The family home is the place where young children are most likely to be injured. However there are a number of things that you can do around the home to reduce the risk of injury to small children. Some of these things can be included in the original design, while others can be retrofitted into existing homes.
Some useful things to think about at the design stage are:
· Slip-proof tiles in wet areas
· Strengthened glass in exposed doors
· Child-resistant locks
· Temperature controlled hot water
· Minimum use of steps or stairs; and
· Rounded bench tops and corners.
Many of these child-safety measures are also useful for family members who may be frail and elderly.
These elements can usually be implemented in existing homes, however there are other safeguards that you need to take in addition to design issues. Safety aware behaviours also need to be put into practice. For example ensuring the back elements of the stove are used first to help prevent scalds or barriers are used around heaters to prevent burns to young children.
Many precautions that should be taken against these potential dangers are simply common sense. For example it is unwise to leave candles, incense burners, matches or naked flames unattended when there are young children around. Cooking areas should also be “off-limits” to young ones.
Further information can be obtained from Kidsafe WA on this matter or to view an online safety demonstration house.
In addition, the Fire Protection Association Australia has produced a free brochure “Fire Safety at Home – Be Prepared”. Telephone 9244 9389 to obtain your copy.