Staying safe at home

The home is the most common place for children to be injured, and with kids currently spending more time at home than usual, many parents may be considering how to make their child’s environment as safe as possible.

The most common causes of injury to young children in the home are falls, poisoning and burns. Jammed fingers, dog bites and near drowning are also risks for young children around the home.

Supervision is the most significant safety precaution to preventing injury and accidents. However, with many parents now working from home or looking after multiple children at once, it is understandable that they cannot watch their children for every second of the day.

In addition to supervision, parents can minimise potential hazards in the home by following the below checklist:

  1. Provide a safe play space for your child, where you can safely leave them alone while you have to attend to something else (e.g. go to the bathroom or check on something cooking)
  2. Ensure dangerous items such as medicines, poisons, matches or lighters are locked away. For further information, view our Safety: Poisoning prevention fact sheet
  3. Install barriers to stop access to hazardous areas
  4. Use safety products, such as electrical outlet plugs, cabinet and drawer locks, window stops, window guards and furniture straps and brackets to prevent furniture tip-overs. For further information, view our Safety: Furniture tip-over prevention fact sheet
  5. By law, all homes in Victoria must have smoke alarms installed
  6. Rearrange objects and furniture to improve traffic paths and reduce tripping hazards. For further information, view our Safety: Preventing falls fact sheet

“We’re currently seeing a lot of cases of household injuries presented at the RCH, most of which are preventable” says Director of Trauma, Dr Warwick Teague.

“Basic safety precautions such as checking that your child is wearing their helmet when riding a bike, or ensuring hot drinks are kept out of a child’s reach, are extremely important in preventing injuries at home.”

“Burns injuries in particular are very common. Families should be aware that if a child does scald or burn themselves, the best way to treat the injury is to run the area under cool water for 20 minutes. Ice or other agents have no role to play, and can actually make the injury worse.”

To learn more about burns safety, you can view our Burns prevention and first aid fact sheet here.

For information on how to minimise risk in specific areas of the home, such as the kitchen, bathroom or living room, please view our Safety: Around the home fact sheet here. 

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