Children are generally unaware of the dangers posed by different items and situations. They need special protection and extra guidance in all their activities during their initial years.
Children tend to go to kitchen frequently as the mother is mostly there and the father and older children are out of the house. The child needs attention and the mother is the best source, so the continuous attempts to enter kitchen. Kitchen, as we all know, has a lot of hazardous activities going an like boiling, frying, cutting, grinding, crushing, scrubbing etc. and an innocent child can grab the knife, sweets jar, steaming kettle, the fork, cups etc. He may try to open boxes or containers and would like to taste what they contain (even pepper, red hot chilies, spices etc).
The child enjoys emptying the containers an floor, mixing their contents, playing with them and may even put harmful things in his eyes or mouth or rub on his body.
Avoid any cooking while holding a baby in your arms as the child may try to jump on to the stove or may feel giddy with all the pungent smells and the fumes.
Avoid holding a hot drink in your hand, with a child in your hand as the child can in a fraction of a second try to grab the item, which may scald the child and even yourself.
The table cloth should not be left hanging too low as the child may hold and pull it down, bringing all the dishes down and also hurting himself. Do avoid allowing a child move around freely with a glass milk bottle is his hand because should the child fall, the bottle is most likely to break and the broken glass pieces may injure the child’s skin and eyes. Never ever leave a child unsupervised in the kitchen and keep all electrical gadgets away from child’s reach.
Table cloth should not hang too low.
The bathroom is another place where a child should not be left unattended. He may drown in inches of water, get soap in the eyes or pour toilet cleansing fluid over the head or drink it. All these situations can be very harmful. Do not leave children alone even for a few seconds in the bathtub, near a swimming pool, water bucket or a toilet bowl. They can drown in less time than it takes to answer the telephone or a door bell.
In the bedroom, the dressing table is very inviting with all its glass bottles and other fancy things. Anything made of glass, e.g. nail polish bottle, can break and injure a child. Therefore, do not allow small children there alone. A child can also lock himself in a cupboard or trunk which he cannot open easily from inside. This may be fatal as he may suffocate. Hence, keep all cupboards and trunks bolted.
The study room with its pointed pencils, pens, ball-point pens, ink bottles, pins, paper clips, and other such items can also be quite inviting to a child. Yet, all of these items can hurt a curious child. So do not leave these items on the table when you are not using them. Keep them in a drawer.
Do not let the child stay alone in storeroom, workshop or a garage. These places are generally full of a variety of potentially dangerous items, tools and gardening equipment. He can get badly hurt in numerous ways. Furthermore, as the workshop or the garage is generally at one end of the house, a child’s cries for help may not be heard easily inside the house, thus delaying prompt medical attention.
Check that nowhere in the house is an electric socket at a low level. A child can insert his finger or even a paper clip, etc. into a socket and get a shock. Low level sockets should be moved up, plugged or covered tightly when not in use.
During any repair or construction work in the house, the repair man uses a temporary ladder and has his tools, materials, etc. lying all around. Children should not be allowed to climb onto the ladder, sit beneath it, or hold it. They should not handle any tool or material and should be barred from entering the area under repair. The repair man too should be told to keep his tools and materials within sight and properly, and to keep an eye on the children. He should not try to befriend children by giving them hammers, chisels or nails, etc.
Furniture, including coffee-tables, should not have sharp corners. Their corners as well as edges should be rounded since children are likely to fall upon them while running around. For the same reason, do not use a glass-top table if a child can reach it.
There should be no locks or bolts on the inside of the doors to children’s rooms. If a small child bolts or locks himself in, he may not be able to unlock the door and may get hysterical or frightened.
Nowadays most parents use cribs, playpens, strollers, walkers, and high chairs for their young children. Ensure these are made safe for them.
Check that there is no space in a crib around the mattress for a child to insert his head and suffocate. If a child can stand up, see that he will not fall out of the crib. In a crib there should be no toys with strings as strings can strangulate a child.
In a playpen, no side should be down when the child is in it. The sides should be at least 50 cm high. The playpen should be stable and not fold accidentally or collapse on any side.
There should be belts in strollers and high chairs to prevent the child from falling over. The construction of these items should be such that the child’s clothes or skin will not be pinched, sheared, or cut.
Walkers, carriages and strollers should have brakes that cannot be released by the child.
Do not leave infants unattended in prams, strollers and walkers as they may slide down a ramp, or the child, if able to walk, may wander off and get lost.
Avoid installing barbed wire fencing at a low level around the house. Children, running or playing in the lawn are very likely to run into the fence, cut themselves, and run the risk of heavy bleeding and tetanus. A thick natural hedge is preferable.
Children get excited when a car comes up their driveway, and they run towards it out of curiosity. The driver may not always be able to see the child because of the child’s low height, also he least excepts to see a child there, or he may be concentrating on manoeuvring the car in a confined driveway. So, do not let children play near or in the driveway.
Do not let small children handle marbles, airgun bullets, beads, small stones, gravel, knives, forks, scissors, toothpicks, sewing or injection needles, pins, drawing pins, etc. These can cause serious injuries. A round object could also get lodged in the throat, nose, or ear. A child should not put a spoon handle, pencil, or even a plastic straw used to sip cold drinks in his mouth and run around the house. If he hits a wall or falls down, the item can damage the back of the palate. There is no easy cure for this and the recovery is slow and rather painful.
Small children should not handle an umbrella, either open or closed. Umbrellas have been known to cause injuries to the eye. Therefore, always put them on an upper shelf, or hang them high, out of the reach of young children.
Whenever children see a movie of Superman, Spiderman, WWF, or other stunt stars, take time off to explain to them that these are not real events, and are tricks of film-making and they should never attempt any of those weird things. Tell them also that even the heroes of those very movies do not attempt these acts in real life. Any attempt to emulate film stunts will lead to great harm, and could even be fatal. We read about such horrible attempts in newspapers nowadays regularly.