Child safety: our top five tips on removing hazards around the home

By Delia Rickard, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

When it comes to improving child safety, follow the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s top five tips for removing hidden hazards around the home.

1. Secure loose blind cords out of reach by using cleats or tensioning devices so a child can’t reach them from the floor or by climbing on furniture. Cords can quickly wrap around a child’s throat and strangle them, so make sure cots are well away from windows that have blind or curtain cords.

2. Keep coin-sized button batteries and devices out of reach. Button batteries power everyday electronic devices such as remote controls and bathroom scales. If swallowed, button batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat and burn through the oesophagus in as little as two hours. Keep devices out of reach and regularly check that the battery compartment is secure. Dispose of used button batteries immediately. Flat batteries can still be dangerous.

3. Check for hidden dangers, not all child safety issues are obvious. Being natural explorers, children under three years of age are especially vulnerable to choking and ingestion hazards. While there is no substitute for supervision, you can take steps to make your home safer by make sure things like coins, fridge magnets, and hair ties are out of reach. Remember, small toys belonging to older siblings can also be dangerous for infants.

4. Before your baby gets mobile, conduct a safety sweep of your house to remove choking hazards. If there is any doubt, the ACCC’s Choke Check tool, which you can print and make at home, can help determine which objects might be a choking hazard to toddlers. Once made, anything that can fit totally inside the top end of the cylinder is a potential choking hazard to a young child – and something to keep out of their reach. For your free Choke Check tool visit here

5. Keep up to date on hazards. When it comes to child safety around the home, prevention is always better than cure. To help parents we have a free iPhone and iPad app in the iTunes Store called Keeping baby safe – a guide to infant and nursery products. This app provides some easy steps you can take to ensure your baby is safe in your home. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have a range of online content for parents to help keep their home safe for little ones. 

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Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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