Cuts, scrapes, burns and accidental poisoning are common household accidents requiring a call to ER24 or a trip to the emergency centre. But you can help reduce the risk by being sensible, cautious, and alert.
Slipping on wet surfaces, stumbling over toys, sliding down a staircase, tripping over cables… household surfaces can become dangerous territory for falls. Ensure staircases have sturdy handrails and balustrades and keep passageways, staircases, and landings clear of toys or household clutter. Where possible, tape down floor-level cords and wires and use non-slip mats in the bathroom, kitchen and other tiled areas. Consider installing handrails in the bath or shower, particularly if you have older relatives living with you. Clean up any spills immediately.
Babies and small children explore their world by putting things in their mouths. Choking is usually caused by food, toys, and other small objects that can easily lodge in a child’s small airway. Scour the floor regularly for small toys and other items that could be easily reached by little hands. If your child is under four years, cut up their hard foods into small, manageable chunks. Even if your child is no longer an infant, a baby monitor can help alert you to sounds of danger, such as choking, if they’re playing in a different room.
Every home contains dangerous tools you use daily or often, such as kitchen knives, scissors, blenders, power tools and screwdrivers. In fact, anything with sharp edges can pose a safety risk to you and your child. Make a point of safely storing all sharp kitchen and garden tools; if you have a dishwasher, avoid cuts by pointing knives and forks downward in the utensil basket. Place the basket away from the front of the dishwasher as well, in case little hands start investigating. Always unplug and safely store bladed appliances such as blenders.
Always store medicines, swimming pool chemicals and household cleaning products in cupboards and cabinets where a child cannot reach them. Don’t assume your child can't open a container – child-resistant packaging doesn’t mean childproof packaging. Keep cleaning products in their original bottles with the labels. If you decant them into plastic bottles or food containers, your child might be tempted to sample them. When cleaning or using household chemicals, keep a close watch on bottles or buckets if children are around. When it comes to insect or rodent repellents, use a reputable company that will lay bait safely.
In an emergency, call for an ambulance on 084 124