How to Keep Your Home Safer for Kids
Nearly 80% of accidents involving children aged 0 to 14 years occur inside the home, causing several hundred deaths yearly.
This figure is all the more alarming since 90% of these accidents could be avoided…
These few tips will help you adapt your home and lifestyle to limit the risks.
The basics of home safety
To make your home safe, you must prevent specific risks in each area. However, whatever the room, always remember.
– never put furniture under a window. A child could climb over the table and get to the handle;
– Block the opening of windows with a special system for added safety:
◦ One option is to install keyed window handles, which cost about $20. This system locks the handle so your child can’t turn it.
◦ There are also window keepers, $20, that prevent the sashes from being opened all the way.
◦ Home automation finally offers exciting solutions in this area. Thus, thanks to a system of sensors, you will be alerted by an alarm if a window is open. This solution is more expensive, between $ 30 and $ 200;
– install covers in front of all outlets;
– put all plastic bags out of reach to avoid your child choking on them.
Kitchen: 15.4% of accidents
15.4% of domestic accidents involving children occur in the kitchen. Simple gestures, as well as adapted equipment, allow us to avoid them.
Here are some simple gestures to adopt:
– When cooking, turn the handles of pots and pans inward, that is, toward the wall on which the stove is leaning. This way, your child won’t have to worry about dropping the pan on herself and getting scalded.
– Keep children away from the oven when it is on. That way, they won’t get burned by touching the wall:
◦ some ovens have a tempered wall, so they don’t get hot (about $500).
– Put all cleaning products up high:
◦ They contain very toxic products and can cause burns and poisoning.
◦ Make your child aware of the pictograms present on these products as soon as possible: flammable, corrosive, etc.
– Systematically put away all knives, forks, and other sharp utensils.
– Do not leave lighters and matches within your child’s reach.
– If one of your dishes catches fire, cover it with a damp cloth to smother the fire.
Essential kitchen safety equipment
For an overall cost of about $160, maximize your kitchen safety:
– If your oven doesn’t have a tempered wall, equip it with a protective grill (about $30).
– Also, consider securing your cupboards and drawers with door locks and drawer locks, about $5 each.
– Install a mixing valve on your faucet:
◦ It will regulate the water temperature, limiting the risk of scalding.
◦ This equipment is practical but relatively expensive: count between $80 and $100 for a good quality product.
– A fire extinguisher can also be a valuable tool in case of a fire, starting at $20.
– Along the same lines, make sure you always have a fire blanket available, about $15. It will allow you to:
◦ smother fire starts;
◦ cover people whose clothes catch fire.
Bathroom: 5% of accidents
Accidents in the bathroom are less common, about 5% when it comes to children. Nevertheless, remain vigilant.
Simple actions can help you avoid an accident:
– Set the water heater’s maximum temperature to 50°C to avoid the risk of burns.
– Always lock your medicine cabinet, or put away medicines.
– Never leave your child alone on the changing table or in the bathtub if he or she is under 6 years old.
– Always run some cold water after turning on the hot water to cool the taps and pipes.
– Tidy up the bathroom frequently. This will prevent your child from tripping and bumping.
Must-have equipment for a safe bathroom
For an overall cost of about $140, optimize the safety of your bathroom:
– Invest in a plastic non-slip shower or bath mat, about $10. Because bathroom floors are often wet, this will limit the chance of your child slipping near the hard tub or shower wall.
– Equip your toilet seat with a safety lock, about $3 – perfect for very young children starting to move around.
– Install a mixing valve on your faucet:
◦ This way, the water will not be able to exceed a specific temperature.
◦ Expect to pay between $80 and $100 for good quality equipment.
– Infants should be washed in a baby bathtub for a standard product between $20 and $40. Smaller, it limits the risk of drowning. A child can drown in 3 minutes as soon as the water level reaches 20 cm… So be very careful.
Bedroom: 10.9% of accidents
The bedroom is the only place where a child can be left unattended. In 10.9% of cases, children are victims of a domestic accident in their bedrooms. So be especially vigilant.
Your child’s safety depends on simple gestures:
– Seemingly harmless, toys cause 6,000 child deaths per year… Pay close attention:
◦ Always choose age-appropriate toys for your child. For example, there are no small toys (marbles, small figurines, etc.) for a baby. Quickly unmanageable, they could cause choking.
◦ For stuffed animals and dolls, check that small items (hair, fur, eyes, etc.) are secure.
◦ Do not let your child touch the batteries in a toy.
