Accidents from falling are the most common cause of severe injuries in preschool children. This is followed by poisoning, cuts and burns.
How to prevent the most common accidents:
Falls and cuts
- Never leave your child unsupervised on the baby changing table. Never. Keep a hand on its tummy if you have to turn around to get something. Change nappies on the floor if your baby is very active and tends to roll around during changing.
- Always use a harness or belt when your infant is sitting in a highchair, pushchair or child car seat.
- Cover sharp corners and edges of furniture with padding.
- Remove or firmly secure book shelves, floor lamps and other objects that could fall if the infant pulls or hangs on them.
- Install gates and barriers at the top and bottom of stairs, around verandas and next to patio doors.
- Install safety locks on all windows.
- Install child locks on all drawers containing sharp kitchen utensils. Choose locks that prevent children's fingers from getting crushed.
Burning and scalding
- Check that the oven door has an opening lock. If the oven tends to get hot on the outside, install a protective grating on it. You can buy one from a hardware store.
- Install a barrier around the hob to prevent little hands from touching the rings.
- Never stand saucepans with the handle pointing outwards if there is something in them.
- Don't leave tablecloths hanging down so that children can take hold of them.
- Never drink hot drinks while your child is on your knee or in your arms.
- Fill the bath or tub with lukewarm water and add warmer water if necessary. Dip your elbow in the water to test the temperature.
- Childproof all electrical plugs and sockets.
Drowning and suffocation
- Always empty the bath or tub immediately after your infant's bath. Never leave your infant in the water unsupervised. Not even if the phone rings. A small child can drown silently in just two minutes, in as little as four centimetres of water.
- Put a non-slip mat at the bottom of the bath to prevent slipping.
- Keep the toilet lid down and the door to the bathroom closed.
- Tie a knot in plastic bags and store them out of children's reach. Plastic bags can cause suffocation.
- Make sure cords for curtains and blinds are out of reach of children.
- Keep small objects such as bottle caps out of reach of small children, as they can cause choking. Read more about safe toys.
- In a childproof home, all poisonous products including cleaning detergents, washing detergents and medicines, should be locked away or stored high up.
- Also store iron tablets and vitamins out of reach of children.
- Some potted plants are poisonous. Consult the Swedish Poisons Information Centre for information about your house plants.
- Also keep an eye on your child when you are visiting other people.
- Fence off part of your garden or yard so that your child can play safely and stay off the driveway or road.
- Remove any sharp gardening tools.
- Lock away any chemicals.
- When you use the barbecue, store lighter fluid out of reach of children and keep them away from the barbecue when it is hot.
- Make sure there are no poisonous plants in your garden – consult the Swedish Poisons Information Centre for information about your garden plants.
Keep safety information and numbers handy
- Make a list of safety phone numbers, for example for an on-call doctor or the hospital casualty department, and hang it on the wall.
- You might consider doing a first aid course to learn basic techniques such as mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and what to do if a child chokes on something. It could save lives.
Childproofing your home – check list
It's best to childproof your home before your infant starts crawling or standing up. Go through the check list below to reduce the risk of accidents.