Child safety in SA
Child Safe is a non-profit South African organization focused on promoting the optimal health and development of all children under the age of 18. According to Child Safe annually more than 7000 South African children, under 15 years die from injuries – this is at least 20 children a day.
In addition the organisation says for the thousands of children treated in hospital for injuries, most of the injuries could have easily been prevented.
Safe Kids SA, part of a global network of organisations campaigning against accidental childhood injury, reveals that in SA most of the leading cause of injuries in children are motor vehicle crashes relating to pedestrian fatalities, followed by fires, drowning, poisoning and falls.
Getting safety smart
Michelle Jacobs of Baby Proof, a Johannesburg company specialising in child proofing homes believes that most parents are aware of the concept of child safety, however understanding and implementing child safety devices can be somewhat overwhelming and complex – resulting in avoidance, procrastination therefore sadly possible neglect and trauma.
The home is a myriad of safety hazards and Jacobs says parents need to take responsibility by educating themselves on the dangers. “Ignorance is not bliss. You need to do research on the Internet, read child health plus safety literature. Parents need to even go as far as crawling on their hands and knees to get a child’s perspective on the home environment to help identify dangers.”
She further advises parents to keep ahead of safety issues and make sure to know what safety devices are out on the market.
“Don’t learn safety rules simply by accident,” emphasises Jacobs.
Child Safe, points out that children under 5 years of age are vulnerable to injury and need constant supervision and care. The parent or caregiver also needs to be aware of a child’s different developmental stages to know what injuries could possibly befall the child at a particular age.
At age 6 months for example, baby is able to roll around resulting in falls. For that reason don’t leave your child unattended on changing tables, beds, sofas or chairs. If he is crawling you will need safety gates at stairways and doors leading outside.
He is also learning to grasp things and wants to put things in his mouth. Small objects that can be easily choked on should be kept far away from little fingers.
Also never leave a small baby alone at bath time. Remember a small child can drown in about 5cm of water within 30 seconds.
At 6 to 12 months baby will start walking and fiddling with all sorts of things in the home. Be careful as he uses furniture and other supports to stand himself up as these could be unstable and fall on him. Dangerous household cleaners should be kept out of your baby’s reach and block off wall sockets too.
As your child gets older teach him about dangers that could cause him injury and always know that your child will still need supervision to keep him out of harms way.
Also when driving always make sure your child is strapped securely in a age-appropriate car seat, whether your child likes it or not. In considering your child’s safety never be careless or distracted or it could cost you your life.
Keep your child safe tips
- Make a list of emergency numbers for easy reference.
- Your first aid kit should be updated regularly and make sure it is accessible at all times.
- Lock away any poisonous substances or store in child proof containers.
- Beware of burns and scalds in the kitchen. Potential hazards to take note off – the stove, unprotected fireplaces, heaters, running hot water, hot liquids and foods etc.
- Keep electrical appliance cords short and use plug outlet protectors.
- Install locks and latches on cabinets and drawers to keep your child out.
- Install corner or edge bumpers on furniture, shelving or tables.
- Stickers on glass doors are a good idea to prevent a child from running into the glass.
Source: Michelle Jacobs of Baby Proof
Kids safety specialist websites:
Baby information resource:
Michelle Jacobs, 011 4310514, www.babyproof.co.za
Childsafe Organisation, 021 6855208