Don’t let your home be a hazard to your child

2010-02-26 13:44

THIS week’s tragic drowning of two siblings in a Joburg ­Florida

home swimming pool while their mother was inside the house has highlighted the

importance of child-proofing one’s home.

According to the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Southern

Africa (CAPFSA), “every child has a right to grow and flourish in a safe

environment without the threat of being hurt”.

“Children are not mini-adults. They have to be watched over at all

times,” says CAPFSA director Professor Sebastian van As.

Wendy Walker of Babyproofessionals agrees. “Children are vulnerable

because they don’t know any boundaries. All it takes is a ­momentary distraction

and anything can happen.”

Walker says she and her husband Bruce started the business when she

was pregnant and wanted her child to be safe. “My husband and I did a full

assessment of our home after ­extensive research.

That’s when we realised there

were so many difficult areas that had the potential to be dangerous,” says


Since then, they have started a company that does the same for

­other parents. They also provide equipment like magnet locks, safety gates,

table-corner covers, door-slam protectors and other gadgets to help safeguard


Here are some of the guidelines for parents and guardians to follow

in order to make the house child-safe.

  • Get on your knees (at child ­level) and crawl through your entire

    home and identify hazards and decide how to deal with them.

  • Remove the hazard.
  • Guard the hazard.
  • Last resort is to watch your child within grabbing distance
  • Make the change. Do this as soon as possible.

“Just remember it is no use having created a physical safe home

without applying safe behaviour and good habits.

Hazards change in the home ­according to the child’s age and

development. Therefore you need to create a safe home for children looking at

different risks at different age groups,” adds Van As.

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