Your home is where your children should feel the safest. It’s the place where they learn, grow and explore. So creating an environment where they can safely discover and experience the world around them is vital.
Home injuries, however, are a leading reason for emergency department visits for kids, and most of these injuries can be avoided by taking a few extra precautions to create a safe environment. Here we take a look at the top 5 tips to keep your little ones safe.
1. Staying Safe around Cars and Driveways
Moving vehicles and driveways can present real dangers to children – especially those little ones who are too small to be seen in a rear-view mirror or who love to explore the outside world and wander. Above anything, access to the driveway from your home should be made as difficult as possible for young children to get to. Make it a habit to always keep the front door locked and install a security screen that’s lockable too. This way, you can still enjoy the fresh air and sunshine without the risk of your little ones going on an adventure.
For added protection and an essential investment addition to your home, driveway gates can be a lifesaver. Unfortunately accidents do happen and there will always be a time when you’ve forgotten to lock the security door, at least with the right fencing and gates your child doesn’t run the risk of venturing out onto the road.
Automatic driveway gates will act as an effective, first line of defence solution to eliminate potential threats for you and your family. Features like security screens, door locks and electric garage doors are important for the safety of your children, but starting with a reliable driveway gate is vital.
2. Install the Right Fencing
Keeping your children safe doesn’t just stop at preventing accidents, but also takes into consideration prying eyes from passer-by’s and providing a space that is protected. Installing the right fencing around your home is one of the best ways to provide your family with a safe area.
In addition to children’s intense curiosity to wander and explore, stranger abductions is a scarily common issue worldwide. According to the Parents Magazine, these kidnappings tend to occur outdoors – even in the safety of your own back or front yard. Every 40 seconds, a child is abducted or goes missing, that’s a very high statistic no parent wants to experience.
Investing in the right fencing not only provides your children with a confined space that is secure, but it prevents intruders getting into your comfort zone. Slat or panel fencing is an effective way to prevent any outsiders seeing in, making it more difficult for intruders to target your home and child. Keeping both your front and back yard safe from prying eyes is an important safety consideration for you, your family and your property.
3. Staying Safe in the Garden
As a parent, the habit of ensuring chemicals and other poisons found in the home are out of reach is evident – but what about when you go outside? The backyard or garden shed is often filled with poisonous lawn treatments, BBQ lighter fluid or motor oil.
The garden can also sometimes be blooming with poisonous plants, and most times,we don’t even realise it. Plants that can look attractive and bursting with colour can sometimes be the most dangerous, and it only takes a curious child to touch or consume a leaf, berry or flower before we realise its harmful potential.
Poisonous plants that should be removed can include anything from Easter Lilies, to Holly and common oleander. For a comprehensive list to look out for, check out this link. Any plants that could harm your children should be removed, and keep an eye out to make sure they don’t grow back. If you’re ever unsure, taking the suspected plant to your local garden nursery can help with advice.
4. Decks and Patios
To keep the garden area safe, opt for a surface that is a smooth and soft as possible. If there are sharp rocks around, remove and dispose of them and where possible, have grass.
A beautiful decked out area can look fantastic for outdoor living, but be sure to conduct regular checks for safety considerations. As opposed to cement or paved patios, decking and woodchips is a much safer alternative and provides your children with a softer area to play on.
If your deck looks like its seen better day, it’s a good idea to check for any nails that could be poking out either on the wood planks you walk on or around the railings. If the decking area is prone to getting wet, make sure it’s covered with a water-resistant, anti-slip finishing. If the patio or deck is elevated at all, ensure any climbable objects are away from the railings and the steps are secure.
5. Staying Safe with Play Equipment
Play equipment can provide hours of entertainment for children but it also retains a range of potential accidents waiting to happen. Swing-sets should be kept as far away from walkways as possible and teach your children to be mindful of running around when someone is swinging.
Over time, play equipment will deteriorate – especially if it’s in harsh weather conditions. It’s important you keep a close watch on the condition of anything in the yard and make repairs or replace where necessary – particularly the ropes or chains on the swingset. When you choose outdoor play equipment, make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age and development and give thought to any supervision it may need. No doubt your children will want to climb and hang off all the play equipment so check they have good hand-grips and free from any sharp edges or pieces that can come loose.