While moving around the house, toddlers pick things up or try to explore and understand something that incites their interest. This may prove fatal. Let’s look at ways to keep toddlers safe at home.
By Arun Sharma
As your baby grows up to become a toddler and begins exploring her surroundings, your worries begin increasing. You can’t help rushing to investigate the reason behind her absolute silence or the sudden crash and the subsequent loud wail. In fact, you start believing that both silence and sound are omens of impending disaster.
But, with a little bit of planning and care, you can decrease the chances of your toddler landing in dangerous and undesirable situations.
In the courtyard/garden: Erect a fence around your courtyard so that you don’t have to worry about your toddler venturing on to the busy road. If you have a barbed wire fence, replace it with something more child-friendly to prevent injuries. Also, keep equipment such as garden scissors, spade and lawn mower locked up in a box or a cabinet. Remove the watering hose as well, as some toddlers are fond of putting it around their neck, and can inadvertently strangulate themselves.
In the drawing room: Cover up the sharp edges of any furniture or put a padding around them to prevent your toddler from getting hurt. Remove objects such as flower vase, bowl of marbles or other small round objects that your child may swallow, and picture frames kept on the centre table. Mount items like TV and music systems such that your child cannot topple them over.
In the bedroom: If your child sleeps in a crib, ensure that you keep it free of stuffed toys, which increases the chances of a child suffocating. Also, if it is a drop-side crib, replace it with a fixed side one. Remove unfixed bedside lamps and timepieces that she can topple over. Keep all make-up items locked up in the cabinet of the dressing table. For, toddlers are prone to trying these on themselves and even tasting them, which can lead to poisoning.
In the kitchen: Toddlers follow their parents around the house. As a result, they also step into the kitchen, which has, among other things, many sharp and pointed objects. Keep detergents and cleaning chemicals locked in the cabinet. Either unplug your microwave oven when not in use or mount it at a higher level. Before you switch off your gas stove, turn off the knob on the cylinder to prevent gas from leaking in case your toddler manages to turn the stove on. If you use a dishwasher, run it immediately after putting in the dishes and empty it after washing is over. Store your cutlery in cabinets that your child can’t open or keep them locked in cabinets. Also, make it a habit to keep your refrigerator door locked, as some toddlers become infatuated with it. In the process of exploring the fridge, they may spill or eat whatever is kept inside and fall sick, or damage the equipment itself.
In the bathroom: Water safety is very important when there is a toddler at home. We often come across newspaper reports of children dying from drowning in a bathtub or bucket. Children have a tendency to bend over into toilets, bathtubs and buckets, which might cause the little ones to fall into them. So, install toilet seat locks to prevent your child from tumbling into it and keep bathtubs and buckets empty. The best possible solution is to keep your bathroom door closed at all times, securing it with a latch.
In the pooja room: Many Indian houses have a room for prayer (pooja room), where we usually keep images or statues of deities, and light lamps and incense sticks. If your house also has one, but without a door, then install a door to prevent your child from venturing in trying to light the lamp on his own, which can cause burns or ignite a fire. He may also try to lick or consume the matchsticks or incense sticks, or drink the oil meant for lighting the lamp. All these can be hazardous. If it isn’t possible to install a door, keep matchboxes, oil and incense sticks in a place where he can’t access them.
Some other general precautions to take include installing safety covers on electrical sockets, wiping water spilled on the floor to prevent the child from slipping and falling, increasing the height of curtain ties to prevent the child’s neck from getting caught in them, keeping medicines out of reach, and keeping all the cabinets locked.
Taking all these simple precautions is neither time-consuming nor does it cost much. However, implementing these safeguards can create a safer environment for our child and also give us the much-needed peace of mind.
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