Like many places inside our homes, outdoor areas are usually designed to meet adults' needs. They often aren't designed with children in mind, yet children will spend more time in the backyard than adults.
When designing outdoor areas there are a number of areas that warrant careful consideration and planning.
Young children are inquisitive by nature. The bathroom offers children numerous play items that can be potentially hazardous, if not life threatening. Accidents in the bathroom can occur quickly and have long lasting consequences.
Do not leave young children unattended - children need to be supervised at all times. Do not rely on older children to watch younger ones, and if you have to leave the bathroom take your child with you.
Learn resuscitation and basic first aid in case injuries do occur.
The bedroom is often more than just a place for children to sleep. It can be a place where children retreat and play, meaning that special safety design features need to be taken into consideration.
It is also a good idea to have a smoke detector installed in children's bedrooms, or in hallways between each bedroom.
Check smoke detectors on a monthly basis, and change batteries once a year.
Driveways pose the same dangers as minor roads.
Vehicles, neighbourhood dogs, strangers, neighbourhood ponds and water features are all potential hazards.
Separate all play areas from the driveway, teach children that it is not a safe place to play, and supervise them when in the driveway.
Crush injuries from items such as car doors, garage doors and/or electric gates are seen as common injury risks to children in garages. There are also risks from tools stored in this area, such as drills or sanders, which are not only dangerous items for children to be around but can also be seen as crush hazards. Finally poisons or chemicals, which are also common items stored in garages can also be hazardous to children.
It is important that access to the garage is restricted or children are supervised when the garage is being used.
The kitchen contains a number of potential hazards for young children. These hazards range from hot fluids, poisons, fires, electrical items and fall risks.
By incorporating simple design features into new homes and making safety adaptations to existing homes, the number of potential hazards to children can be minimized.
The laundry is an area in which many household jobs are performed. There are a number of injury risks associated with the laundry area, including falls on wet floors, burns from hot irons, scalds from hot water, drowning, electrocution and poisoning from various cleaning products.
Although the laundry is not an area that children will frequent as often as other home areas, precautionary measures are still vital.
It is essential that children's access is restricted to laundry items, and to the laundry itself. Fit a moveable barrier across entry point(s) to keep small children from entering the laundry unaccompanied.
The living area serves as a place in the home where all members of the family can play or relax.
Many living rooms are children's play areas and contain storage areas for children's toys.
It is important to remember that the living area also needs to cater for the safe storage of adults' items such as video recorders, stereos, DVDs, CDs and liquor cabinets.
Design a safe play area within the living area, which can be easily seen from the kitchen. This will assist with supervision and ensure children are in a safe environment.
The garden shed harbours many dangerous items such as poisons, chemicals, tools and also creepy crawlies. The poisons or chemicals kept in garden sheds tend to be strong and very dangerous not only to children but also pets.
It is best to keep the garden shed locked when it is not in use, restrict access to the shed and keep children out to avoid the risks of injury.