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Falls in the Home and Garden
4/4/2011 3:52:45 PM

Falls in the Home and Garden

Source: Safe Kids -UK

You have to put yourself back into a child's mind to understand what hazards there might be in your home for falling. A small step out onto a patio for you might cause a little one to fall flat on their face onto concrete - obviously, not what you want to happen!
Falls are unpredictable and that is why falls in the home and garden accounted for nearly half of all home accidental injuries in 2002.
Falls don't have to be obvious things, in fact, it is very often the little things that cause accidents because they are less noticeable to the eye and get overlooked - small toys, rug edges, chair legs, handbags, shoes - are all good tripping up material.

Where Are The Fall Hotspots?
A classic example in the home is the stairs. How often have you put things on the stairs - toys, books, bags and clothing - ready to be taken upstairs? How often have your children left small toys half way up and just forgotten about them?
These are an accident waiting to happen. One of the main things you can do about it is keep your eyes open and clear the stairs as much as possible. Or invest in a basket or box that sits at the bottom of the stairs for you to put 'upstairs' things in that gets taken up twice a day or at the end of the day.

If your child is very small then a stair gate is possibly the best safety investment you can make - provided you use them! It may seem like a hassle but it is the one time you don't shut it because you had a pile of ironing to carry that your little one will seize the opportunity and be up (or down) the stairs like a shot.
The same goes for balconies - if you like having the door to a balcony open, invest in a stair gate that will go across the opening so at least your small child can't get out there. And if you can, make sure that windows open at the top, not the bottom or if not, have a window lock fitted that only allows it to open a few inches.

What About Babies That Can't Walk Yet?
Babies are at most risk from falls in the home because even if they can't walk, they wriggle around a lot! If they are on a sofa, armchair, high chair, bed then they can fall off it. The best place for a baby is on a soft, clean surface on the floor with anything small moved up a few feet or locked away. Certainly never leave the room leaving a baby anywhere other than on the floor, but if you can, take them with you.
If a baby is in a chair, be it a high chair or car seat, then always use the harnesses provided.

And The Garden?
Look for obvious things like low slung tree branches and high sides to decks or patios and make sure your child knows the best way to play on these, or make them out of bounds.
It's a shame to stop children being adventurous, but they can be adventurous safely! If you have the space, make sure that any climbing frames, swings or other items like trampolines are placed on a soft surface (grass and bark chips are springy and cushion falls) and that your children don't try anything dangerous like riding a bike down a slide or parachuting off a shed roof - which has been tried!

Author: Denise Tyler 

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