Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Just a moment

When Baby M started crawling I knew I had to "baby proof" the house. I removed all small items from low shelves, put a baby gate on the kitchen door and at the top of the stairs (we have a door at the bottom) and put in socket protectors.

Soon after learning to crawl came "pulling up" on the furniture so I moved all small items up a few more shelves. About the same time Baby M perfected her pincer grip meaning she could pick up any tiny item on the floor. This means hoovering the lounge at least once a day or every speck off fluff, small stone or unidentifiable crumb disappears into her mouth (and once, very nearly, a ladybird).

A couple of months later we discovered Baby M is a climber. If you want the tv remote in our house you can usually find it safely hidden behind a cushion. We are watching closely to see if we need to attach furniture to the walls.

The latest challenge is Baby M's ability to reach items placed too close to the edge of the dining room table. She might not be able to see what is there, but that doesn't prevent her pulling things off. Her attempts at walking also mean I need to ensure no paper or clothing is left on our laminate flooring to prevent her slipping.
As babies get more mobile, but lack the understanding to know what is dangerous it is the responsibility of parents and carers to make sure children stay safe. Just looking away for a split second can result in a horrible accident if not careful. Recently I have been reminded to be careful about carrier bags (obvious suffocation risk), cotton bags (strangulation risk) and the cat water bowl (risk of drowning). In the kitchen I have to remember to check saucepan handles aren't reachable, I make sure knives are well back from the edge of surfaces and that the child proof latch is on the under sink cupboard (the one with all the cleaning products in).

I don't think you can watch your children constantly and I would rather teach my daughter what is and isn't safe than bubble wrap her entire world, but I've carried out a mental risk assessment on our house. She has a 'safe' cupboard she can play with while i'm cooking full of plastic, metal and wooden cooking items. I will also admit she has eaten more cat biscuits and paper than is recommended, but anything that could instantly harm her has been removed or secured.

We've had a few "near misses" and I keep thinking of what could have happened. I've been lucky and I've learnt my lesson, but not everyone has had a second chance. A huge number of accidents happen in the home and every year thousands of children are rushed to hospital. More accidents happen in the home than anywhere else (reference) so we must be able to reduce the number of children harmed or even killed.

Tomorrow (6th September) is the first national Safety Day launched by Lindam. I think it's a great reminder to us all to think again about how safe our homes really are. A little bit of time and a little bit more care and we can reduce the number of accidents that happen.

For more information visit www.lindam.com or go to Lindam UK's facebook page where they will be sharing stories and tips to help reduce childhood accidents in the home.

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