Home safety for children
- Children should be supervised at all times.
- Keep floors free of toys and obstructions that can be tripped over.
- Always use a securely fitted safety harness in a pram, pushchair or highchair.
- Never leave babies unattended on raised surfaces.
- Do not place baby bouncers on raised surfaces.
- The use of baby-walkers and table-mounted high chairs is not recommended.
- Use sharp edge covers.
- Fit safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Stairs should be carefully maintained, damaged or worn carpets should be replaced or removed.
- Stairs should always be well lit.
- Fit child resistant window locks but make sure you can get out easily in an emergency.
- Do not put anything under the window that can be climbed on.
- Change nappies on the floor.
- Never hold a hot drink and a child at the same time.
- Always put hot drinks out of reach.
- Encourage the use of a coiled flex or a cordless kettle.
- Keep small children out of the kitchen.
- Run the hot water system at 46°C or fit a thermostatic mixing valve to taps.
- Always use rear hotplates and turn the panhandles away from the front of the cooker.
- When running a bath turn the cold water on first and always test the water
temperature with your elbow before letting a child get into the bath or shower.
- Never leave children or babies in the bath unsupervised, even for a moment.
- Use a fireguard that is secured to the wall for all fires; even those with glass doors.
- Keep all matches and lighters out of sight and reach.
- Be aware that children may climb into an unattended running bath.
- Although water should be stored above 60'C to avoid the risk of Legionella disease, you should use a thermostatic mixing valve to ensure that water at the point of delivery is no hotter than 46'C to prevent scalds.
Most poisoning accidents involve medicines, household products and cosmetics, so:
- Keep medicines and chemicals out of sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard.
- Wherever possible, buy products in child resistant containers.
- Always store chemicals in their original containers.
- Dispose of unwanted medicines and chemicals safely.
- Avoid buying plants with poisonous leaves or berries.
- Choose toys appropriate to the age of the child and in good condition.
- Ensure that small objects such as marbles, peanuts and small toys are kept out of reach of children under three years old.
- Ensure that your child is not running around or playing whilst eating, and that mealtimes are supervised.
- Certain foods present themselves time and again in choking incidents, and are best avoided altogether. Cutting food into small lengths rather than round pieces, can help minimise risk, cut grapes and cherries into quarters.
- Encourage older children to keep their toys away from their younger playmates.
- Pull cords on curtains and blinds should be kept short and out of reach.
- Keep animals, especially cats, out of the bedroom and use a net on a pram.
A young child can drown in just a few centimetres of water, so:
- Never leave a young child unattended in the bath, even turning away for a few seconds can lead to problems.
- Don’t rely on an older sibling who is also in the bath being able to supervise or support a younger child.
- Ensure that you have everything you need close at hand before you put your child in the bath.
- Do not be tempted by the telephone, doorbell or other distractions to leave your child.
- Don’t use bath seats as they create a false sense of security.
Related external links
See what you can do to improve the safety of your home by taking the Safehome test at Safehome (English only)