43. Keep buckets out of reach, especially when in use and containing water.
44. Make sure washing machines and dryers are closed firmly when not in use. If there is any chance a child could get into either, the laundry must be locked to entry.
45. A retractable driveway barrier is like a tennis court net that you stretch over the driveway or other opening to stop balls from rolling out on to the street and hopefully, children from riding out.
46. Never leave children unattended in a yard that is visible or accessible by undesirable people.
47. Keep children sun-safe outdoors by using hats, protective clothing and sunscreen.
48. Tie up or contain any animals that are unpredictable around children until the children are safely back inside.
49. Remove water from any waterfalls, ponds or birdbaths unless they can be securely fenced off.
50. A crib rail teether will prevent your child from gnawing at paint or varnish on the wooden crib.
51. Bed rails are useful for children who frequently fall out of bed.
52. A night light provides comfort and reassurance for children who are afraid of the dark and also lights the way when the child gets up to use the bathroom.
53. Toys and teddy bears should never be left in a baby’s crib while the baby is in it. They can cause suffocation, and older children can climb on them and out of the crib.
54. Remove bumper pads from the crib when your child is old enough to stand.
55. Furniture that poses a toppling risk should be removed or secured to the wall.
56. Mobiles are pretty but they are a choking and strangulation risk to babies if placed within reach.
57. Regardless of age, babies and toddlers should never be left unattended on change tables.
58. Do not use wire coat hangers, moth balls or dry cleaning bags in children’s wardrobes or drawers.
59. Don’t use electric blankets on children’s beds until you are absolutely sure they have stopped wetting the bed (despite manufacturer assurances that they are safe).
60. Examine all your furniture. Anything with a glass top, sharp corners or wobbly legs should be removed, at least until the children are old enough to not be vulnerable to injury because of them.
61. If you have a bar, put alcohol away and out of reach.
62. Remove small objects such as ornaments and picture frames and place them higher and out of reach.
63. Test your TV and other home entertainment equipment for toppling risks. A TV that falls on a child can be deadly.
Stairs and banisters
64. Keep stairways free of clutter that the children – or adults – can trip over.
65. Furniture should not be positioned near banisters because children can climb on them and fall over.
66. Use safety gates at the tops and bottoms of stairways. They should be lockable and able to be operated with one hand.
67. Banister posts any wider than 4” apart can trap a child’s head. If yours are spaced like this, you can buy special panels of Perspex to use until the children are older – or their heads bigger!
68. Children must wear seatbelts when riding in a vehicle.
69. Have a professional either install or inspect the installation of your car seats to ensure they are secure and safe.
70. Age and size appropriate booster seats and car seats must be used in all vehicles that the children ride in. Babies less than 20lbs in weight should ride in rear-facing seats.
71. Eating and drinking in a moving car can be a choking hazard.
72. Never let a child sit in the front seat of a vehicle, especially if there are dual air bags.
73. When traveling by public transport, have the child wear an identity bracelet. Plastic ones are available on the Internet and can be written on with the details required.
Heating and cooling
74. Use guards around fireplaces and radiator heaters. Or, use an alternative form of heating.
75. In winter, dress children in pajamas that are fire-safe, i.e. with natural materials and no dangling sleeves or legs.
76. Never position fans where a child can poke his or her fingers through the protective bars.
77. Don’t allow children to sit too close to heaters or coolers, especially if they may fall asleep there.
78. Keep fireplace tools, kindling, logs, lighters and matches out of reach.
79. Lower the hot water thermostat to 50°C to avoid scalding.
80. A pool fence is an absolute must and it must have a lock that children cannot reach.
81. The pool fence must be constructed out of materials that can’t be climbed by children.
82. Children should always learn to swim but if you have a pool, it is even more important from an even younger age that they are taught water survival techniques.
83. Adult supervision at all times is vital. Never leave children unattended in or around the pool, even for a few seconds.
84. No one should run around the pool.
85. When a child is missing, the first place to check is the Jacuzzi or the pool because if they are found there, revival time is crucial.
86. Give your child age-appropriate toys to play with.
87. Observe the warnings on toy packages.
88. Broken or damaged toys should be thrown away if they represent a choking or other injury hazard.
89. Throw away any plastic bags, boxes or twist ties that come with toys.
90. Projectile toys are not a good idea for children.
91. Toy boxes must be designed so they don’t close on top of children. A removable lid is even better and will prevent jamming hands and suffocation. Any item that is big enough for a child to crawl inside must have adequate ventilation.
Garden and plants
92. Be aware that some plants are toxic and get rid of them from the interior and exterior of your home.
93. Keep hoses out of reach as they can be a strangulation hazard.
94. Lock up sharp gardening tools.
95. Lock up gardening chemicals and other hazardous substances.
96. Install smoke detectors in hallways, the kitchen and wherever else you deem appropriate. Change the batteries twice a year and test the detectors monthly.
97. Work out the best exits in the event of a fire and involve the whole family in a fire drill once or twice per year.
98. Buy a fire extinguisher for each floor of the house. Make sure each is appropriate for the kinds of fire that may occur, e.g. fat or electrical fire in the kitchen, chemical in the garage. Familiarize yourself on their operation.
99. Teach children about the perils of playing with fire.
100. Keep flammables and matches out of reach of children.
101. Never smoke around children and keep ashtrays, lighters, matches and cigarettes out of reach.