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Keeping children safe around the home

Keeping your children safe is every parent's top priority, but there's a lot around the house that could prove hazardous, especially to little ones. Over two million kids under 15 are involved in accidents each year, while for older children, the dangers might lurk in less obvious places, like the technology they use.

Here are some tips on preventing accidents in the home.

Babies

While babies can't toddle around the house bumping into things, the greatest danger is swallowing, inhaling or choking on small items, like marbles or peanuts. So it goes without saying you should keep these items well out of reach. Two items you might not have thought about are:

  • Nappy sacks. The lightweight nature of nappy sacks mean they can easily be inhaled by your baby, and there have been cases where young children have suffocated on them.
  • Blind cords. Window blind cords pose a strangling risk, so invest in safety devices that keep them out of reach. Also, make sure you don't place your baby's cot next to a window blind.

Toddlers

When your baby starts to get more mobile, you'll realise how easy you had it before when all they did was wriggle! Toddler-proofing your home is a huge task involving many steps – here are some of the most important ones:

  • Cover hard edges and corners on your furniture with guards
  • Remove breakable or expensive items from surfaces and store them out of reach
  • Consider locks for your cupboards, particularly those that contain potentially dangerous items like kitchen or bathroom cleaning products
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  • Prevent trip hazards by keeping walkways clutter-free and invest in grips for rugs or mats
  • You might be surprised just how quickly they learn to get around so a stairgate is essential.

Children

As your kids grow more independent, they'll want to go out to play with their friends, or walk to school on their own. Stranger danger needs to be broached sensitively – here are some pointers:

  • Agree on a code word your child can use if they ever feel unsafe
  • Teach them not to be afraid of saying ‘no' to a stranger and to ‘yell and tell' if the stranger makes them feel uncomfortable
  • Establish a safe zone – a place that has someone you and your child can trust and talk to if they need to.

Safety4kids is a fun and interactive online resource where your little one can learn all about stranger danger and how to stay safe.

Teens

It's true that teens and older kids love their tech but ground rules need to be set to make sure they're not doing anything they shouldn't online – for their safety and for your peace of mind. So, you should:

  • Talk with them about cyberbullying – let them know how to spot the signs and encourage them to let you know if they feel victimised online
  • For younger kids, make sure privacy levels are at their highest setting, especially on social sites like Facebook and Instagram
  • All internet providers offer parental controls, so you can limit the sites your kids have access to when at home
  • It's not really a safety tip, but it's important to set limits on tech usage, as too much screen time can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing.

Hopefully these tips will help your kids stay safe and happy in and around your home. If you have any advice of your own, we'd love to hear it.

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