This is intended as a general guide, for potential safety hazards in child’s environment. Your home and risk factors might be different, so just take from this list what is relevant to you. If there is anything you would like us to add, please comment below.
Always follow the safety instructions on all baby products, furniture, nursery items, toys, gadgets, and accessories.
Around The House
- Ensure all cleaning products, chemicals and medications, sharp objects such as knifes, scissors and shaving blade, are kept where your child cannot get them, either locked away or up high out of reach.
- Water – babies and children can drown in even small amounts of water. Never leave a baby or young child unsupervised in the bath or shower, or in the supervision of an older child and always remove the plug from the bath immediately after use, don’t leave buckets of water such as mop buckets, unattended, and ensure if you have a pool that you have a correctly installed pool fence and never leave babies or young children unsupervised in or near the pool.
- Wet floors can be a hazard for anyone, particularly new walkers – clean up spills promptly and keep toddler off freshly mopped floors and bathrooms.
- Never leave your baby unattended on an adult or siblings bed, in a highchair, on a table, chair, couch, or bench.
- Do not put bouncers, baby swings, baby seats or “bumbo”s on the bench, or on any other surface than on the floor, or too close to heaters, ovens or fireplaces.
- Curtain ties or blind strings can be a strangulation hazard, remove or tie up high and out of reach.
- Power points should be covered and be mindful that babies and toddlers don’t have access to metal objects (such as spoons and forks) that could be forced into sockets and electrical appliances.
- Plastic bags should be stored where baby or toddler cannot access them, as they can get them over their heads.
- Remove all packaging, tags and stickers before giving a new toy to children.
- Ensure toys are suitable for the age of the child age.
- If a toy or its parts are smaller than a 20 cent coin then it is a potential choking hazard.
- Teddy bears with hard plastic noses and eyes can come off and be choking hazards for babies, as well as if they are stuffed with crumbled foam, beans or beads the stitching can come undone then the stuffing may become a choking hazard.
- Toys with ribbons, strings, rope or elastic straps that baby could either swallow or get caught around their neck.
- Do not let children play with hazardous objects. (Sharp objects, Plastic bags, Small items smaller than a 20 cent coin.)
- Baby walkers can be dangerous on stairs; even going down single step down can cause a walker to tip over.
Feeding & Meal Time
- Check the temperature of children’s food before giving it to them, including the centre of larger pieces of food as the outside can feel just warm to touch and inside can be hot and cause burns.
- Always make up bottles of formula according to the instructions on the tin.
- Do not microwave bottles as this can cause hot-spots and burn baby.
- Do not prop bottles, hold baby’s bottle while they are drinking.
- When introducing solids, only introduce one new food at a time, early in the day, in case of an allergic reaction or intolerance.
- Don’t give babies and young toddlers hard foods, such as uncooked carrot, or things that can get lodged in their airways, such as whole grapes, nuts or popcorn.
- Don’t leave baby or toddler unsupervised with food, any food is a potential choking harzard.
- Don’t leave baby or toddler unsupervised in their highchair, even with a safety harness.
- Sleep baby on their back from birth. Do not put baby on their tummy or side for sleep.
- Keep baby’s face and head uncovered for sleep (including hats, hooded jumpers)
- Do not put a pillow, bumpers, soft toys, quilts or doonas/duvets, sheep skins, in your baby’s cot.
- Put baby in their cot or bassinet so their feet are at the bottom of the cot, so they cannot wriggle down in their cot and underneath their bedding.
- Dress baby warmly but be mindful that little babies can overheat very easily and this can be dangerous.
- Don’t put baby to bed in clothes with ribbons, ties, loose threads or loose buttons, or under curtain ties or strings.
- If you intend on bed sharing with your baby always treat wherever your baby sleeps as an infant sleep space, don’t put baby to sleep in your own bed with pillows, duvets, heavy blankets, pillow top mattress.
- Your baby still needs to sleep on their back in your bed.
- Do not bed share after you or your partner have been drinking alcohol, smoking, taking drugs or prescription medication that causes drowsiness, if you are extremely tired, or a heavy sleeper.
- Do not sleep with your baby on the couch.
- Do not wrap or swaddle baby when bed sharing.
- Unplanned bed sharing or un-appropriate sleep space for an infant is generally less safe than planned bed sharing, so if you don’t intend on sleeping with your baby, but you are feeling especially tired, try to sit up, drink some water, focus on something, watch a movie, use your smartphone, rather than accidentally falling asleep with your baby.
Out & About
- Always use age appropriate, correctly installed, fitted car restraint for your baby, toddler or child.
- Always use the safety harness while baby is the pram, use the wrist strap while walking, and engage the breaks while the pram is stationary.
- Don’t leave baby in the pram out of sight, just in case anything happens to the pram while unattended.
- Don’t leave children unattended in shopping trolleys.
- Talk to your children about potential hazards as they get older – for example, not crossing the road without holding an adults hand, not to pat dogs they don’t know or haven’t asked permission.
- Use adequate sun protection for your children, sunscreen, hat, protective clothing, seek out shade in the middle of the day.
- When visiting another house, Be mindful of objects other people may have left lying around in reach of children, such as tools, chemicals, poisonous plants, their animals or insects that might be harmful.
Regardless of how well you prevent injuries, accidents can still happen. It’s a good idea to have a list of emergency numbers displayed somewhere easily (such as the fridge) including Health Direct, an After Hours home visits doctor, you’re child’s GP, the Poisons Information Hotline and of course call 000 in an emergency.