The 24-Hour Mommy: How To Keep Your Home Safe For Children


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How To Keep Your Home Safe For Children

2:42 PM

Babies and young children bring joy to our lives in endless ways, but unless you have taken steps to prepare your home for their arrival, there may be hidden dangers lurking around that could cause them serious harm.

childproof your home


Hundreds of thousands of children are rushed to emergency rooms each year as a result of accidents in the home and the vast majority are under the age of five. Thankfully, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure your home is as safe as it can possibly be.

Check everything

The first step to take, especially if you are bringing a new baby home for the first time, is to go around your property room by room and check absolutely everything to ensure it is as safe as it can be. Test items of furniture to ensure they are stable, check shelves and other fittings to ensure they are secure. Don’t overlook anything, no matter how small. If you can touch it, tug it or push it, you can be sure that at some point in the future, your child will do exactly that.

child safe bedroomYou should also check your home for sharp or rough edges. You may find there are small things around the home you have been meaning to fix for some time but never got around to and instinctively avoid. Now is the time to get them mended. You can also use the time before the baby arrives to put locks on cupboards that contain potentially hazardous substances, or to move the contents to a safer location. If you have stairs in your home, make sure secure handrails are installed so that you have an additional safeguard whenever you are walking up or down while holding your baby.


Check your baby's crib and other items to ensure they are safe. This is especially important if you have put the crib together yourself or if it is a hand-me-down item from a family or friend. You should make sure older items conform to the latest government safety standards.

Consider all possibilities

child safety
Although your baby will be mostly stationary for their first few months, they will soon begin crawling. The more of your home your baby can explore, the more potential hazards they will encounter. Soon after they start crawling they will start trying to stand or be able to pull themselves up to a higher level, in which case you will need to move everything up one level.

Don't wait until your baby is standing or walking to ensure your home is safe at a higher level than would be necessary for a crawling child. As soon as possible, cover up all electrical outlets to make them as secure from probing fingers. Carry out a second round of checks to see what items will be in reach of inquisitive little hands and move them accordingly.

Keep in mind less obvious hazards. For example, if you break a glass or a plate and throw the remains in the trash, is the bin accessible to a small child? Asking yourself these questions over and over again can ensure your home is as safe as you want it to be.


If you are unsure about any potential hazards, as a friend or family member with experience of children for their advice. It may be that you overlook some of the more obvious potential hazards or areas of a home that might be most fascinating to a small child and instead spend too much time worrying an element of your home that is linked to only a small risk of harm.


The problem with pets


Children that grow up in homes where pets are present learn a wide range of useful life skills, such as how to be responsible for the well-being of someone other than themselves and greater empathy and understanding of concepts such as hunger or cold. Studies also show that children who associate with cats and dogs from an early age are significantly less likely to contract conditions such as asthma and go on to have stronger immune systems as they get older.

However, there are some causes for concern. Children under the age of 7 that live in homes with pet dogs or cats can be at risk of contracting an illness called toxocariasis which is caused by them ingesting parasitic worms that live in the intestines of dogs and cats. Eggs from these worms pass out of the bodies of the pets in their feces and contaminate nearby areas. Children who fail to wash their hands regularly and like to put things in their mouths are most at risk.

Not all children develop symptoms as a result of being infected but those that do may suffer from a fever, a poor appetite, a wheezing cough or abdominal pain caused by an enlarged spleen or liver. Toxocariasis can also damage the eyes and in serious cases can lead to reduced vision. To reduce the risk, teach your kids good handwashing discipline and ensure your pets are dewormed, especially younger puppies.

Another potential worry is that if your dog or cat becomes infested with fleas, the parasites may spread throughout your house and bit other members of your family, especially your children. Although it is rare, it is possible for flea bites to cause allergic reactions in certain individuals. Accidentally ingesting fleas can also lead to tapeworm.

To keep both your children and your pets healthy, use a reputable range of treatments such as those produced under the Advecta brand, which acts fast to kill not only adult fleas but also their eggs and larvae, ensuring the infestation is unable to return.


Food safety concerns


Pets are not the only potential source of bugs in the home. Failure to handle food correctly can also leave you prone to infections such as salmonella.

safe food preparation
Always keep raw meat, seafood, and poultry away from other foods, not just in your fridge but also in your shopping bags and cart. As an extra precaution, designate certain cutting boards for certain foods. There are many commercially available makes that use a different color for each food type to make it easy to remember which is which.

Learn the temperatures at which foods need to be cooked in order to be completely safe and use a food thermometer to check before you serve anything. Finally, always observer the two-hour rule - ensure any foods you buy are placed inside the fridge or freezer within two hours of purchase.

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