Advice Column, Parenting

Making Your Home Toddler-Proof

In South Africa, a child is most likely to injure themselves at home – far more so than anywhere else. This is largely due to children’s confidence and curiosity at home, together with an adult’s inability to be everywhere at once, or to have eyes on children at all possible times; it’s human nature. The importance of being vigilant with pool safety cannot be overstated. The same is true when it comes to keeping your children safe in the home – particularly toddlers, who are keen to explore and gain some independence (without necessarily taking much heed of parents’ rules). Putting certain steps in place within the home will help you keep your child as safe as possible while allowing them to continue to learn, explore and develop.

Teach your kid how to be safe in the kitchen

The kitchen is often a favourite place of toddlers, what with it being where food is made. An interest in food and cooking should be encouraged from a young age, but the kitchen is clearly a particularly hazardous place for toddlers. Keep all electrical appliances out of reach and always make sure all pan handles are facing into the wall, away from the edge of the hob. Make any budding young chefs your ‘sous chef’, assigning them their own area of the kitchen while making sure they know the rules of the kitchen (for example, asking you, the head chef, for permission before attempting a new task). Give the toddler their own apron and child-friendly cutlery, as well as a safe task to do. Giving kids a task like cutting mushrooms will keep them busy and in your eyeline, also giving them a rewarding and educational activity in the process.

Make your bathroom safe

Never leave a toddler unattended in the bath. Not only can children drown in just a few inches of water, but slips and burns are most likely to occur in the bathroom. To prevent the risk of scalding, turn the cold water tap on first before using the hot water, and make sure the water is no hotter than 120°F. Place an anti-slip mat on the bottom of the bath and underneath the showers. Mop up any spillages on the floor immediately and consider using tap covers to prevent curious little people scalding themselves by turning the hot tap on. Finally, make sure that any medicines, razors and electrical appliances are kept high up in a cupboard and out of reach from children.

Keep hazardous items out of reach

Toddlers love to open drawers and empty them. With this in mind, make sure you keep anything that is potentially dangerous out of their clutches. This includes earplugs, tweezers, and medicines, which you may absentmindedly keep in your bedside drawer. Scissors, glue, and detergents are other examples of things that must be kept out of sight. For peace of mind, put child-safety locks on any cupboard doors containing potentially harmful objects.

Be vigilant and realistic

As a parent or carer, the responsibility of looking after a toddler can feel overwhelming at times. Let’s face it, accidents are going to happen; you cannot prevent that. However, many child accidents and injuries at home can be prevented. By putting sensible measures in place and keeping an eye on your toddler’s play at home, you give yourself the best chance of keeping them safe.

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