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Resources Centre / Twins Tips Introduction / Twins Tips / Top 12 Safety Devices - Childproofing Your Home
Top 12 Safety Devices - Childproofing Your Home

Many children are injured or killed by hazards in the home each year. The good news is that many of these incidents can be prevented by using simple child safety devices on the market today.

Any safety device you buy should be sturdy enough to prevent injury to your child. yet easy for you to use. It''s important to follow installation instructions carefully. In addition. if you have older children in the house. be sure they re-secure safety devices.

REMEMBER : No device is completely childproof; determined youngsters have been known to disable them and with two or more pairs of hands the risks are greater.

You can childproof your home for a fraction of what it would cost to have a professional do it. And safety devices are easy to find. You can buy them at hardware stores. baby equipment shops. supermarkets. chemists. department stores. and through mail order catalogues.

Here are some child safety devices that can help prevent many injuries to young children. The numbers correspond to those on the image following the text.

1. Use Safety Catches and Locks for cabinets and drawers in kitchens. bathrooms. and other areas to help prevent poisonings and other injuries. Safety catches and locks on cabinets and drawers can help prevent children from gaining access to medicines and household cleaners. as well as knives and other sharp objects.

Look for safety catches and locks that adults can easily install and use. but are sturdy enough to withstand pulls and tugs from children. Safety catches are not a guarantee of protection. but they can make it more difficult for children to reach dangerous substances. Even products with child-resistant packaging should be locked away. out of reach; this packaging is not childproof.

Typical cost of a safety catch or lock: less than 2.

2. Use Safety Gates to help prevent falls down stairs and to keep children away from dangerous areas. Safety gates can help keep children away from stairs or rooms that have hazards in them. Look for safety gates that children cannot dislodge easily. but that adults can open and close without difficulty. For the top of stairs. gates that screw to the wall are more secure than "pressure gates."

New safety gates that meet safety standards display a certification seal from British Standards. If you have an older safety gate. be sure it doesn''t have "V" shapes that are large enough for a child''s head and neck to fit into. Typical cost of a safety gate: 20-40

3. Use Door & Drawer Locks to help prevent children from entering rooms and other areas with possible dangers. Door locks can help keep children away from places with hazards. including swimming pools. Drawer Locks keep them out of drawers where dangerous knives may be kept.

Typical cost of a door/drawer lock: 3 and up.

4. Use Anti-Scald devices for taps and shower heads and set your water heater temperature to a cooler setting to help prevent burns from hot water. Anti-scald devices for regulating water temperature can help prevent burns. Typical cost of an anti-scald device: 3 to 20.

5. Use Smoke Detectors on every level of your home and near bedrooms to alert you to fires. Smoke detectors are essential safety devices for protection against fire deaths and injuries.

Check smoke detectors once a month to make sure they''re working. If detectors are battery-operated. change batteries at least once a year or consider using 10-year batteries. Typical cost of a smoke detector: less than 5 or free from the fire brigade who will also come and install it for free.

6. Use Window Locks or Bars to help prevent falls from windows. Check these safety devices frequently to make sure they are secure and properly installed and maintained. There should be no more than four inches between the bars of the window guard. If you have window guards. be sure at least one window in each room can be easily used for escape in a fire. Window screens/blinds are not effective for preventing children from falling out of windows. Typical cost of a window lock : 3 upwards.

7. Use Corner and Edge Cushions to help prevent injuries from falls against sharp edges of furniture and fireplaces. Corner and edge bumpers can be used with furniture and fireplace hearths to help prevent injuries from falls or to soften falls against sharp or rough edges. Be sure to look for bumpers that stay securely on furniture or hearth edges. Typical cost of a corner and edge bumper: 2-5

8. Use Socket Covers to help prevent electrocution. Socket covers can help protect children from electrical shock and possible electrocution. Be sure the socket protectors cannot be easily removed by children and are large enough so that children cannot choke on them. Typical cost of an socket cover: less than 2.

9. Use a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector outside bedrooms to help prevent CO poisoning. A carbon monoxide (CO) detector can help prevent CO poisoning. Consumers should install CO detectors near sleeping areas in their homes. Households that should use CO detectors include those with gas or oil heat or with attached garages. Typical cost of a carbon monoxide (CO) detector: 20 to 50.

10. Cut Window Blind Cords; use Safety Tassels and Inner Cord Stops to help prevent children from strangling in blind cord loops. Window blind cord safety tassels on blinds and tension devices on vertical blinds and drapery cords can help prevent deaths and injuries from strangulation in the loops of cords. Inner cord stops can help prevent strangulation in the inner cords of window blinds. For older blinds. cut the cord loop. remove the buckle. and put safety tassels on each cord. Be sure that older vertical blinds and drapery cords have tension or tie-down devices to hold the cords tight. When buying new blinds. verticals. and drapes/cutains. ask for safety features to prevent child strangulation. You can find information on safe window dressings at www.windowcoverings.org (US site)

11. Use Door Stops and Door Holders to help prevent injuries to fingers and hands. Door stops and door holders on doors and door hinges can help prevent small fingers and hands from being pinched or crushed in doors and door hinges. Be sure any safety device for doors is easy to use and is not likely to break into small parts. which could be a choking hazard for young children. Typical cost of a door stop and door holder: less than 10.

12. Use a Cordless Phone to make it easier to continuously watch young children. especially when they're in the bath or other potentially dangerous areas. Cordless phones help you watch your child continuously. without leaving the vicinity to answer a phone call. Cordless phones are especially helpful when children are in or near water. Typical cost of a cordless phone: 30 and up.



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