Safety In The Home

Feeling safe in your home is important.

It helps to keep you healthy and happy and You don’t want an accident waiting to happen around every corner.

Whitehorse has put the following tips together to reduce the chance of an accident happening in your home.

Fire Safety

It’s important that you’re not at risk from fire where you live. Hundreds of people are killed or hurt each year in house fires. But there’s a lot you can do to fire-proof your home. These Fire Safety Tips will help protect you and your family. Do watch chip pan fryers carefully in the kitchen Do use guards around fires and heaters Do put a smoke alarm on each floor of your home Don’t forget to check the batteries in your smoke alarm each week Don’t put heaters and candles near furniture and curtains Don’t leave clothes to dry near fires or the cooker Give children under five clear instructions of what they should and shouldn’t do. With older children, it’s better to also explain why. Tell them to tell a grown-up if they see matches or lighters lying around and never to play with matches, lighters or lighted candles.

Never to play, or leave toys, close to a fire or heater, not to put things on top of heaters or lights, not to pull on electric cables or fiddle with electrical appliances or sockets, never to switch on the cooker or put anything on top of it and never to touch any saucepans on the cooker

Fire instructions for children

If they see smoke or flames, they should tell someone straight away, a grown-up if possible, get out of the building as soon as possible and never go back into the building for anything.
Never hide in a cupboard or under a bed, get out of the house and call for help straight away, find a phone and call 999/112, and ask for the Fire Service, give the address of the fire slowly and calmly.

Plan an escape route and make sure that everyone in the house is familiar with it, including children, childminders and babysitters, keep all exits clear and practice the escape plan with children.

Here are some further measures you can take in your home to make sure your children stay safe:

  • Don’t leave children on their own in a room where there’s a fire risk.
  • Keep matches, lighters and candles in a place where children can’t see or reach them – and put child locks on the cupboards.
  • Put a child-proof fireguard in front of an open fire or heater and don’t let children play or leave toys near a fire or heater.
  • Keep portable heaters in a safe place where they can’t be knocked over when they are being used or stored.
  • Never leave children alone in the kitchen when you’re cooking and never let them play near the cooker.
  • Make sure electrical appliances are switched off when they are not being used.  It is very difficult for a child to get an electric shock by playing with a socket, so you shouldn’t need to use socket covers.
  • In some instances they may stop young children plugging in heaters or other appliances that could cause burns or start a fire – but you should not rely on them as they are not regulated for safety.
  • It’s much better to make sure appliances are safely put away.

Electrical Safety

Electricity is everywhere, so don’t let sparks fly! Look out for lights that flicker. Watch out for plugs and sockets that are hot. Also check for fuses that blow out for no reason. Always get parents to call out an electrician if in doubt. Don’t do it yourself, DIY electrics means disaster! Do turn off and unplug electrical appliances. Do keep plugs and cables away from water and other liquids Do have items checked if they look faulty Don’t put too more than two plugs into one electric socket Don’t use appliances with worn or damaged cords Don’t take items with electric plugs into the bathroom

Kitchen Safety

The kitchen is the place where most accidents happen. This is because fires often start in kitchens. But there are plenty of other hazards here. Here are our top tips to keep your kitchen calamity-free. Do keep heavy items on low shelves. Do use a cordless kettle or one with a coiled lead so you can’t pull it over. Do take extra care with hot water, drinks and soups. Don’t let knives get blunt and keep them out of reach of younger kids. Don’t put daily items out of reach. Don’t leave panhandles sticking out, they might be knocked or pulled off.

Medicine Safety

Medicines and cleaners are made of strong chemicals. These should always be treated with care. They should be kept well away from younger brothers and sisters. To avoid a chemical casualty remember. Do make sure medicines have clear labels. Do keep medicines in their original bottles. Do put cleaning products like bleach where younger kids can’t see them. Don’t keep medicines and chemicals on show, lock them in a cabinet. Don’t take other people’s medicine, or let them have yours. Don’t keep leftover medicines, return them to the pharmacy. Put them in a high cupboard, a cupboard fitted with a child-resistant catch, a lockable cabinet, or even a lockable suitcase. Don’t keep them on your bedside table as your child can easily get into the bedroom without being seen.
Don’t keep them In your handbag as this is a favourite place for toddlers to find tablets.
Don’t keep them in the fridge, ‘keep cool’ usually means keep away from direct sunlight or warm places like radiators.

If a medicine needs to be kept in the fridge it will say on the box. If it does, keep it as high up and hidden as possible.
Keep the caps closed on medicine bottles and put all medicines away immediately
remember that while child-resistant caps may slow a child down, they are not child-proof.
Take extra care with tablets in see-through packs or brightly coloured tablets – they are especially tempting to children.

Don’t count out your tablets for the day and then leave them lying around.
Take your medicine when your child isn’t around so they don’t try to copy you.
Teach your child about the safe use of medicines and never pretend they are sweets
Keep an eye on your children in other people’s houses as they may not follow the same safety rules as you.

