Is the following situation familiar to you? Dad is working from home while also watching the children. Both boys are quite bored as they have been in the house most of the morning. Dad’s computer pings with another email and he leaves the boys in the kitchen alone to check it out. The older boy dares his little brother to taste one of those liquitab capsules that he found under the sink. Dad’s work call is now interrupted by a scream…
Of course, most of us are always worrying about our children, but in this very fast world we have to be super attentive and vigilant to keep them protected. Once our brain switches off from parent mode and transfers into work mode, sometimes in conflict with the boss, it becomes even more important to plan to avoid scenarios where our children can face danger.
From fertiliser to antifreeze, medicines to makeup, potentially dangerous items show up throughout our homes, easily making their way into unknowing children’s mouths and eyes. The following are some important tips designed to help prevent kids from poisoning themselves:
• Don’t rely on “child-resistant” packaging — child-resistant does not mean childproof.
• Never tell a child that medicine tastes like candy.
• Never put cleaning products in old soda bottles or containers that were once used for food.
• Never put roach powders or rat poison on the floors of your home if you have small children who do not understand the dangers.
• It is best not to leave any cleaning supplies, including dishwasher detergent and dishwashing liquids, under the sink in an unlocked cabinet.
• Alcohol should be in a locked cabinet far from a child’s reach.
• Never leave cosmetics and toiletries within easy reach of children. Be especially cautious with perfume, hair dye, hairspray, nail and shoe polish, and nail polish remover.
• Hot drinks are the main cause of scalding burns for those under five. Your hot drink can scald a baby for up to 15 minutes after it’s been made. Don’t rely on young children’s understanding not to touch. This is very important if holding a grabby infant as you sip your morning coffee or tea.
• Keep mouthwash out of the reach of kids, as many brands contain alcohol.
• Hair curlers and straighteners can get as hot as an iron and can still cause burns a full 15 minutes after being switched off. When finished, put them on a high shelf to cool.
Imagine this scenario:
You are trying to give your toddler a “quick” bath before dinner. She’s screaming at the top of her lungs because you have the gall to wash her hair. Downstairs, your 6-year-old is shouting that he can’t find the TV remote. The oven timer has been chirping at you for five minutes now and you think you are starting to smell it burning. Your phone pings an incoming SMS and on autopilot you run to your bedroom to grab it, thinking your toddler will be fine. In a split second the child attempts to grab a nearby bath toy and slips face first into the water. It does not take long for a quick moment of inattentiveness to turn to something more dangerous.
Stay with your baby or young child when they’re in the bath and pull the plug as soon as you’re finished. Bath seats can be a great help but they’re not safety aids – don’t leave your baby alone in one, even for a moment. It is recommended that no child under the age of four be left alone around water, no matter how strong or safe you think they may be.
In the garden, empty the paddling pool after use. If you have a pond, turn it into a sandpit, fence it in or cover it while your children are small. Be alert to drowning risks when you visit friends and family.
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