5 Home Safety Hazards That Need to Be Made Child-Friendly
When you have young kids and toddlers, creating a safe environment for them to grow and thrive should be a priority. While there are bound to be numerous safety hazards around the house, most can be addressed simply and quickly. One of the best things you can do, which we mentioned in ‘Secrets to Creating a Healthy Happy Family Room‘ is to create a designated children’s play area. This way they’re contained in a safe environment and it’s easy to keep an eye out on them. If that’s not a viable solution, here are five home safety hazards you can remedy to let your children roam freely around the house.
Fixtures like a gas fireplace, a hob, or a gas boiler present many hazards. Apart from the obvious fire risk, many of these fixtures have sharp or hard edges that can hurt a toddler. However, one of the most dangerous aspects of any gas-burning fixture is the odourless, colourless, poisonous gas known as carbon monoxide. Baby Centre explains that you should fit a carbon monoxide alarm if you have any of the aforementioned fixtures. This is particularly important when you have an older boiler and there are a few signs you should watch out for such as if the pilot light goes out frequently, you notice dark marks around it or a strange smell emanating from it. HomeServe recommend upgrading your boiler if your current model is older than 10 years. A safer option would be a combi-boiler as they are small, they no longer use unsafe pilot lights and can be put out of the reach of children.
Your TV and other top-heavy furniture
Unsteady furniture and appliances are a major hazard and are very unsafe for both children and adults. Two-thirds of injuries related to TVs or furniture tipping over involve kids younger than five. So, if your child has a tendency to climb a lot, She Knows explains that there’s a chance they could pull at a free-standing TV and it crash on top of them. It’s also worth considering the chances of them endangering themselves around top-heavy bookcases or other pieces of furniture that may fall on them. Your best solution is to either mount your flat-screen TV or anchor it to the wall, which should also be done for top-heavy furniture as well.
Corded blinds and shades pose a serious hazard to young children, and you should take steps to remove all cords from their reach. NIdirect lists several recommendations for securing blinds, including removing any surfaces they can climb on away from windows, like sofas and chairs, use safety devices like cord or chain tidies, P clips and cleats, and adjust pull cords to the shortest possible length. You should also be mindful of safety-proofing cords in other places your children visit, like a friend’s house, their grandparents and hotels.
Declutter toys and tripping hazards
Anyone regardless of age is susceptible to falling and a messy floor poses an even greater hazard. Skateboards, baby walkers and small toys pose the greatest risks especially around the stairs. Make sure to clean up and provide a designated space for children to spread and scatter their toys (because they will). Make sure that all stairs have stairgates in place and stair carpets are secure. Outside, keep all stairs clear of debris and other hazards like ice and snow during the winter. Using secured mats or grip tape to make surfaces less slippery is an inexpensive DIY project to help keep everyone safe.
Outlets and Electricity
Electrical Safety First (ESF), notes that about two-thirds of parents will carry out electrical DIY fixes around the home, but most don’t take the necessary precautions. Relying solely on socket blanking plugs is not reliable, as covers will not always prevent an electric shock. While they may not be able to fit their fingers in sockets, children can still jab objects in them, which could cause them to get electrocuted. As part of their recommendations, ESF suggests the only way to remain safe from a fatal electric shock is to have a residual current device (RCD) installed in your home, which will switch off electricity automatically when a fault occurs. This device protects against the risks of electric shocks and fires.