Almost 40,000 children and youth are seen in hospital emergency departments every year due to home injuries. Another 500 die from home injuries each year. The majority of the injuries occur in children under the age of five, who spend the greatest amount of time in the home.The main cause of home injuries is falls and most falls can be prevented. Children are curious and cannot easily recognize and avoid hazards. Therefore, they need extra protection and care. By supervising your children carefully and making their surroundings safe, you can prevent injuries.
There may be hazards inside your home that you are not aware of. The following are tips to help keep your child safe from falls in your home.
- Move furniture away from windows and balcony rails. This helps stop children from climbing out.
- A window screen will not stop your child from falling. Put window guards on all windows on the second floor and above or fasten the windows so that they cannot open more than 10 centimetres (4 inches).
- Keep one hand on your baby or toddler at all times during diaper changes.
- This will keep him or her from rolling off the change table or bed.
- Make sure safety gates are properly installed to keep babies and toddlers from falling down stairs. Use gates at the top and bottom of stairs. A gate at the bottom will keep your child from climbing the stairs.
- Do not use a pressure gate at the top of stairs. A pressure gate stays in place using pressure. It could fall over when your child leans on it. Instead, use a gate that needs to be anchored to the wall or banister.
- Keep stairs and landings at the top of stairs clear of toys or anything else that your child might trip over.
- Use the safety strap in the high chair to keep your child from falling out. Do not let your baby stand up in a high chair or climb up the sides of the chair.
- Use the safety strap to keep your child sitting down in a shopping cart as well.
- Baby walkers with wheels are dangerous! Children have rolled down stairs and suffered serious head injuries in baby walkers. Baby walkers are no longer being made in Canada. However, many old walkers are still being used. Use an activity centre without wheels instead and throw out a walker if you do have one.
- Put up the sides of the crib and playpen. Keep large toys and stuffed animals out of the crib or playpen. A child can use them to climb over the side.
- Wipe up spills quickly to prevent falls in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Do not put your baby’s car seat or baby seat on a table or counter. It could be knocked to the ground.
- Use a rubber bath mat or non-slip stickers to make the bathtub less slippery.
- Tape loose rugs to the floor to keep your child from tripping.
- Tape foam over sharp corners on your tables so that your child’s head will not be hurt if he or she bumps into them.
Playgrounds, as well as your backyard, can have many hidden dangers for children. Follow these safety tips to help keep your child safe in your neighbourhood playground or backyard.
- Keep children under five off equipment that is higher than 1.5 meters (5 feet).
- Stand right beside your child when he or she is climbing, riding in a swing or playing in equipment above the ground. You should be close enough to stop him or her from falling.
- The ground should have soft rubber mats or lots of sand, pea gravel, or wood chips. If the surface in your playground is not deep and soft, keep your child on equipment that is close to the ground.
- Keep your child off equipment that is meant for older children. If your child needs help to climb onto a piece of equipment, he or she should not use it.
- Only let your child use equipment that has good handrails, barriers, and railings to prevent falls.