By Ali Lloyd
Children have the highest risk of getting injured from an accident at home. Over 3.4 million children are hurt as a result of a household accident each year, while 2,300 children die from accidental injuries. Home safety is always a serious concern for parents. Teaching your children about home safety should start from a young age.
While you don’t want to frighten them, it’s important that they understand potential dangers at home and in the local neighborhood and how to deal with any situations that may arise.
Teach them what to do in an emergency
It’s good to teach your child how to dial 911, but it’s also important that you explain in what circumstances they can use this number. For example, if there’s a fire, someone is hurt or a person might be having a heart attack. Practice with them as you go over different situations that may arise. Create a list of emergency contact numbers that you keep by the phone that your child can access if needed.
Educate your children on fire safety
Your children should know the dangers of playing with electrical appliances, lighters, and matches. While these should always be kept out of reach if possible, they should understand that they must tell an adult if they find any unattended.
Think about the surfaces that your child can access. As they get older, they’ll be able to start reaching onto stovetops, hot water taps and electrical points. They need to understand that they should stay away from these areas.
It’s also crucial to explain to them what to do in the event of a fire at home. Show them how they would have to get out if there was a fire by practicing exit routes and where is a safe place for the family to meet away from the house. It’s also a good idea to teach them how to ‘stop, drop, cover and roll’ if there is a fire. Having them prepared is better and more effective than them being scared.
Explain about risks of climbing on furniture
Children don’t often consider furniture as being something in the home that could hurt them. However, every two weeks a child is killed by a falling piece of furniture. In 2016 alone there were 2,800 reported incidents of injuries to children caused by furniture that had tipped over. Heavy items which have not been mounted to a wall can cause serious injury to a child if climbed on or pulled over, such as bookshelves, cabinets, or a TV.
While it’s a good idea to ensure your furniture is fixed and as sturdy as possible, you should make sure your children understand that they must never climb on any furniture in the house. Be particularly mindful when it comes to large, top-heavy pieces of furniture like entertainment centers, overloaded bookshelves, and tall dressers.
Once you have explained the home safety rules to your children, rehearse them often so they eventually become second nature for your kids. You can even turn it into a game to help young children understand. Encouraging your children to practice what to do in an emergency will help them to be confident in doing so if they ever need to for real.
Ali Lloyd is a freelance writer.