Parenting Vivian | 03 Jul 2011 09:39 am

Ensuring Your Child’s Bedroom Is Safe

Use the following check list to help you make sure that your child is safe in their bedroom.

1. Are electrical appliances safe enough to be used?

Electrical fires are more likely to start in a bedroom than in any other room in the house. And more fires start in winter due to the increase in indoor activities and use of lighting, heating and other appliances. Be sure to check that electrical cords are not frayed or trapped against walls where heat can build up. If you must use portable heaters in a child抯 room, then put a guard around it as though it was an open fire as children cannot be expected to understand the importance of keeping bedding, clothing etc. or themselves away from the heater.

2. Are electric blankets in use?

You must not use electric blankets for young children as bedwetting can cause electrocution. Instead use a hot water bottle filled with warm (not boiling) water. Place a cover on the hot water bottle to protect against burns and make sure the hot water bottle you use complies with safety standards.

3. How safe is the flooring?

Make sure that the bedroom floor is being kept as clear of toys and other objects as possible to prevent falls. Consider covering any hard floors with a soft impact-absorbing material but avoid rugs and mats as these can be a trip hazard.

4. Are your bunk beds safe?

Only use bunk beds that comply with safety standards and therefore offer adequate protection from falls. It is also better if the ladder is permanently fixed to the bed. As for the age when a child is old enough to use a bunk bed, there is some debate. Some safety advisors suggest that only children over six years of age should use a bunk bed while others place the threshold at those over nine year old. Children should not be allowed to play on the top bunk especially with scarves or long pieces of string etc. (these could get caught and cause strangulation). Any object in the child抯 hand could become a potential hazard if they fall on to it. The same is true of any objects left on the floor.

5. Is a computer set up for the Internet?

It is not advisable to provide internet access to your child if they are able to surf the web unsupervised in their bedroom. Instead, locate the computer outside the bedroom as this reduces the child抯 ability to seek out inappropriate information and allows you to monitor the websites your child visits. Consider informing your child of the possible dangers of using the internet and especially the ability of adults to talk to youngsters through chat rooms. It is also possible to purchase child safety software.

6. Are open flames being used?

Young children can become fascinated by fire. Every year many kids light fires in their bedrooms using lighters, matches and other ignitables. Be sure to keep matches and lighters locked away and check under beds and in closets for evidence of fire related behaviour. Be careful when using candles in your child抯 bedroom as they may attempt to light them when you are not supervising.

7. Consider if any other objects that could be dangerous.

There are many everyday items which, when improperly used by children, can become dangerous. Think about potential hazards. A curtain or blind cord for example is a strangulation risk so avoid using them. And bookshelves should be firmly anchored to the wall to prevent them from being pulled over.

8. Can they open windows or reach open windows?

Children are very inquisitive and don抰 always see the dangers of an open window. Make sure that small children are not able to reach open windows or open them by themselves. Window locks should be fitted but make sure that the keys are somewhere that is easily accessible to you in case of fire. It is difficult to balance keeping your child safe with giving them a means of escape during a fire. Older children should be taught window safety, especially if they have small brothers and sisters who are sometimes in the room with them.

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