How to teach your toddler about safety

Your toddler will probably be curious about everything, which can be wonderful to watch - especially the first time they see snow, or real tigers at the zoo. This curiosity helps them grow and learn, but it may also lead them into danger.

Most accidents involving young children happen at home where there are many potential hazards: stairs, fireplaces, ponds - to name but a few. However, an accident is more likely to happen if your child is left unsupervised. Another risk factor for accidents is unfamiliar surroundings, such as when you're on holiday, or visiting family and friends.

Keeping youngsters safe from a young age is very important, so here are some useful tips.

At home

Make your home as safe as possible, as soon as possible. Install stairgates once your baby is crawling, keep low furniture away from windows and use window locks. Just make sure the key is handy in case of a fire. Keep plastic bags out of sight, tie-up curtain cords and don't leave matches or dangerous household chemicals lying around.

In the kitchen

Keep scissors and knives out of reach, as well as medicines and cleaning products. If this isn't possible, fit safety catches on low cupboards.

Use a kettle with a short flex and when you're cooking, use the rings at the back of the hob and turn handles away so they can't be grabbed. It's also wise to be careful of hot oven doors.

Keep hot drinks well away from toddlers and bear in mind they can still scald a child 20 minutes after being made. A child's skin is much thinner than an adult's and will be affected more easily.

Mealtimes

Young children may choke on food, so never leave your children alone when they're eating. Whole nuts or boiled sweets may be a choke hazard for children under 5.

In the bathroom

Never leave a child alone in a bath - even for a minute - regardless of whether they are in a bath seat or not. Babies can drown in as little as 5cm of water and drowning is one of the most common causes of deaths amongst young children. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a third of accidental drowning deaths in children under the age of two involve bath seats.

Out and about

Always strap your child into their pushchair or if they are walking with you, always cross busy roads at a pedestrian crossing.

References

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/accidents-to-children-in-the-home/Pages/Introduction.aspx?url=Pages/What-is-it.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/baby-safety-tips.aspx#close

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drowning-in-baths-a-risk-for-young-children-warns-phe