A-Z of home safety


When it comes to children and safety there is a lot to think about and it can be easy to overlook a potential hazard for your baby or toddler. Read our article and see if you've got everything covered from A-Z.

A is for Australian safety standards - when buying baby and children's products, check they meet relevant Australian safety standards - www.standards.com.au. Prams, car seats, cots and other products all have standards they need to meet.

B is for burns - water is still the best treatment for burns of all kinds. Avoid oil, butter and other old wives tales. Seek medical advice if at all concerned.

C is for car seats - make sure yours meets weight and height specifications for your child and that it is fitted to your car properly.  Watch a video on how to fit your car seat correctly at http://www.atsb.gov.au/pdfs/child_restraints.pdf

D is for doctor - find a good doctor who knows about babies and children (maybe they are a parent themselves) and get to know them so they know you and your child's history and are up to date.

E is for emergencies - no matter how careful you are, these will occur at some stage. Teach your children what to do in case of an emergency and how to call 000. There are lots of handy numbers to write down on a list near the phone including nurse on call, maternity health line, poisons info centre, your doctor and your partner's work number (it's easy to forget numbers when stored in a mobile, and you don't want to have to find a mobile during an emergency)

F is for furniture - climbing on furniture can cause it to topple over and fall on your child. Secure heavy, tall and possibly unstable items to the walls with specially made brackets.

G is for guards - fires and heaters are very necessary in colder weather but are an obvious danger to young ones. Make sure they have an appropriate guard to stop inquisitive hands touching them.

H is for hot water - 50 degrees Celsius is the recommend temperature for children. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater or install a thermostat that limits the delivery temperature at your taps. Spout and tap covers also stop little hands from getting burned plus prevent kids from hitting their heads.Bath Pal Thermometers, in the shape of fun bath toys, easily read bath water temperate and prevent injuries from scolding water.


I is for injuries - unintentional injuries are the leading cause of injury for children fourteen and under. Accidents can happen quickly and even when you are in the room. Make sure you make a safe environment for your children to live and play in.

J is not for 'just safe enough' - there are no degrees of safety.  'Just' out of reach or 'just' in time aren't in the safety dictionary! Your home needs to be safe as can be at all times.

K is for kitchen - there are more things to harm kids in the kitchen than anywhere else in the house. These include poisonous materials, choking hazards, sharp utensils and hot objects. It is best to avoid making the kitchen a play space and, in general, minimise the amount of time your child spends in the kitchen. Be sure to lock all cabinets and drawers with childproof locks to keep your child away from the contents. Stove knob covers mean hot plates stay turned off.

L is for latches and locks - there are so many cupboards and cabinets in a house, not all contain dangerous things, but equally important are the fragile items that need protecting. The kitchen, bathroom and laundry cupboards have potentially hazardous chemicals, but things like the video and stereo cabinet need locking as well.

M is for monitors - you can't be there all the time and a monitor lets you listen in to make sure things are going to plan. Not just for sleeping, monitors are great for play time and even outside.

N is for non slip mats - in the bathroom especially and other wet areas, a non slip mat stops accidents and makes bath time fun. Non-slip mats have other uses as well, such as under a plate or bowl to stop food being spilt.

O is for outdoors - it is equally as important to make your outdoor play areas safe. Things like tools, gardening implements, garden sprays and fertilisers, BBQs and pools all have their own inherent dangers and need to be safely secured.

P is for poisons - keep these out of reach and locked away. Simple things like herbal supplements are poisonous to children as well and shouldn't be left lying around. When you are finished, put them back where they belong out of harm's way. P is also for Pool Safety, please read our article on keeping your pool safe.

Q is for quick - if your little one does have an accident, acting quickly is the best thing you can do. Call an ambulance or drive to the doctor or hospital and get expert medical assistance as soon as you can.

R is for bed rails - moving into a big bed is exciting for children and a milestone for parents. To protect little ones from accidentally rolling out of a big bed and make the transition as safe as possible use a bed rail along the sides of the bed. A useful tip is to choose a rail that can be lowered and raised so children can safely get into and out of bed.

S is for stairs and steps - getting around is an adventure for babies and children. As soon as they are mobile, they can explore this great and wonderful world we live in. Steps and stairs are a real danger but installing gates makes getting around the house safe.

T is for tables - tables and benches of all shapes and sizes have sharp corners and are at the perfect height for a child's head or eyes. Use corner guards to remove this hazard and make getting around more fun for children.

U is for unlocked - locks and latches and doors and gates and guards all excellent ways to prevent injuries but they only work when they are locked. Make sure you lock them after use.

V is for vigilance - nothing protects better than you so be vigilant and keep your eye on your children at all times.

W is for water - children can drown in less than 5cm (2 inches) of water. Never leave young children alone near water.

X is for expired medicines - don't hang on to them just in case.  If you are finished with them, take them back to you local chemist who can dispose of them properly.  The toilet or the sink isn't the best option to dispose of old medicines.

Y is for "why does a child want to play with everything that is unsafe?" Because it's a part of growing up; they simply want to imitate parents by using household products and doing what mum and dad do. Try to illustrate both safe and unsafe practices around the home and teach good safety habits from a young age.

Z isn't for electricity but as nothing starts with Z, let's talk about powerpoints! Children love exploring these as they are on their level and they are intriguing little holes to put things in.  Use plug covers or outlet plugs to make these safe.

This article is brought to you by Safety 1st. If you have any questions about household safety talk to Essential Baby members in the Babies or Toddler forum.