If you’ve always been vigilant about your home’s safety against burglars and outsiders by installing bolts, extra locks, and CCTV cameras, it’s a completely different story when you have a child. Kids are naturally curious, which means you need to reassess your home for other forms of danger. Here are five simple steps to keep your kids safe at home:
Hide poisonous items in hard-to-reach places
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports that more than 28,000 children receive treatment for poisoning in the UK every year, and some of the most serious accidents happen right at home. To prevent this, make sure you keep medicine, household products, makeup, and other chemicals out of sight and reach. It seems an obvious thing to do, but most parents overlook it—especially after cleaning. Another point is not to think that the bottles or containers are the only items you need to store after use. Don’t forget to put away cleaning cloths, too.
Don’t use electrical socket covers
Dad-of-five and electrician Steve Palmer is one of the many parents advocating against the use of electrical plug covers, saying the plastic fittings cause more harm than good. “You wouldn’t provide your child with a screwdriver to play with around your home so stop inserting a tool into your sockets that could potentially be the cause of serious harm or even the death of your child,” he said. To prove his point, he made a video of his two young kids showing the audience how easy it is to remove the plugs and put it back in. “It only needs that top pin to be pushed in for the bottom conductors to be exposed and that’s where the danger comes in,” Palmer said.
To prevent your children from getting an electric shock, it’s better to get tamper-resistant receptacles (TRRs) instead. TRRs feature built-in safety shutters that block foreign objects from being inserted into the receptacle.
Install dividing doors and adjustable gates
If your home has an open floor plan, it’s best to install dividing doors so you can keep your young children in one room. Many of the internal doors presented on Screwfix are actually room dividers with windows. This type of door allows parents to keep their children in one room while still being able to see what they are doing. Make sure you also install gates that can be locked at the top and bottom of your stairs. Window gates and guards are also important. Very Well Family believes that ground floor window gates are a good idea, as they prevent children from getting out of the house through low windows.
Invest in smart CCTV cameras
A good CCTV camera will allow you to watch over your kids no matter where you are. The Netvue IP Camera, which sells for less than £50, has a motion detection feature that will send you notifications when there is motion detected. It has night vision, too, and is very easy to set up and connect to your phone. It can also stream videos and it has two-way audio, which works on smartphones and tablets.
Install a good fireplace guard
It’s one of the simplest ways to keep your kids away from the fireplace, especially if you use it regularly throughout the colder months. Make sure you get one that you can screw to the wall so that your kids won’t be able to move it. Free-standing baby gates can easily topple over and cause more accidents. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, consider getting a fireplace door or a fireplace screen with doors to keep popping embers and sparks away—spark guards are a good investment, too. There are also folding fireplace screens that can fit oddly shaped fireplaces.
Make sure you keep the gas fireplace keys out of reach, as well. Everything related to your fireplace like the logs, matches, and fire iron and tongs should be kept out of reach at all times.
These safety measures should also extend to your car. Make sure you fit it with the right size car seat. Royal Baby Fever also suggests you practice fitting the car seat so you feel confident on your first trip in the car. Don’t dress your kids in thick clothes, too if you’re putting them in a car seat. Just add a blanket to keep them warm. The key to successfully childproofing your entire home (and car) is to be thorough. Pay attention to the details and do a lot of research.