Updated: Mar 7
Did you know? In the UK, more than one million children end up in hospital each year due to accidents in the home, with the most at-risk being children under 5.
Babies and young children are naturally curious, so how can you ensure that they are safe?
One of the biggest issues for parents who are bringing a new baby home, is figuring out ‘safe sleeping’.
Bedroom temperature is very important - it should be between 16-20 degrees Celsius. Buying a reliable room thermometer will help you maintain a safe room temperature.
When placing your baby to sleep make sure they are in your room with you in a cot or moses basket and always place them on their back with no toys or loose bedding. They should be placed with their feet at the bottom of the basket/cot.
Use cellular or muslin blankets and tuck them in snuggly around your baby and avoid using any positioning aids.
Your baby should never be left unattended with any pets. It is important that pets do not sleep with babies and young children.
Cats love to curl up in a cot or pushchair, so keep doors closed or you can purchase a cat net to put over to stop them. As soon as the baby is on the move, they will want to chase dogs and cats, so it is important to keep a close eye and use a stair gate to keep them separate.
One thing a lot of parents forget about is to ensure dog/cat food is kept out of reach as well as keeping cat litter trays far away.
SLIPS AND TRIPS
Parents should always have one hand free in case they slip or trip.
This is particularly important when parents are carrying a baby upstairs. While it can be tempting to multitask, you should always have a hand free for holding the handrail.
Change nappies on a changing mat on the floor rather than a changing table. This way if your baby rolls, or you are temporarily distracted, they cannot fall.
Fill your baby's bath with cold water first, checking the temperature with your elbow. It is always worth remembering that even the smallest volume of water can be a hazard to babies, so never leave children unattended, however brief.
And, an often forgotten tip is to cover the bath taps. If your bath tap gets hot, make sure you use a tap cover or flannel or towel to cover while bathing children.
Need some bath time tips? Check out how to get your little one enjoying bath time here
As babies grow they become more curious to explore their surroundings and anything within reach could be a potential hazard. Always explore your home from your child's height, considering what is accessible and what can be climbed to reach other items.
Children love to develop their gross motor skills however; this can mean they enjoy climbing on everything. Be aware of furniture, particularly bookcases, wardrobes and chests of drawers that may not be attached to the walls.
Keep low furniture, chairs and toys away from underneath windows; these can be the ‘perfect’ stool for children to reach up higher to windows. Parents should be aware of having windows open on any level of your home, as children are curious and interested in everything, so making sure they can explore their environment safely is of paramount importance. Window locks are a very good idea.
BATTERIES, MAGNETS AND SMALL PIECE TOYS
Small batteries can be exceptionally dangerous to children, so any toys or appliances, such as bathroom scales, should be kept out of sight.
Toys with small pieces - meant for older children - need to be kept out of reach from babies too.
These are all a big choking hazard but also pose a potential poisoning risk too.
IN THE KITCHEN
When heating any food or milk for children, try avoiding using the microwave as this can create hot spots. Instead, warm in hot water or on the hob.
When using your hob, get into the habit of always using the back rings, to avoid little hands exploring. Also be sure to not be carrying children while cooking to minimise risk and when the cooker is not in use, switch it off at the wall.
Washing tablets and dishwasher tablets are also very inviting and very dangerous if swallowed or squirted in eyes and need to be kept in a high cupboard, ideally in a box with a safety catch on.
Medicines should also be kept well out of reach along with other cleaning products. Cupboard locks can help but they are not an absolute guarantee.
Something that everyone should consider to keep safe at home - is of course, fire safety.
take time to plan an escape route in the instance there is a fire in your home, coming up with different fire escape routes
Make sure you think about different routes for different scenarios and check your fire alarm regularly.
Nappy sacks and plastic bags can be extremely dangerous to babies and young children, easily causing suffocation if near the mouth and nose, so it’s important to keep them well out
of the way. Tying a knot in them is a great way to avoid suffocation too.