How to make your home child-friendly

no running in the house

How to make your home child-friendly

Last year, during Diwali, a 10-month- old baby girl was in news in Bengaluru for swallowing an LED bulb with metal electrodes. She was rushed to Columbia Asia Referral Hospital, Yeshwanthpur, after having trouble breathing and was immediately scheduled for a surgery. The baby was lucky to have gotten timely medical intervention and is safe now.

 However not everyone can be this lucky every time. Thus it is extremely important for parents to take conscious measures to make their home livable and safe for their little ones, especially infants and children under two years.

Here are a few guidelines for you to create a kid-friendly home.Allergens & irritants
Avoid smoking inside the house. Try to keep the humidity levels at a minimum by using exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Remove any water-damaged carpet and furniture promptly. Allow a good flow of sunlight and air inside your home and open doors and windows when cleaning or painting in the house so that the pollutants do not remain in the air your baby breathes.

Strangulation & suffocation

Even the smallest of things like a phone cord could be harmful for your kid. Make sure you keep the stuffed toys or big cushions away from your child’s cot or pram. Wrap the blind cords properly and make sure they are at least 1 metre above the floor. Also, tie knots in plastic bags and keep them away from your child’s reach.

Medicines & chemicals

Keep cleaning liquids, medication, syrups, tablets and caustic cosmetic items like nail polish remover, perfume, bath oil, mouthwash, aftershave, and vitamins stashed away in a cupboard that your child cannot reach.

 According to studies, more than 1 million kids are poisoned by ingesting common household items every year.

Windows

Children jumbling out of the window and landing straight at the emergency ward of a hospital is not uncommon. This makes it crucial to install window guards or stops. People who have huge windows should install safety glass or mosquito nets on the sill.
Falls

Falling from height is the leading cause of injury in kids. Be it the table, stairs, ladder, high chairs or beds, falling kids most commonly hurt their heads upon impact.
The way out is to install wall-mounted baby gates at both the top and bottom of stairs, and pad the sharp corners and edges of tables to protect your child from banging their head on them. Also, avoid leaving your little one on the bed or chair unattended. The flor is a much safer place for them to play.
Collisions

After falls, collisions are the most common cause of injury among kids contributing to almost 17 % of all injuries. Simple household rules like ‘no running’ can go a long way in reducing the risk of collisions.

Always have somebody to supervise your kids when they are playing at home or outside in the garden or park.

Electrical safety

Get a licensed electrician to install safety switches, which cut power off quickly to avoid electrocution and repair any open switches. Use power point covers for the switchboards so that kids don’t touch it. Replace electrical appliances and cords if they’re worn out.

Burns & scalds

Do not allow your kid anywhere close to stoves, ovens, microwaves, heaters, hot irons etc. Hot baths and hot drinks can be one of the major reasons for scalding in kids. Hence always check the temperature of the bath water or drinks before giving it to the kids.

Fire

Children who have access to matches or lighters can lead to many unwanted accidents. Install smoke detectors at every room in the house.

Check them every week to make sure they are working, and change the batteries annually. Keep matches and lighters out of your child’s reach. Put out and throw away cigarettes properly. Have an escape route planned, and practise it, in case of fire.

(The author is consultant paediatrician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal)

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