Tips to keep toddlers and babies safe in the house

Children are extremely inquisitive by nature. They learn by exploration and by putting everything in their mouth. A toddler will crawl around the house on her hands and knees and discover all those things that your vacuum cleaner missed. She will invariably learn to open cupboards best left alone and sample your liquid detergents, soaps, toilet cleaners and machine oil. This can be highly dangerous and potentially fatal. So working on the maxim “prevention is better than cure,” it is best to ensure child safety within your house before your baby learns to crawl.

First things first

Take a critical look around your home and make a list of all possible dangers. Electric outlets are the most obvious as little children love to stick their fingers into those. But sometimes seemingly innocent and innocuous objects in the house can be very harmful.

If your child has started crawling, store away all expensive crystal decoration pieces, heavy ashtrays, fragile urns, paper weights and lamps. Table mats weighed down with such items can be pulled down by the child and everything will land on his vulnerable skull.

Clear away your dressing table leaving only the bare essentials. Make-up items such as nail polish remover can be life threatening if ingested.

Use plastic crockery for children instead of glass or china as broken glass can be extremely dangerous.

Keep all medicines out of children’s reach, preferably in a locked cabinet or on a high shelf. Sewing implements like needles, scissors, buttons and stationery supplies like ink-pots, staplers, etc., must also be kept out of sight.

If your child shows interest in eating soil, it might be a good idea to get rid of indoor plants or hang them by ceiling hooks. Strings, cords, wires and kite strings must never be placed where little fingers can reach. They can cause strangulation.

Child Safety in Kitchen

The kitchen is probably the most dangerous room in the house for a curious child. In most households, cleaning chemicals and pesticides are stored under the sink area. Utensils on burning stoves, matchboxes, sharp cutting implements and electric appliances can also be extremely hazardous.

Never leave your child alone in the kitchen. Place plastic items on lower level and store dangerous or heavier items in upper cabinets. Use back burners for frying, making tea or boiling water. Saucepans and frying pans with long handles can be grasped by the child if he learns to stand on tiptoe.

In The Bathrooms

In the bathroom, a toddler is at risk from drowning in the bath tub, getting scalded by hot water, slipping on wet floor and accidentally touching water heaters. Soaps, shampoos, shaving blades, razors, foams, etc. are all potentially hazardous in young hands.

No bathroom item should be within the reach of your child. Use a wiper to get rid of excess water on floors after each bath and place plastic mats around bath tubs and toilet seat areas to avoid slipping. Always drain away bath tubs.

Toys

Always buy good quality toys that are unbreakable and made of non- toxic materials for your children. If older siblings own toys like Mechano, LEGO, bead sets, etc., tell them to store these away carefully as toddlers can put small pieces in their mouth and choke on them. Broken toys should be disposed off at once.

Stairs

Crawling toddlers are always fascinated by stairs. They love to climb up and down as it gives them a great sense of freedom, but it should never happen without adult supervision. Place a table or have a wooden gate installed to block their path especially in the case of baby walkers.

Plugs, wires and sockets

Cover all sockets with strong adhesive tapes or place heavy objects in front of them. Close unnecessary outlets. If possible, hire an electrician to provide you with sockets that are at an adult’s height. Pass wires under the carpet and keep mobile chargers out of children’s reach. They would love to imitate you and plug it in the wall.

Electric appliances

Be very careful while ironing clothes and always wrap the cord after use. A child can pull it and the iron might fall on his head or toes.

Pedestal fans should also be banished if there are young kids in the house as they love to poke their fingers in rotating blades.

Parenting is usually about out-smarting your precocious adventurers. Keep your house simple, as overly cluttered places conceal harmful objects which your child will surely discover. It is also important to set strict rules. Even a one-year-old knows the meaning of an emphatic NO if you are judicious and consistent in its application, so use it to stop him from harming himself. He’ll soon accept that you mean it.