Sadly, most accidents occur at home. Follow this room-by-room guide and keep your baby safe at home.
WORDS JOANNA ONG
Dr Vidya Ramasamy, specialist in paediatric medicine and consultant from Raffles Children Centre gives some guidelines on how to childproof your home.
Chemicals, plastic bags, foils and sharp items should be kept locked in high cabinets. Move all electrical appliances out of your child's reach and unplug them when not in use. Never leave glassware, knives, hot food and beverages unattended on counters or tables. Do not use placemats or tablecloths because a child can pull them and get injured in the process. If you have a gas stove, remove the dials when you're not cooking. Close your dishwasher when not in use and keep a fire extinguisher at home for emergency purposes.
Never leave a baby unattended in the bathtub. Run cold water in the bathtub first followed by hot water to prevent scalds. Do not store pails of water. To prevent accidental drownings, remember to keep the toilet lid down and install a toilet lock to prevent your baby from lifting the lid. All sharp items, electrical appliances, chemicals should be kept out of reach. Place a non-slip rubber mat on the floor next to bathtubs to prevent falls.
Keep cosmetic items and chemicals out of reach of children. Opt for sturdy and stable built in cabinets rather movable ones. Do not let children have access to electrical devices and switches. Lock all windows if it is low level. Do not use soft, fluffy bedding such as pillows, comforters under sleeping babies. Install guardrails along the bed to minimise injury due to falling off the bed.
Secure doors and windows. Window blinds pose a particular hazard because a baby's neck could become trapped in the cords that raise the blinds. Do not let children have access to electrical devices and switches and prevent injuries by using corner guards on furniture with edges.
Choking hazards. Avoid food and toys which pose a choking hazard for young children.
Toy safety. Check all toys for buttons, batteries, yarn, ribbons, eyes, beads, and plastic parts that could easily be chewed or snapped off. Do not give children balloons to prevent them from choking. Do not choose toys with long strings or cords and be aware of the chemicals found in toys.
Preventing falls. Never leave your baby alone on beds or sofas, in bouncy chairs or high chairs, or in any other places he could fall from. Use window guards, window stops and safety netting on windows, decks, and landings. Install safety gates at the bottom and top of your stairs.
In the Event of an Accident…
Dr Vidya advises that you should move your child away from the danger. If your child is unconscious, place him on his side to allow the airway to open and prevent choking from secretions.
Telephone Numbers to Take Note:
995 Emergency Ambulance
Save emergency numbers into your home phones and cell phones. Keep a list of these numbers close to each phone in your home and give the list to all caregivers.
1777 Non-emergency Ambulance
Keep a first-aid kit and ensure family members and caregivers know where to find them in your home and how to respond in an emergency.
Dr Kao Pao Tang, head and senior consultant, Children's Emergency from National University Hospital adds that it is best for parents to learn basic first aid. When in doubt, be sure to consult a doctor.
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