The Summer issue of Mums and Tots magazine is now in the shops for only €3. Here is one of my articles inside this great issue! 🙂
The majority of childhood accidents in Ireland take place within the home. In Ireland, deaths caused by accidents account for more deaths in the under 1s than from illnesses such as leukaemia and meningitis combined.
Different measures will be required at the different stages of development. Initially, the essential measures should ideally be taken before your child begins to crawl. Then, their new-found mobility and natural curiosity will really put your baby proofing to the test. As they begin to walk and climb, new risks will present themselves at higher levels and new measures will need to be implemented. Careful observation of your child will help to alert you to new risks and new measures will need to be implemented.
- Stair gate, especially at the bottom of the stairs.
- Fire guard. This should be securely fixed to the wall, rather than a stand alone guard.
- Window latches and guards to prevent window being opened wide enough to allow child to escape.
- Curtain cord safety device to prevent strangulation, or replace cords with wands if they are not 1.6 m above the ground.
- Locked medicine box, well out of reach.
- Latches. Oven latch, boiler latch (if indoors), adhesive toilet latch, kitchen cabinet latches, especially for those containing bleach, detergents and dishwasher tablets.
- Smoke alarm.
- Carbon monoxide alarm.
- Fire extinguisher.
Tips and general advice
Baby walkers may give your child a sense of freedom and free you up to attend to chores, but these are discouraged by paediatricians and accident and emergency staff as they have witnessed so many injuries caused by accidents in baby walkers. In Canada, the sale or import of baby walkers is banned completely and the American Academy of paediatrics have strengthened their position and called for a complete ban also.
Never leave a baby or child unattended in the bath, even if they are with an older sibling. Only an inch of water is enough for a child to drown. When filling the bath, always add the cold water first in case you drop the baby into the water. Use a rubber mat in the bath to help prevent slips and falls. Bath taps can be covered with rubber covers, again to prevent bangs and bumps. When you’re finished, always empty the bath right away, to prevent toddlers or older children from climbing back in. Bath plugs can be hidden to prevent them from running their own baths while your back is turned.
Burns are the number one accident for children in the home, so extra precaution should be taken in the kitchen. When cooking, try to use the inner rings of the hob which are closest to the wall, rather than the outer rings, and always point pot handles inwards, making it more difficult for young children to reach. Never leave pots unattended. Cabinet latches are a great deterrent however some toddlers can figure out how to open them quite easily. With this in mind, consider changing to less toxic cleaning products, such as non-chlorine bleach and vinegar. Sharp knives, cork screws, skewers, peelers and graters should be placed well out of reach.
In the child’s bedroom make sure their cot is not placed next to a window or curtain cords or in front of a radiator or heater. Bedding should be kept to a minimum. A cot shouldn’t contain lots of cuddly toys, extra blankets or bumper pads, as cute as they look they can cause accidental death or injury through suffocation or strangulation.
When placing a baby in their cot, always place them on their back and with their feet to the bottom of the cot and tuck (cellular) blankets in firmly in at the bottom. This will prevent them from wriggling down under the covers and avoid suffocation and reduce the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You can also use sleeping bags instead of blankets. When purchasing make sure the neck is not wide enough for the child’s head to fit through.
Child Accident Prevention Trust
For curtain cord safety devices
For more information on Sudden Infant death syndrome
For advice on poisoning
http://www.poisons.ie at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. Call (01) 809 2166
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/patrickdanger/4920093441/”>Patrick Danger</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>