Safety around the house

A safe home is a happy one

Sadly, injuries are the main cause of death for young children. What's dangerous depends on a child's age and abilities. Know your child and look at your home from his or her point of view to identify hazards. And remember that injuries usually happen when:

  • You're not paying attention. Young children, especially those under three years, need to be watched all the time.
  • Children who acquire a new skill or ability and are eager to test it out. They're always learning and growing (e.g., rolling over, climbing, crawling). If they're not ready, these new exploration skills can lead to injuries.
  • Children are somewhere new and unfamiliar.
  • Children are hungry or tired: They're less likely to pay attention to what they're doing before they eat and before bedtime.

Prevent injuries

Look at your home from your child's perspective. Get down on the floor and look up. Are there drawers that small children could open? Things within reach they could choke on? Things they could pull down on top of themselves?

Think ahead to what your child will be learning next. For instance, put childproof locks on cupboards and drawers before children are old enough to open them. Put gates at the top and bottom of the stairs before children are able to crawl.

Safety at play

Children fall often while playing on backyard playsets. Is the surface in your play area safe? Set up backyard swings and other playground equipment on shock-absorbing surfacing, like sand, pea gravel, and shredded wood products. These materials are shock-absorbing when installed at a sufficient depth. Grass is too hard for little heads.

Tips for a safe play area:

  • Teach your child how to play safely and only on equipment that's right for his or her age and ability. For example, if a child can't reach the first step, it's not safe.
  • Teach your child to always go feet first down a slide and to climb off equipment safely.
  • Check equipment often and repair worn, loose or broken parts.
  • Supervise and get involved in your child's play.

Did you know...

  • Slide safety
    Kids between the ages of two and four suffer 40% of all injuries on slides in parks and playgrounds. One in 10 have to be admitted to hospital.
  • Mouth injuries
    If your child has an adult tooth knocked out during play, clean the tooth off and place it back in its socket. If there's a risk of swallowing the tooth or you're not able to clean the tooth, place it in milk. Take both the child and tooth to a dentist right away.

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