We have to be so careful raising babies and toddlers in our homes - so much of what seems safe to adults can pose potential hazards to children. A hazard isn't necessarily an accident waiting to happen, it just means that there we need to be more cautious than we might otherwise be. If hazards are managed properly then our little ones can remain perfectly safe. Here are a few questions of safety that you might ask yourself...
1. Should I use a Baby Walker? For many years it was advised not to bother with a baby walker. They looked nice, but caused so many accidents its wasn't worth the risk. There is now a standard required for baby walkers (BS EN 1273:2005), which has hopefully reduced the number of accidents. However, do use with care. Babies can still get around very quickly and could approach stairs or dangerous areas. It may give them more height and therefore allow them to reach higher things on tables or work surfaces in the kitchen. Some argue they help baby to walk: this is not necessarily true. Rolling, crawling, sitting, bouncing on you knee are far better ways of improving balance, and mobility for walking.
2. Is there a safe age to use bunk beds? Usually not before children six. This is because beds are designed with six year old as a minimum age. The spaces between bars and and around the mattress is tested on six year olds and are not suitable for under six's because they could get trapped. If you do use bunk beds, make sure windows are locked if they're next to a window and that there are no sharp corners (book shelves etc) below! Perhaps have a night light so they can climb down in the night if they need to.
3. When does a hot liquid get hot enough to cause a burn? Childrens' skin is thinner than an adults and will burn much more easily. Even hot tap water can burn. Certainly don't allow any child to turn on taps without your supervision. Kettle water WILL scald immediately. It's boiling at 100 degrees. A cup of tea WILL scald. Its about 70 degrees but still hot enough to scald. Once tea has been left to stand for 15 minutes, its still around 55 degrees. This WILL still be hot enough to scald in about 10 seconds.
4. Should we get rid of our pond? A toddler can drown in just 2 inches of water. If you have a pond and don't want to get rid of it, keep it covered or better still, drain it until your child is older. Turn it into a boggy garden area or a sand pit!
When it comes to First Aid, most parent's reaction is to think that the accident won't happen to them. We are careful not to leave an iron on an ironing board, and we would never allow a child close to anything too hot. But the stark fact remains that accidents do happen, no matter how careful you think you are or how safe you believe your house is. Hot coffee may be on the table, water from the hot tap gets very hot, chemicals are in the cupboard. And children are naturally inquisitive.
Here are a few pointers when it comes to burns.
Hot Water Burns and scalds
If your child suffers from a hot water burn, perhaps from a cup of tea or the hot water tap, the first thing to do is to carefully remove any clothing that can be removed easily. Clothing retains heat, so this is why it is best to remove them. If they are already stuck to the skin, or are tight fitting, then leave them as you could damage the skin underneath. Put the burned area under cool (but not cold) running water for at least 20 or 30 minutes. If the burn is still burning after this time continue the water treatment. DO NOT under any circumstances put anything on the burn - no ointments, cream or flour (an old wives tale!).
Give some pain relief such as Calpol because burns do hurt. Once the burning stops do not allow the child to get cold. Cover the burn with cling film as this doesn't stick to the skin, and put fresh clothes back on. Be careful of ice packs as these can burn the skin too. Go to A&E for further help.
Firstly, make sure it is safe to approach and that the current is no longer live. Do not put yourself in danger. There may only be a small entry wound, but go to hospital directly.
It it vital to wash away any chemicals by washing with cool water. Ensure you are protected too if you are helping. Once washed, cover with clean dry dressing - a clean (boil washed) tea towel is a good option.
Take care and always seek medical advice if need any assistance.
Young children and babies have much more sensitive skin than adults and will burn much more easily - to prevent accident by burning, avoid exposure to sources of burn injuries. Most burn injuries are preventable and yet every year thousands of children are taken to hospital with burn injuries. Here are some of the common causes, and what you can do to prevent such injuries:-
The majority of accidental burns are entirely avoidable, and by being aware of likely risks, you can make sure that your children are kept safe.
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