Child-proofing a home is something all new parents need to action
By Martin McAllister
All parents want to nurture, protect and care for their children; however, it's not always possible for parents to keep a constant watch over them. That said, it's often when a parent turns their head that a child's natural curiosity will result in an accident.
Curiosity is part of a child's cognitive development and is undeniably essential to their decision-making skills; and while curiosity can often result in a scraped knee or elbow, it sadly often results in much bigger accidents around the house.
While over 1 million children under the age of 15 experience serious accidents in and around UK homes every year, those most at risk from a home accident are aged between 0 - 4. It's therefore essential to do everything possible to ensure the safety of your child in the home. There are two major components to preventing such accidents among children: environment and education.
Fire is the most common cause of death when it comes to accidents among children in the home. A fireguard is essential to keep your children a safe distance from flames - especially during the winter months when the fireplace is most often in use. Electric shock is another common household accident; making socket covers another important safety precaution. It's also a good idea to have a playpen in the house, so that you'll know the whereabouts of your child if you're cooking dinner or taking a bath.
There's also a high percentage of poisoning and ingestion accidents among children, as they often rummage through kitchen and bathroom cupboards; most of these accidents involve medicines, household cleaning products and cosmetics - things that are seemingly hidden away from children. However, it's important to keep in mind that 'out of sight' does not always mean 'out of mind' for children. Children often like to look for hidden objects, as well as place foreign objects and substances in their mouths. That's why cabinet locks and cupboard latches are essential in houses with young children.
Falls account for the majority of non-fatal accidents in the home, many of which involve staircases. This is especially common among children between the ages of 1 - 2, as this age group is particularly active. If you have stairs in your home, it's wise to install baby gates to ensure your little one doesn't wander where he's not supposed to.
In addition to baby-proofing your home, it's important to keep a set of practical safety tips in mind: if you have a young child, do not leave him or her unattended on a raised surface - even a baby can wriggle off a diaper changing table. Place matches and lighters out of sight and reach, and make sure your child cannot reach hot drinks, glass objects and anything resting on top of the stove. But above all, always be watchful and begin safety training as soon as your child is old enough to comprehend danger. Most accidents are preventable through increased awareness and safety improvements in the home, so ensure you're doing everything possible to guarantee your child's safety.
About the Author
Martin McAllister is a freelance online journalist. He lives in Scotland.
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