Toddler safety inside and outside the home

Your toddler is very inquisitive, and wants to touch and see how things work. They have little or no fear about the world around them, so they often get into dangerous situations and are unaware of the consequences of their actions. Wherever your toddler is playing, they must always be closely supervised. There are many things that you can do to try to protect them and keep them safe.

We’ve teamed up with Children’s Panadol to provide you with lots of quick and helpful information covering many aspects of children’s health and development. We hope you’ll find them a great resource as you take care of your family every day.

Keeping toddlers safe

Here’s a quick safety checklist for anyone with toddlers at home:

  • Childproof the house if you haven’t already.
  • When travelling in the car, always place them in an approved child restraint, and buckle them in with the harness.
  • Never leave your toddler (or baby) in the car unattended, even for a minute. Cars can be very hot places and toddlers can overheat rapidly.
  • Always supervise your child when a vehicle is moved in the driveway. Hold them close by to keep them safe.
  • Try to prevent your child from playing in the driveway. Consider fencing off the driveway and installing a gate.
  • Install a reversing camera in the car.
  • Be sun-smart when you are outdoors, especially on hot days. Your toddler should wear a hat, and sunscreen cream SPF 30 or above. Try to minimise play outside in summer between 11am–5pm.
  • Pools are another source of great fun for a toddler, but make sure they are constantly supervised when in the pool and playing nearby. In many areas, it is law that pools be fenced with an approved child safety gate.
  • When visiting children’s parks and playgrounds, check the equipment is clean and safe, with no broken or damaged equipment. A good park will be well maintained and have soft fall matting around the play areas, and should also be fenced.

Safety around the home – poisons

Children under five years account for most accidental poisonings, with children aged one to three years at most risk. So making your home safe is critical to preventing accidents.

As your baby becomes more mobile, they will begin to explore their world, usually by putting things in their mouths. As they have little concept of danger, this puts them at risk of accidental poisoning. Young children also like to imitate adults, so may copy potentially dangerous behaviours such as taking medication.

Poisonings can happen at any time, especially when a child is unsupervised or when the family routine is changed. Extra care is needed when you are on holidays, moving house, having visitors or during other family disruptions – such as when you are having renovations done and workmen bring equipment and chemicals onto the site.

Poisons come in many forms, from medicines, cleaning and laundry products through to plants and even nasty insect bites. It’s important to be aware of these dangers and take steps to keep your family safe. If in doubt, play it safe – treat any liquid or substance as a potential poison.

Helpful hints to prevent poisoning

  • Use child restraint locks on cupboards, especially in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry and garage.
  • Only fill the dishwasher with detergent immediately before use. Keep the dishwasher door locked at other times.
  • Try to use cleaning products and other chemicals when children are not around if possible, such as while they are asleep.
  • Always keep chemicals, like bleach or washing liquid, in the original containers. Never use food containers to store chemicals.
  • Never leave chemicals unattended or in reach of children.
  • Put medicines and chemicals away after use. Always keep the lid on containers.
  • Store medicines in a locked cabinet. Medicines that need to be refrigerated should be kept in a childproof container.
  • Never call medicines ‘lollies’.
  • Have a safe place up high for visitors’ handbags and luggage.

If your child has swallowed a poison

Call the Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 (24 hours, Australia-wide) or seek urgent medical advice. Do not try to make them vomit. Keep this number in your phone.

This is an excerpt from The First Five Years, which is a handy and easy to navigate book, specifically developed to help parents. It contains a comprehensive collection of practical parenting information and useful tips for your child’s first five years. If you’ve ever wanted a quick guide to refer to in the middle of the night, or to help you decide when it’s time to see a doctor, this is a resource which will help you on your way. You can view it online or download it for free at The First Five Years.

(This is a sponsored post for Children’s Panadol)

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