Providing a secure and safe home is essential as a child care provider.
Some simple child-proofing can help reduce the risk of hazards in the home. Whilst this is ultimately the responsibility of the parents, it is your job to keep the kids safe while in your care. Be wary of potential hazards!
Nothing replaces constant supervision, but it is important to have the basic knowledge to prevent children from falls, poisoning and other accidents.
For the safety of children, certain areas need to be off-limits.
Balconies and open windows
Cupboards with cleaning supplies, soaps, paints, or bleach
Sharp knives, glass or other tools
Gates to swimming pools
Cords for blinds or other window coverings
Don’t lock the bathroom door
Ask children in your care to never lock the bathroom door while in use. It could be quite a process to get a trapped child out!
That way, if someone slips in the bathtub or falls off the toilet, you can easily help them without having to worry about a locked door.
Prevent unwelcome guests and great escapes
Do not allow strangers into the house when children are in your care
Do not allow children to leave the house unless you are supervising them
Front and back doors should be locked at all times when you are at home to monitor who is coming in and out of the house
Check for available safe places to leave a baby such as a play pen in case you need to leave a baby for a moment or so
Burglars and intruders
To avoid break-ins, make sure all doors and windows are locked
If someone does break into the house while you are there, try to lock yourself and all children in a safe place
Call your local emergency number immediately
Stay quiet until help arrives
Most intruders are after money and other valuables. Do not try to stop a burglary in progress – your safety is more important than any amount of goods they are stealing
If you’re able to leave the house safely with all occupants of the house, go to the nearest safe location to dial emergency for help
Do not approach or try to fight intruders. It is best to try to leave the premises or hide in a locked room until you’re sure the intruders are gone
What if the lights go out?
In most advanced countries, houses control the power through a meter box. Often when there is no power, it can simply be a a tripped switch. Always know where the meter box is and possibly the key for it, as it may just be a case of flicking the switch back on. Most importantly, you should make sure you have instructions from the family you are working with to know what to do in the even of a power outage.
In case of a power outage, it’s important to stay calm for the sake of the children you’re minding
Know the location of a torch or better yet, take one with you to every job!
Windows and balconies present a danger of falling. Be sure that windows and doors are locked and children are never allowed to go onto a balcony unsupervised.
Stairs also present a risk of falls – many homes will have staircases blocked by a gate. If not, be sure to always accompany small children up and down the stairs to keep them safe.
Cords for window coverings pose a risk of strangulation. Make sure they are tied up and out of reach of children.
Power cords are dangers for strangulation and also for electrocution.
Do not let children play with power points or live electrical cords.
It is important to keep toys neat so no one steps or trips on them.
When finished playing with a toy, teach the kids to tidy up!
It may or not be the parents expectation to clean up but its yours!
You are in charge here so its ok to have your own rules!
By setting rules and asking kids to help, it will not only make your work easier but command respect.
Danger in toys
It is also important to know that some toys which are supposed to be designed for children can actually be very dangerous.
Keep a careful watch for toys that might contain any of the following:
Other small parts that pose a choking hazard
When swallowed, small coin-sized lithium button batteries can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause severe burns or death.If a child swallows a button battery, the battery can get stuck in the child’s throat and burn through the oesophagus in as little as two hours. Repair can require feeding and breathing tubes and multiple surgeries.
Call 000 and seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a lithium battery has been ingested.
Please watch this short video on the importance of keeping button batteries away from children.
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