Factor in child safety into home improvements this season
Our homes are more than a just a roof over our heads, they are warm safe havens for ourselves, our family and our friends.
1. Driveway safety
Before entering your home, take note of the property’s surroundings. Is the property in close proximity to a busy road? Is the driveway gated or does it have restricted access to the road? Children, particularly those four years of age and under, are naturally inquisitive and like to explore. Consider where your car will be parked also - small children can often not be seen when reversing a car. Restricted access to roads and driveways can help prevent major injuries from occurring.
Take note of the fittings within your property. Slippery floor surfaces, electric safety switches, curtain and blind cords, types of window settings and smoke alarms are all important elements. Are door handles positioned out of reach of young children? By actively inspecting fittings, you can ensure you are fully aware of what needs to be fixed or attended to before an accident occurs.
3. Home Layout
There are different hazards to look out for depending on the layout of your property. Is the property single or double storey? Are there any split levels or stairs, inside or outside the property? If a property has stairs, ensure there are adequate balustrades that meet Australian Standards and check to see if gates can be installed. Is the laundry located away or restricted from living and play areas? Taking note of the layout of your home will help you plan out and eliminate future problems.
Inspecting the outside area of your current or prospective home is just as crucial as inspecting the inside. Is there a pool? If so, ensure it meets Australian regulations with a fully enclosed fence and self closing, self latching gate. Check that access from the front to the backyard is restricted. Are there are any other exits i.e. side lanes or gates? Is there a garage or shed to store tools, chemicals etc away from children? Many injuries occur outdoors while children play, so spotting hazards early on is crucial.
5. Take the Kidsafe Home Safety Checklist
You can download it at www.kidsafe.com.au. The Kidsafe’s Home Safety Checklist and Online Safety Demonstration Property are great tools to ensure your current and future homes are child safe.