How child-friendly is your home? Top tips for keeping your youngsters safe

Keep your children safe at home

Keep your children safe at home - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bringing your new infant home for the first time is a wonderful experience, but will your home be as welcoming?

Flick through any child-care book and you soon realise what a dangerous world it is for babies and toddlers. Constant vigilance is only one of the demands asked of parents, but a little forethought in making your home child-friendly goes a long way. Here is a useful checklist.

• To protect your child from burns and scalds fit fire and cooker guards securely and restrict access to hot towel rails and radiators.

• Install a smoke alarm on every storey of your house and have annual gas safety tests carried out.

• Ensure you have a carbon monoxide detector fitted near any solid fuel fire grate, wood burner or stove such as an Aga.

• Non-fire-retardant furniture should be disposed of if possible and electrical goods checked for faults.

• Don’t overload electrical sockets but do use socket covers and keep electrical equipment out of reach. Trailing flexes should be avoided.

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• Keeping harm out of the way will entail safety locks on cupboards, washing machines and fridges. Windows, outer doors and garden gates will need them too.

• Any sort of stairs can present problems but safety gates, top and bottom, are a useful aid.

• Any worn or loose stair carpeting will need attention. You might even consider boarding up the gaps on open-tread staircases.

• Even large fixtures may topple over if unstable. Always check that bookcases, shelving and free-standing furniture are secure, and store toys low down so baby won’t be tempted to climb up to them.

• Keep breakables out of reach.

• Glass interior doors, patio doors and low-level windows are obvious hazards. You can replace the glass with toughened, shatter-proof glazing or apply safety film to each pane.

• Some common house and garden plants are poisonous. Those that are not easily removed from the garden can be fenced off.

• Safeguard any garden water feature and cover up drains and water butts. Check too for gaps in the fence or hedge. And solidly fix in place garden ornaments.

• Broken glass in greenhouses and shed need to be dealt with promptly.

• Garden play equipment, usually out in all weather, will need to be looked over regularly for signs of wear.

• It is a good idea to use rubber matting under swings and climbing frames.

• All toxic substances, whether for domestic or garden use, must be locked away and high levels of hygiene maintained.