Is your home a friendly place for kids? Most self-respecting parents would answer this question with an indignant, “Of course it is!” But have you stopped to think whether it really is? A “child-friendly home” does not only mean being well-stocked with the most expensive toys, computers, and cutesy wallpaper on the walls. It also means that your home is safe. Most people are shocked when they stop to think that the majority of household accidents are caused by avoidable mishaps and a lack of safety. How many house fires have been caused by children playing with matches, and how many toddlers have been rushed to hospital after they ate some pretty colored tablets that they found lying around?
Making your home childproof and safe should not only be a consideration for those who still have young children. Even if your kids have already flown the nest or you don’t have any yet, it is still your responsibility to keep your home safe because no one wants to have the freak accident or the unusual incident that “has never happened before.”
Here are some basic but extremely important tips that will keep your home a safe and pleasant environment:
- Check your fuse boxes and electrical connections every so often. The money you will spend on the electrician and any possible repairs and updates is far less than the human cost of a house fire caused by an electrical fault.
- Keep all cleaning materials well out of the reach of young children. Although the corner kitchen cabinet is an easy place to keep bleach and other household chemicals, remember that kitchen cupboards are always a great place for young, curious toddlers to explore. This is especially tempting with small kitchen designs as there are often only a few storage cupboards but always take preventative measures.
- All china and breakable kitchenware should be kept in your upper cabinets. Only store unbreakable stuff below.
- Fit bars or at least effective locks to your windows. These keep burglars out and children in.
- Never store medicines or chemicals in boxes or jars that were once used for food. Even if you write the name of the substance clearly on the side, remember that most curious infants can’t read. But they might recognize the colors of the jar …
- Never store medicines in easy reach of children.
- Never allow children to take medication by themselves. You should always supervise. Needless to say, never measure out medication in the dark, and never administer it without a doctor’s prior approval or consultation.
- Remember that old computer screens, microwaves, or similar appliances are not children’s toys. They are garbage and should be thrown out immediately. Such items carry radiation and can be very harmful to children.
- Always check your children’s toys for cracks, sharp edges, and peeling paint. A jagged piece of plastic or metal can cause nasty lacerations. If your children are very young, avoid toys and games made from tiny pieces that can cause choking.
- Keep all candles, matches, and other flammable materials well away from children and educate them even from a young age about the dangers of fire.