Safety first

Boisterous, inquisitive toddlers can move like lightning, so you can’t turn your back on them for a second. Our guide to safety around the home can help prevent nasty accidents.

Kitchen

  • Keep chemicals, medicines and cleaning products, including liquid laundry pods or tablets out of reach and sight of all children. Whenever possible store them out of reach or in a locked cupboard.
  • Keep leads at the back of the worktop and not dangling over the edge.
  • Use the back burners of the cooker and turn pan handles away from the edge.
  • Don’t put chairs near the cooker, as children can climb up.
  • Don't leave a hot drink on the floor or anywhere that a toddler can pull it down on to them.
  • Keep all plastic packaging, bags and nappy sacks out of reach and sight of all children.
  • If you have to leave the room, remove pans from the heat.
  • Restrict the jobs that you give them according to their age and ability. For example, a young child (under 5) might only mix dough with their hands, whereas older kids can peel and chop vegetables.
  • Mop up spills straight away.
  • Avoid using tablecloths/mats that can easily be pulled off a table or work surface.
  • Place your toaster at the back of your worktop but avoid putting it under any shelves or cupboards as the heat generated could burn its underside.

Hall and Stairs

  • Fit a child safety gate at both the top and bottom of the stairs. You can also fit one to keep toddlers out of rooms such as the kitchen.
  • Avoid accidents by keeping these areas well lit and free from toys and clutter.
  • Make sure banisters are firmly fixed to the wall and steady all the way up.
  • Check that stair carpets are fitted securely.
  • Always hold onto the bannister when carrying your tot upstairs.
  • Never leave the front door open – your toddler can be through it and out on to the road in an instant. Do not leave your keys in the door.

Living room

  • Keep the iron and hair straighteners out of reach and sight at all times and never allow a child to play with these.
  • Check that appliances are in good working order replacing cracked plugs and worn cables.
  • Keep matches and lighters well out of reach along with any breakable items.
  • Cover any fires with a fireguard, preferably attached to the wall.
  • Keep curtains away from fires.
  • Don’t leave alcoholic drinks or medicines where your toddler can get at them, and keep hot drinks out of reach.
  • Keep furniture or items that children can climb on away from windows.

Bedroom

  • Always unplug heated styling irons and keep them out of reach until they are cool.
  • Keep cosmetics, perfumes, aftershaves and medicines out of reach.
  • Don't use lit candles in rooms where there are toddlers.
  • Unplug your phone charger when you have finished with it.
  • Never charge your phone overnight – phone chargers are not designed to be left on for long periods of time as they will overheat.

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Bathroom

  • Run cold water first and test the temperature of the bath before putting your child in.
  • Reduce the hot water temperature on your boiler thermostat.
  • Use containers with child resistant tops but be aware that a clever toddler could undo them.
  • Never leave your child alone in the bathroom.
  • Cover hot towel rails with a towel.
  • Never take electrical appliances into the bathroom.
  • Keep cosmetics, medicines, shaving razors and cleaning materials locked away in a high- level cabinet.
  • Always take old medicines back to the pharmacist for safe disposal.

Outside

  • Make sure all balconies, fences and gates are secure. Keep any items that a child can climb onto off balconies.
  • Ensure there aren’t any gaps in a fence or balcony slats that your child could squeeze through.
  • Put a fence around a pond or pool, or fill it in. Always supervise kids near water. Never leave your child alone near water. Small children can drown in as little as 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) of water in a very short time.
  • Keep kids out of the way when you’re gardening or doing DIY in the house or garden.
  • Keep children away from barbecues, fireworks and bonfires at all times.
  • Lock away tools and chemicals.
  • Teach your tot not to put berries or plants in their mouth.
  • All children should have high factor sun cream with UVA and UVB protection on when they go out in the sun. Spend time in the shade when the sun is strongest. In the UK, this is between 11 am and 3 pm from March to October. Make sure children always wear a sun hat and suitable clothing to protect them from burning.

In the Car

  • The law changed in September 2006 and now you must ensure that all children are secured in an appropriate car seat. See Childcarseat.org.uk for further information.
  • It is illegal to smoke in a car (or other vehicle) with anyone under 18. This law, which was changed on 1 October 2015, is to protect children and young people from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
  • Babies and young children should never be left alone inside a vehicle, even when the engine is turned off.
  • Never leave the keys in the ignition when you get out of the car and should always store car keys in a safe place in the home, out of reach of children.

Out and About

Always make sure your child is:

  • In an appropriate car safety seat
  • safely strapped into a five-point harness in their pushchair
  • wearing a harness when walking reminded often about road safety and the dangers of traffic.
Last updated: 15 April 2019