Wondering what you need to do to keep your curious toddler safe at home? Want to know which is the best kind of stair gate to install? Your questions were answered by home safety expert Roger Cheetham, in our Wednesday Lunch Club Q&A.
Here at Mother&Baby we bring you the Wednesday Lunch Club – a chance to get brilliant advice for your parenting questions from a top expert.
For 55 years, the Clippasafe team has been addressing dangers around the home, as well as in the car and out and about; helping to eliminate them with innovative products and giving parents peace of mind. Recently, they even had the honour of providing a harness for HRH Prince George.
As Managing Director of family company Clippasafe, Roger is at the forefront of child injury prevention and has advised parents on all aspects of keeping the home environment safe.
If you missed our Facebook Q&A session on July 1, 2015 with home safety expert and Managing Director of Clippasafe, Roger Cheetham, don't worry - you can read the full session here:
"My son has just started walking and he's into everything! What is the biggest risk to him in the home and how do I protect him?"
Roger: The greatest number of injuries to exploring children are from falls on the stairs and getting into cupboards and drinking bleach or ingesting other substances. You need to fit a safety gate at both the top and bottom of the stairs and cupboard / drawerlocks on all child accessible cupboards. A safety gate across the kitchen doorway is also a good idea.
"There are so many types of safety gates to choose from, which is the best one to use?"
Roger: All safety gates have to comply to European Standards regardless of their design, so choose one which is the most convenient to use. I would always recommend that a "no trip" gate, ie one that doesn't have a bar running along the bottom, is fitted at the top of the stairs (see the Clippasafe Extendable No Trip Gate). Elsewhere, at the bottom the stairs and in doorways, a gate that easily closes itself after you have gone through is a good idea (see the Clippasafe Swing Shut Extendable Gates).
"I told my little boy not to go near the plug sockets in case he is electrified, but now he is genuinely scared of plugs and sockets. What can I do to alleviate his fears but also keep him safe?"
Roger: Actually, at a young age, that is not a bad thing. The last thing you want your child to be doing is going anywhere near plug sockets, or plugging things in (such as an electric fire) or unplugging things (such a your freezer or computer). If you would be more comfortable covering over the sockets and the plugs so that they are completely hidden, then Clippasafe manufacture the "Socket Protector" which can be easily fitted to any double or single wall socket. In time though I am sure that he will understand that so long as he is careful, the use of plugs will not hurt him.
"There is a theory at the moment, which says when your baby is learning to walk, you should remove all low tables to prevent injuries caused by the baby banging her head. What are your thoughts on this?"
Roger: It is not a bad idea to remove any potential hazards if you can, however, there is an argument that a child learning to walk needs as much around him as possible to grab hold of for stability. Why compromise your own lifestyle and remove your furniture? Fit "Corner Cushions" to all exposed corners, and "Corner Cushions" and "Edge Guards" to Fireplace Hearths / Surrounds and to low shelves. Do remove anything that may tip over, and also secure tall furniture to the wall with our "Anti-Tip Furniture Straps" and your large flat screen TV to the TV cabinet with our "Anti-Tip TV Straps".
"I have a really big bump already, and I'm only 7 months pregnant. Driving isn't very comfy and I'm also worried about how safe the seat belt is over my bump. Any tips?"
Roger: The Clippasafe "Bump Belt" will solve all of your problems. It gently keeps the lap portion of the seat belt below your bump and across the top of your thighs so that in the event of an accident or even during heavy braking, the seat belt pressure is absorbed by your hips and pelvis rather than it going through your bump. The added benefit when using the Bump Belt is that the vehicle lap belt stops being an irritation or a distraction to driving.
"I have a little boy who is just about to turn one year. My mother-in-law says I don't need any safety products - no stairgates, no cupboard locks, nothing - but just to teach my little one to respect. I disagree - what should I do?"
Roger: Young children are unpredictable and curious. You only need to take your eye off them for a minute and they can be on the stairs, have their fingers in a door, inside a cupboard, fall on the corner of a table or hearth. They are naturally inquisitive not naughty. Safety products in general help you to carry on your life without overly worrying about what damage your child could do to himself.
I would also like to add that during your mother-in-law's time of bringing up children, most of the Safety Products available on the market now were not available, when accidents in the home were very much higher than they are now. Today, child accidents usually occur in homes were there is an absence of safety products.