From birth till the age of 2, children depend on parents and other caregivers for their safety. Safety issues change and increase rapidly in number as newborns grow into toddlers. It is important to consider the child's physical and mental development when evaluating current and future hazards.
What can you do to keep your child safe?
Your child is gaining confidence and probably wants to explore. But your child still needs your close supervision and guidance. You can:
- Set up and consistently enforce rules and limits to help your child learn about dangers.
- Supervise your child and teach your child some basic safety rules and precautions for inside and outside the home like always use seat belts.
- Practice healthy habits to protect your child against illness and infection like washing their hands before and after eating.
- Take safety measures around the home like using safety covers on all electrical outlets.
- Understand that your child will go through active and curious phases. Recognize these periods, and think about what you can do to avoid safety hazards. If your child is discovering the joys of riding a tricycle, for example, be sure to make riding in the street off limits.
- No one can watch child’s every move or make home 100% but you can find a balance between supervising your child, taking safety precautions, and allowing the child to explore.
Select toys with care
- Look for good design and quality construction in the toys you buy.
- To make sure your child’s toys are safe be sure to check for these potential problems before you buy a toy & recheck all of your child’s toys from time to time
- No loose ties
- Watch out for toys that have no sharp edges, small parts, or sharp points, produce extremely loud noises, objects that can injure eyes.
- Buy toys from a store that you know & trust
- Buy from a company that guarantees its product & confirms that each product produced has been carefully tested for being appropriate for a child’s developmental stage.
- Buy toys that suit the child's age, interest, and abilities.
- Be a label reader. Look for safety information such as "Not recommended for children under 3 years of age," or "non-toxic" as children tend to put things and toys into mouth or "washable/hygienic materials" on stuffed toys and dolls.
- Take guidance from your friends and relatives who already have children about the toys that require close supervision such as electrically operated toys, shooting toys and games, chemistry sets etc.
Tips on how to store a toy
- Toys should be easily accessible to the child
- Boxes can hold a lot of toys. Label them so it’s easy to determine the contents, or use clear boxes for quick identification.
- Create sturdy shelves to hold boxes, games & larger toys.
- A hammock is great for storing stuffed animals, or a clothes line (with clothes pine that snap open) can be hung from the ceiling or across a corner.
- Do not have too many toys & games cluttering the floor: it can be dangerous
- Occasionally, recycle the toys for fresh play so your child doesn’t get bored
Teach proper use of toys
- Check the instructions and explain to the child how to use the toy.
- If batteries are required, be sure they are on hand & operating.
- Always try to supervise children while they play. Learn to spot "an accident about to happen."
- Check toys periodically for broken parts and potential hazards.
- Teach children to put their toys in the toy box/shelf, so the toys do not get broken and so that no one trips and falls on them.
The following are common accidents and injuries that can occur around the house, and some suggestions on how to prevent them.
- Falls - Toddlers and young children often move quickly. You can help prevent young children from falling by putting up stairway barriers, monitoring their play area, and providing stable play equipment. Also, keep walkways, decks, porches, and stairways free of objects.
- Choking – Children of 2 to 5 years can easily choke on everyday objects and food. Your child needs your supervision even though he or she may be able to eat independently.
- Strangulation and suffocation - A young child can strangle from a variety of household items. Protect your child by minimizing these hazards. Teach your child about suffocation and the importance of a safe play area.
- Poisoning - To prevent poisoning, identify household cleaners and other chemicals, plants, medicines, makeup, perfumes, and any other products that can harm a child who eats or inhales them.
- Fire hazards - Prevent household fires by combustible substances out of children’s reach and maintain smoke detectors, plan and practicing escape routes.
- Burns - Burns are caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, radiation, or friction.
- Drowning - Drowning is a leading cause of injury death in young children. Never leave your child alone near water or even in bath tub.
In Home Safety
Living room safety:
- Keep fans and space heaters which can cause burns and cuts out of your children’s reach.
- Always pick up toys so that nobody slips or falls on them.
- Secure all furniture so that children may not knock over anything on him or her.
- Lock windows so that baby won't fall outside.
- Remove or shorten any cords that might be hanging from the blinds to prevent strangulation.
- Install outlet plugs on every outlet that's noticeable to prevent children from having shock.
- Move all cleaning products to a higher elevation.
- Keep pot handles facing inward when cooking on stove.
- Place all the sharp, tiny or poisonous objects to a drawer with a safety latch.
- Secure all tablecloths to the table to prevent your baby from pulling anything on him/her.
- Move any plastic bags to a higher elevation to prevent suffocation.
- Keep your purse out of child's reach. Small objects like coins may choke them if swallowed by them.
- Install safety latches on cabinets or simply put up a gate at kitchen entrance.
- Keep all pillows out of crib until baby is a year old.
- Keep small jewelry, perfumes and colognes, shoe polishing materials, belts, scarves, and ties out of your baby's reach.
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bib on.
- Keep older children's toys away from baby's reach.
- Keep button batteries away from child, this can cause intoxication with mercury and acid.
- Never leave your baby alone in the bathtub for any reason.
- Keep medicine, razor blades and cosmetics out of baby's reach.
- Never leave water sitting in the tub.
- Keep all electrical appliances away from water.
- Infants are known to drown in toilet bowls, install a toilet latch to prevent this.
Stair and hallway safety:
- Block your child's access to all stairways.
- Make sure all hallways and stairways have enough light to see.
- Pick up any toys that are on stairs or in hallways.
- Always hold on to the safety rail when carrying your child, some may try to get loose and cause a fall.