Written by Rhiannon Ellis
Home. It’s our sanctuary and our safe place. It’s where we start and end each day. Home is where we make memories, celebrate holidays and raise families. We work hard to provide a roof over our heads, and it has often been said when it comes to “Home Sweet Home” that, well, there’s no place like it.
However, lurking inside our houses are a multitude of ways the youngest amongst us can become injured. Given the sheer amount of potential dangers, parents of young children may feel overwhelmed, but with a few adjustments and some due diligence, a safeguarded home is achievable.
Most falls result in minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, but broken bones and head trauma are not uncommon. There are a number of safety measures to consider simply because falls can take place almost anywhere.
Good fall prevention includes:
- • Securing steps and staircases with safety gates;
- • Removing clutter from stairs;
- • Keeping toys, clothing and shoes off the floor;
- • Wiping up water from bathroom floors;
- • and avoiding using bulky rugs that are easily tripped over.
It’s also prudent to teach children from a young age not to run in the house or play/climb on furniture. Which leads to our next potential hazard…
Tall dressers are notoriously top-heavy and prone to tipping over when multiple drawers are opened simultaneously. Young children can be seriously injured, even suffocated, as a result. All tall furniture should be fastened to the wall using straps and anchors. TV’s also present a tipping hazard and should be secured on their stands or to a wall.
Our pets may be family members, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still prone to animal behaviors. A serious dog bite can occur due to a knee-jerk reaction from being startled or hurt, or from food aggression. Even the most docile, well-trained dog has shocked owners after exhibiting a bite reaction for the first time. It’s important to teach children to treat all animals gently and with respect. Lastly, never leave young kids alone with a pet, no matter how trustworthy.
Garden tools, cooking utensils and firearms are all common household items that can cause serious, even deadly, harm. Sheds and garages contain several sharp and otherwise dangerous objects and should be kept locked so young children cannot access them. Make sure firearms and ammunition are properly handled and stored following safety guidelines recommended by a reputable organization, such as the NRA. Keep forks and knives out of reach and always use the safety lock on a loaded dishwasher.
Choking & Poison
Young children are fascinated by the strangest things, and these things often end up in their mouths. This puts them at great risk for choking or ingesting poisons. Fortunately, this phase of life doesn’t last too long because it is rather tedious to circumvent. Anything containing small objects—purses and board games—should be kept out of reach. Secure medicine and kitchen cabinets with safety locks, and, as is the case with all the aforementioned hazards, proper supervision is key.