Growing up safely

ANTENATAL

Now is the time to think about child safety issues, purchases and changes you will need to make to your home and environment to keep your baby or child safe as they grow. Visit the Kidsafe House for examples and more information.
  • Purchase or hire a current approved Australian Standards child restraint which is less than 10 years of age. The law states babies must travel in an approved child restraint or there is a fine of $225 and a loss of 3 demerit points. Organise to have the restraint fitted or checked to ensure this is done correctly.
  • Buy baby furniture products safe for kids and check safety features and standards on nursery furniture before purchasing.

  • Ensure your swimming pool, garden pond, open water tanks or other watering holes around the home are fenced in with safety gates where appropriate.

  • Devise a list of emergency numbers and keep them by the phone. Include your doctor, help lines and Poisons Information Centre (13 11 26).

  • Develop family emergency procedures and organise a fire safety exit plan. Install smoke detectors and heater guards.

  • Consider installing a tempering valve or tap covers to protect your family from hot water scalds. Ideally the delivery temperature should be 50oC. At just 60oC a baby can receive a full thickness burn in less than one second.

 

BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS

At each stage of your babies development new safety risks are presented. Children roll over, reach for objects, grasp, put objects in their mouth and may be sitting up.

The following is a list of safety hints for children aged from birth to 6 months of age. Visit the Kidsafe House for examples and more information.

  • Ensure you adjust your car restraint as your baby grows.

  • Where possible purchase baby furniture that conforms to Australian Standards and always assemble to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Choose a firm mattress that fits the cot snuggly.

  • Never leave young babies and toddlers unattended on a bed, bench, change table or other baby furniture.

  • Never place a baby on a waterbed or beanbag – small children have smothered.

  • Keep hot things out of child’s reach and ensure tap hot water is safe at 50oC.

  • Always supervise your child around water. A child can drown in as little as 5 cm of water
  • Ensure swimming pools are properly fenced and safety gates close properly.
  • Remove ribbons, cords and small objects from your child’s reach to prevent strangulation and choking.

  • Have emergency numbers by the phone.

  • Choose age appropriate toys without small parts

 

SIX MONTHS TO 12 MONTHS

This period of development sees children sit up, crawl, pull themselves up to stand, take their first steps holding on and with a great sense of curiosity. This can bring with it a new area of safety issues.

  • Ensure the use of harnesses on baby furniture such as highchairs, strollers and for shopping trolleys.

  • Always use an Australian Standard child restraint on every trip in the car.

  • Ensure all poisons are out of sight and out of reach of children.

  • Children can drown in 5cm of water. Fish ponds, buckets of water and open drains, pools and spas can be a safety hazard for children.

  • Check power points are covered and sharp corners are cushioned.

  • Keep cigarettes, matches and lighters out of reach and out of sight.

  • Install safety barriers on stairs and areas out of bounds.

 

ONE TO THREE YEARS

Children are very mobile walking, climbing, can turn knobs, dials and taps and imitative play.

  • Water is a particular danger at this age. Ensure the pool or spa is isolated by a four sided fence with a self closing safety gate, there are resuscitation instructions and safety signs by the pool and children are always supervised anywhere near water

  • Empty the wading pool or bath immediately after use. A child can drown in 5cm of water.

  • Ensure play equipment has suitable impact absorbing surfacing under and around the equipment.

  • Ensure all medications, cleaning products and hazardous substances are locked up out of sight and out of reach including dishwashing liquid or powder which can cause serious burns to the mouth and throat of a child. Look for cleaning products safe for children.

  • Teach children to sit quietly to eat. Avoid foods such as peanuts or hard chunks of food that may cause choking.

  • Guards for heaters and fires should be attached to the wall and choose low fire danger/fire safe nightwear .

  • Install guards on stoves with saucepans handles turned to the rear.

  • Ensure that children use child restraints at all times and the harness is adjusted to fit securely and is at the right height for the child.

  • Get children out of the car on the kerbed side .

  • Use harnesses in highchairs, prams and strollers and other baby furniture.

  • Learn basic first aid and have a list of emergency numbers. Consider doing a kids first aid course.

  • Ensure hot water is safe - install a tempering valve to 50 degrees or use tap covers.

  • Ensure children wear a well fitting, appropriate helmet when riding bikes or using skateboards and roller skates.

 

THREE TO FIVE YEARS

Children are highly active: running, jumping and climbing. They are adventurous and imitate adults and other siblings. Protect their safety – follow these child safety guidelines, make sure you have an up-do-date first aid kit on hand and consider doing a kids first aid course.

  • Outdoor areas and kids activities areas should be safe from tripping or slipping hazards. If play equipment for kids is at a greater height than 500mm soft under-surfacing should be installed to a depth of 250mm.

  • Provide a safe shady play area free from low branches and separate from the driveway.

  • Always supervise kids anywhere near the road and start to teach road safety, (stop, look, listen and think before crossing a road) hold hands near traffic, and always wear a helmet when using a bike.

  • Use colourful stickers down low on glassed areas and use shatter resistant film or safety glass.

  • Always supervise anywhere near water (pool or bath).

  • Ensure play equipment has suitable impact absorbing surfacing under and around the equipment.

  • Avoid direct sun exposure between 11am-4pm.

  • Ensure all medications, cleaning products and hazardous substances are locked up out of sight and out of reach including dishwashing liquid or powder which can cause serious burns to the mouth and throat of a child. Look for child-safe cleaning products when shopping.

  • Ensure children wear a well fitting, appropriate helmet when riding bikes or using skateboards and roller skates.

  • Don’t forget electrical safety – use child proof safety plugs for unused power points.