Family Safety – How to prevent accidents happening to your family at home
The home is a dangerous place to be. Every year many children die from accidents at home. Thousands more people, of all ages, are scarred or disabled for life. Elderly people as well as children are particularly prone to accidents.
The kitchen is the home’s most dangerous room. It is the place where family members usually spend the most time and where most accidents occur. Children are particularly at risk. They are naturally inquisitive and inclined to touch and try everything and to hang around place to keep your first aid kit.
Here are some tips how to prevent accidents happening to your family. The guidelines for you to check the safety of your home and children and give you ideas for improving family safety.
- Keep all appliances and power point well out of children’s reach. Insert dummy plugs in low power points.
- Do not allow the cords of electric appliance to trail, especially near the sink or stove.
- Always unplug the electric kettle before filling it with water.
- Keep full teapots and hot drinks well away from the edge of tables and benches, and never pass a hot drink over a child’s head.
- Store knives safely.
- Switch the iron off as soon as you have finished and leave it in a safe place to cool down.
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of small children, and teach older children about their dangers and how to use them safely.
- Keep all cleaning product out of the reach of children, particularly dishwasher detergent, bleach and corrosive chemicals. Do not store them under the kitchen sink unless the cupboard is kept locked at all times.
- Store plastic bags well out of reach of children, suffocation can take place quickly and silently.
- Take special care when cooking with oil, which can spatter and burn a bystander or catch fire (nearly half of all house fires start in the kitchen). If a pan catches on fire, cover it with a lid or damp cloth. Leave it where it is until it cools down.
- Never pour water into hot oil, the burst of steam resulting can easily scald.
- Wipe up food spilt on the floor immediately to avoid the family slipping on it.
- Place pots and pans on the back burners whenever possible and keep all handles turned inwards. A stove safety guard is a good investment if you have children.
- Encourage children to stay well clear of the stove when you are cooking. Take a few minutes, before you start, to give them something to do in a safe area, for example, reading, games or drawing.
- Have wiring in the bathroom professionally fitted, water and electricity are a dangerous combination.
- Always double check the water temperature before putting a baby or child in the bath. Always put the cold water in first.
- Take special care if you use an electric shaver or hair dryer in the bathroom. It is better to use a hair dryer in the bedroom, well away from water.
- Have a safe water heater professionally installed and check regularly.
- Never leave a baby or child alone in the bath. If you must answer the phone or door, warp the child in a towel and take him or her with you.
- Use non-skid mats in the bath and shower, and install safety rails for children or elderly people to hold on to.
- Keep medicines, the first aid kit, cosmetics and perfumes out of the reach of children.
- Keep scissors, knives and electric shavers out of the reach of children.
- Teach everyone in the family not to touch power points with wet hands; moisture is an excellent conductor of electricity.
- Keep lavatory cleaners, bleach and other cleaners out of the reach of children.
- Always wear gloves when you are gardening. They prevent cuts from glass and rusty metal or nails.
- Use poisonous weed-killers and sprays as little as possible. There are efficient non-toxic and herbal products available.
- Correctly label all fertilizers, weed-killers and poisons and keep out of the reach of children.
- Wear shoes when you are mowing or using an electric garden appliance.
- Never leave a child unattended near a swimming pool. Always empty paddling pools after use and store them away. Remember: a child can drown in just a few inches of water.
Child safety checklist
Note that drowning and choking are common causes of accidental death in young children. Burns are also a common accident.
- Never give peanuts to a child under 3.
- Never leave a baby alone with food or drink: it can choke and die in minutes.
- Do not tie a dummy with a ribbon or string around the baby’s neck as it can become entangled and cause strangulation.
- Do not leave plastic bags lying around. Put them away immediately and teach children that they are not toys to play with.
- Ensure that all baby equipment is safe and conforms to approved safety standards. Take special care when purchasing cots, high-chairs, playpens, prams and strollers.
- Always supervise a child in a high-chair.
- Always use a child’s car seat that approved by the standards association and make sure that it is fitted correctly, and adjust safety belts and harnesses every time you take a baby or child in your car.
- Never keep a baby or child unattended in a car.
- Teach your child about road safety. Every time you cross the road, hold your child’s hand and explain the correct procedure. Whenever possible, cross at a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights.