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Spotting hidden dangers for toddlers in the home!

November 6th, 2020
Chrissie
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Spotting hidden dangers for toddlers in the home!
Children aged under four years are at great risk of having accidents in the home. Sadly, these accidents can cause preventable deaths, serious injuries and bad disabilities. The most likely time for accidents involving young children to occur, are late in the afternoon, early evening, in the summer, at the weekend and during school holidays. The fact is that most home accidents can be avoided through increased awareness.

The most serious accidents occur in the kitchen and on the stairs. In the UK alone, RoSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) states that more than 67,000 children are hurt in accidents in the kitchen and more than 58,000 suffer injuries involving staircases. When your child is injured it is a heartbreaking and worrying time for all concerned. Toddlers are naturally inquisitive and do not know the meaning of ‘danger’. They love to explore and have no fear, so are happy to try climbing precariously onto cupboards or work surfaces. The saying ‘you have to have eyes in the back of your head’ describes your daily role if you are going to prevent your child injuring themselves. Have you checked that your home is as safe as it can be for your toddler?

Beware of sharp objects.

It is essential that all sharp knives are kept high out of the reach of your toddler, as well as forks, skewers and scissors. Ensure that your toddler cannot reach them and get your dishwasher baby proofed so that they cannot open it when you are not looking. Teach older children good safety and make sure they carry knives, forks and scissors with the blades/sharp end pointing to the ground.

Watch out for choking hazards

Toddlers love to explore and also like to put everything in their mouths which presents an added safety risk. Try and keep all floors regularly swept and cleaned so that you can spot any potential choking hazards such as buttons, small coins, pieces from an older sibling’s toys, screws and small pieces of plastic as these are all hazardous if swallowed.

Medicines and pills must be treated really carefully and kept well out of your toddler’s reach.
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Dangerous and toxic cleaners.

To a toddler, the cupboard under your kitchen sink will feel like Aladdin’s cave with so many interesting bottles and tubs to investigate. Child locks are easy to fit and will prevent your toddler exploring the contents of the cupboard which could make them sick, burn their skin badly or cause a bad allergic reaction.

Check that you have no bathroom cleaners left in easy reach in the bathroom and if you plan to keep them there, pop them on top of the bathroom cabinet. Other places to check for potential danger are the garage – for motor oils and fuel for the lawnmower etc. If you have a shed, does it contain gardening products that are hazardous and if you have a cellar, is there anything nasty being stored at toddler height?

The hazards of stairs.

Although your toddler yearns to explore upstairs, it is essential that you fit a really good stair gate as soon as they look as though they are about to start crawling. Young children must never be left near a staircase on their own as the stairs are hazardous and so are wooden railings as toddlers can get stuck in them or fall through them. Toddlers have a poor sense of balance so must be supervised at all times. You need to teach your toddler how to climb up the stairs and to come back down safely – by crawling down backwards. Even when you are confident they can do this, never leave them on their own in case they topple.
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The danger of electricity.

This really is a major threat to your toddler’s safety and you must spend time making everywhere as safe as possible. Trailing electrical wires must be dealt with and tacked along the skirting board so that they are not loose. Any long wires can be made to the correct length and fastened with a special tie that cannot be easily opened. Regularly check that all your electrical wiring is in good condition with no exposed wires.

All electric sockets should be covered with protectors so that your toddler cannot put their finger or a toy into the socket.

Check your furniture and doors.

Remember that your adventurous toddler may well try and use furniture to climb on or hold onto so make sure that your furniture is sturdy and will not tip over. If you have sharp edges on your coffee table or other units, fit rounded plastic protective corners as these will not hurt your toddler.

Have doors either wide open or firmly closed (and preferably locked) as so many young children manage to shut their fingers in doors – be extra careful with heavy car doors too.
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And the best advice of all….

Even if you try your best to minimise the chances of your toddler hurting themselves, sadly this can still happen, especially when you become distracted or when you are visiting family or friends and their home is not as child safe as yours.

Knowing what to do in an emergency is really important and can really make a difference when every minute counts. If you are expecting your first baby or your baby is still very young and immobile, what better time to follow a basic First Aid course? There are courses held locally and also ones available online, which are ideal to follow at your own speed. Once you have completed the course, it is well worth planning to take a regular refresher course to ensure that you can deal with the situation really well, should your toddler have an accident….

Chrissie x

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