Before you bring a newborn from the hospital into your home, it is important that you take measures to protect your child from common household dangers.
After that, you can review your safety measures every 6 months to make sure your child has not outgrown or outsmarted any of them. Remember that no safety device outweighs the importance of adult supervision; however they can be a very helpful addition. We have included a summary of some of the most useful child proofing devices out there to make the task easier for you.
Smoke alarms are one of the most essential safety devices which you should install in your home, to protect yourself as well as your family. There are a variety of alarms available; combined smoke and heat detectors are particularly useful to alert you to a fire in its early stages. Check alarms at least once a month to make sure they are working, particularly if they are battery operated, in which case you may want to consider investing in long life batteries.
Carbon Monoxide(CO) Detector
Similar to smoke alarms, Carbon Monoxide Detectors are imperative for all of your family. They can help prevent CO poisoning by detecting heightened levels of toxic CO within your home. You should install CO detectors near sleeping areas within your home, as CO poisoning most often occurs while sleeping.
Safety Latches and Locks
Use these for cabinets and drawers in your kitchens, bathrooms and other areas where they may be
hazardous substances or dangerous items. Safety latches and locks on cabinets, drawers and your fitted wardrobe are a great way to prevent children from gaining access to medicines, household cleaners as well as knives and other sharp objects. Latches and locks can also be fitted onto sliding door wardrobes, as these can be particularly easy for little ones to open. Many safety latches and locks are easy to install and use, however, make sure you buy a brand that is sturdy enough to withstand pulling from children. While safety latches aren't a guarantee of protection, they can make it far more difficult for children to reach dangerous items.
Use safety gates to help prevent children from falling down stairs, or to keep them away from dangerous areas such as utility rooms, gyms or pools. Buy a safety gate that cannot be dislodged easily, but that adults can open and close without too much difficulty.
Door Locks and Door Handle Covers
These will also help prevent children from entering rooms where there are potential hazards. The covers need to be sturdy enough not to break, but allow a door to be opened quickly by an adult in case of an emergency.
Such devices are used for faucets and shower heads, regulating water temperature to prevent burns and scalds and are used in addition to setting your boiler or water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You may need to hire a plumber to install these but they are long lasting and a worthwhile investment.
Window Guards and Safety Netting
These precautions are used to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decking and landings and are particularly essential in tall buildings or balconies. Check these devices frequently to make sure that they are secure and correctly installed and maintained. If you choose to install window guards, be sure that at least one window in each room can be easily used as a fire escape.
Corner and Edge Bumpers
Bumpers help to prevent injuries in the case of falls and run-ins against sharp edges, furniture or fireplaces. These are important when children begin walking and exploring the home, to help reduce the risk of serious head injury.
Whatever device you buy it is important to remember that they should always be sturdy enough to prevent injury but easy enough for an adult to use. Follow instructions carefully and remember that no device is ever 100 per cent childproof, so keep an eye on children at all times.
For further advice then here is a very useful article by the ACLS training centre www.acls.net