Storing household chemicals and products

Keep all household chemicals and cleaning products out of sight and in cupboards with child-resistant catches.
Keep potentially harmful products high up and out of reach – never under the sink or on the floor by the toilet.
Move products out of reach if you are called away while using them – for example if the phone rings while you are cleaning the toilet.  Dispose of empty containers safely and out of your child’s reach

Household chemicals and products – general tips

Look for products with child-resistant caps but remember this does not make them child-proof – for example concentrated detergent capsules come in boxes and so don’t have this protection.  Look for products with a bittering agent – this makes them taste horrible and helps stop young children swallowing them.

Remember that cigarettes, alcohol, perfume, aromatherapy oils and mouthwash can all be poisonous to children.

Never strip old furniture or paintwork when there are young children (or pregnant women) present – the dust may contain lead which is harmful

Storing chemicals outdoors

Keep all chemicals like paint, white spirit, oil, anti-freeze, weed-killers and pesticides high up, out of reach and out of sight.
Fit a padlock to the cupboard, shed or garage where they are kept.  Keep all chemicals in their original, labelled containers – do not put them into another bottle or container

First Aid for Medicine and chemicals

  • Get advice immediately from Safety Data Sheet, your pharmacist, doctor or accident and emergency department, or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
  • Find the bottle or packet and take it with you if you go to the hospital.
  • Don’t give your child salt water or anything else to make them sick.
  • Don’t give your child anything to drink – just wet their lips with cold water if they are burning.
  • If the child is unconscious or there is burning to the mouth, dial 999/112 immediately.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas which can build up when household appliances that use flames, like boilers, water heaters, stoves or open fires, are faulty and are not getting enough oxygen to burn efficiently.

Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous as it has no smell, taste or colour, so it is very difficult to know when it is being produced.

You can guard against carbon monoxide poisoning by doing the following:

Fit carbon monoxide alarms wherever there is a flame-burning appliance.
Make sure you keep ventilation outlets in your home free from blockages.
Have your flame-burning appliances regularly serviced by a qualified engineer.

Avoiding Burns and Scalds in the Home

In the Kitchen

Avoid having a young child in the kitchen unless they are supervised. Keep children away from the front of the oven – the door can get very hot.
Use a kettle with a short or curly flex and keep it well back from the edge of the kitchen work top.
Turn the saucepan handles towards the back of the cooker, and use the back rings where possible.
Never fill a chip pan more than one third full of oil, and never leave the pan unattended while the oil is hot.
Use a thermostatically controlled chip pan if possible, or use oven chips instead.
Teach children over the age of seven to use kitchen appliances safely – like the toaster, and microwave.
Older children can be taught to pour safely from the kettle and use the oven.
When warming babies’ bottles, avoid using the microwave – the milk may heat up unevenly, leaving spots of very hot milk which can scald a baby’s mouth. It is best to use a bottle warmer or a jug of hot water. After warming, shake the bottle well and test the temperature by placing a few drops of milk on the inside of your wrist. It should feel lukewarm, but not hot.
Hot drinks, 15 minutes after they have been made, hot drinks can still scald young children. Never drink tea or coffee while you are holding a baby or young child.
Keep hot drinks out of reach of babies and toddlers.
Never pass hot drinks over the heads of babies or children.

In the Bathroom

Never leave a baby or young child alone in the bathroom, even for a moment as they may fall into a bath of hot water or play with the hot tap.
To avoid scalds from the hot tap, fit a thermostatic mixing valve,if you don’t have one fitted, always put cold water in the bath first, then add hot water.
Always test the bath water with your elbow before bathing your child, the water should feel neither hot or cold

Bedroom Safety

A hair straightener can get as hot as an iron and can still seriously burn young skin eight minutes after being unplugged, store hair straighteners out of reach of children immediately after use, ideally use the specially designed cool bags provided with certain makes

Outdoor Safety

Keep children away from barbeques, even after you’ve finished using them.
Do not let your children near bonfires, fireworks or garden candles.
Cover ponds or supervise children round them. Supervise children around paddling pools. Keep sheds and Garages locked. Have some knowledge of the plants in your garden

Treating Burns

Flood the injured area immediately with cool water for 20 minutes
Once the burn has cooled, remove clothing from the injured area, if material is sticking to the skin, don’t try to remove it – this needs to be done by a medical professional
If the burn or scald starts to hurt again – flood again with cool water and don’t touch the injured area or burst any blisters – this can cause infection, if possible, remove rings, watches etc from the injured area as it may swell.
Loosely cover the burn or scald with non-fluffy material to stop infection – cling film is ideal but don’t wrap it around, just lay it loosely on top, don’t put any creams, ointments, grease, antiseptic spray or plasters on the injury.
If the burn or scald involves the face, hands, feet, joints or genitals, it should be seen by a doctor. Any burn or scald larger than a postage stamp should also be seen by doctor.

It is a good idea for all parents and carers to learn first aid.


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