◦ Teach your child early on to put toys away. Scattered on the floors, they could cause him to trip.
◦ All of your child’s toys should be CE marked, guaranteeing that the toy is safe.
– Do not cover your baby with a comforter or blanket: he could put his head under it and choke. It is better to put him/her in a suitable garment for the night: a sleeping bag, over-suit, etc.
– Never put a lock or a key in the lock; the child could lock himself in.
– Don’t let your pets into your child’s room: they could lie on top of your child and cause suffocation. A pet, no matter how friendly, is never 100% reliable. Therefore, you should always consider the risk of bites, scratches, etc.
Essential equipment for a secure room
To optimize the security of your child’s room, budget between $45 and $130:
– Equip the bedroom door with a safety gate, between $20 and $30:
◦ This way, your child won’t be able to get out of the room.
◦ Be careful. Blocking an exit can be dangerous. Use this equipment only if you are sure you can intervene quickly in case of danger.
– Another useful piece of equipment is the baby phone:
◦ It allows you to hear what is happening in the baby’s room.
◦ It costs between $25 and $100 depending on how advanced it is: simple, video, etc.
– Bedroom furniture should have rounded corners.
– Avoid bunk beds. For very young children, never a bed without bars.
– Prefer carpeting to parquet to limit the risk of slipping and to cushion falls.
Living room: 14% of accidents
The living room is one of the most frequented rooms in the house. It is also one of the most accident-prone rooms, accounting for 14% of all accidents involving children. Take the necessary steps.
In the living room, too, there are simple things you can do to avoid the worst:
– Beware of green plants, which can be toxic. For the same reason, avoid granulated fertilizers, which are placed on the earth’s surface and can be mistaken for candy…
– Never leave your lighters and matches within reach of a child.
– If you have a fireplace, be sure to put the fire starter cubes out of reach. They could ingest them.
– If you are having a drink in your living room, don’t leave your drinking glasses within reach.
– Also, keep peanuts, chips, and other cookies away from very young children to limit the risk of misdirection.
Essential safety equipment in a living room
To secure your living room, you should spend about $30 to $60:
– If you have a fireplace, equip it with a protective grill, between $25 and $50.
– Since the corners of a coffee table are at the height of a young child’s head, equip this piece of furniture with protective corners, between $3 and $5 apiece.
Stairs: 8.7% of accidents
The stairs can be dangerous for your child. You can easily limit the risks.
Here are some simple steps to take:
– If your child is on all fours, teach him to walk down the stairs backward. This way, if he or she falls, it won’t be head first.
– Never let your child walk up the stairs in socks. This increases the risk of slipping.
– Up to the age of 4, children should always be accompanied by an adult when going up and down.
– Avoid placing the child’s room right next to the stairs.
Essential equipment for a safe staircase
To optimize the safety of your staircase, count on approximately $35 to $40:
– Place non-slip mats on the steps, about $10 each.
– Safety gates are a must at the top and bottom of the stairs:
◦ Be sure, however, that they can be opened quickly in case of danger.
◦ A gate costs between $25 and $30.
Garden, garage, and pantry: 25.4% of accidents
Many home accidents also occur outside the home or in uninhabited spaces. Don’t forget to make them safe too!
In the garden
– Any body of water: swimming pool, pond, etc., must be fenced.
– Keep your child away from the barbecue.
– If your child rides a bike in the garden, make him/her wear a helmet.
– Keep your child away from certain plants, such as oleander and hemlock, which can be poisonous.
– Always put away gardening tools, fertilizers, weed killers, etc.
– Porches and playgrounds should be installed on grass, never on a hard surface.
– If you have a sandbox, cover it when your child is not playing to prevent animals from using it as a litter box.
In the Garage
– Put gardening and craft tools out of your child’s reach. The same goes for ladders and stepladders.
– Never leave your keys in the ignition of your car.
In the cellar
– Never store alcoholic products or cleaning products at the child level.
– If you iron in your pantry, always unplug your iron after use and keep the cord out of the child’s reach.
Must-have equipment to protect your child outdoors
For a budget of about $220, maximize your backyard safety:
– Your pool should always be protected by a cover or tarp bearing the NFP 90-308 standard, starting at $20.
– More expensive but still useful, equip your water features with a fall alarm, starting at $200.
– Opt for a garage door equipped with safety accessories, including an anti-crush system:
◦ The door will automatically stop and rise a few dozen inches if it hits your child.
◦ This system is built into the doors and cannot be sold separately.
– Gantries and playgrounds must be CE marked for safety.