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Twelve tips to Home Safety

07.05.2003 (11.09.2003)

You can plan home safety

You can never be entirely safe

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SET PARAMETERS - Condition your children and animals into accepting certain actions or behaviour as normal, such as staying out of the kitchen while you are cooking dinner for example. Plan escape routes for fire, and teach the children what to do in the event of a fire.

FENCE OFF - the areas you KNOW are dangerous. I used to have an extended stair gate guard, which I used not only for the stairs, but to keep the children and dogs out of the kitchen while I was cooking which prevented them access, whilst I had full visual of them at the same time. We also used it on our patio doors too.

CHECK APPLIANCES - Boilers and fires need servicing regularly, for electrics ensure electric blankets are examined regularly, and for water, keep sinks sealed and free from drip buckets containing dirty water etc.

IDENTIFY medicines and toxic chemicals, and take appropriate action to store them safely, to prevent accidental spillage, inhalation or ingestion. Somethings are difficult, i.e. if you are painting, cut an onion and deposit it in the four corners of the room. It absorbs the smell and toxic fumes. But put the paint and white spirit away out of reach at the end of each session !!

KEEP TOOLS LOCKED - obvious huh ? no it isn't, and dangerous if all your tools are in an unlocked shed, with such as a lawnmower. To your toddler, wandering into "Daddy's house" it is great, and all because there is no door lock. View your hazards through the eyes of your child.

REDUCE CLUTTER - this is especially important with the advent of computers and trailing wires, to prevent you from tripping over with a young child, but is also applicable to, for example, hazardous nick nacks (glass ashtrays ?) on shelves or window ledges etc. Another classic, poorly fitted carpets, caused my daughter to be scarred for life after tripping on a carpet, when her arm fell down the back of a radiator.

PRESENT BARRIERS to known hazards, such as fires, by installing a fire guard, and dont be tempted to leave clothes drying overnight. You can always buy new clothes, you cannot buy a new child. Firealarms are inexpensive now and no excuse can be made for not having one. Cleanliness acts as a barrier to germs, use it wisely. Dont spend hours polishing the table because the Mother-In-Law is coming, when your children are playing on a floor that hasn't been cleansed properly for weeks.

SPEED - kills, so dont go racing around the house trying to do 1001 things at once, otherwise you will find yourself crashing through a door, and a toddler flying the other side, or spillage etc.

GOOD MANNERS ? - At this point you need to ask yourself if you were on the phone and you saw your child in a dangerous situation, would you drop everything to prevent an accident ? Yes, of course you would, so why oh why do we drop everything (including children) to answer the door, telephone, neighbour calling etc ? The answer is you dont !! Your children dont have a choice in safety, they havent learnt it yet, that is your responsibility.

ASSUME your children will have friends, who may be slightly bigger, smaller than yours when conducting your safety review. Their safety has been entrusted to your responsibility as well. Think of their likely range when redeveloping new shelf heights at "safe levels" etc.

AND IF THE WORSE HAPPENS ? Don't panic, deal with each emergency no matter how big or small with aplomb and self assurance, and your child wont panic either. The experience for both of you will be far less harrowing.

John Lewis Ltd has a home safety product range at
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Comments about this review »

anwar 18.09.2003 22:36

I agree with you about the phone and door bell-I refuse to answer either unless my toddler is safe!

Teengirl 12.09.2003 09:20

Some good advice there

Cazz 02.08.2003 00:44

Wise and sensible op. Thanks for r/r/c'ing one of my oldies! Cazz xx

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This review of Health & Safety General has been rated:

"very helpful" by (100%):

  1. Finno
  2. flabbercabbage
  3. redwing2010

and 61 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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