Safety begins at home

Someone once told me that when your child starts exploring, you need eyes in the back of your head to make sure they're safe. They weren't kidding. Suddenly your home seems to be full of potential hazards. In fact, according to child safety specialists childalert, every year one million children under the age of 14 are taken to A&E after suffering accidents in the home.

'You have to be vigilant,' says Dr Maggie Redshaw from Pampers Parenting Village ( 'Make sure your home is child proof, keep medicines out of reach, and fit cupboard locks and catches on all doors – particularly under the sink, which can contain harmful chemicals.'

Sound advice. You should also keep kettles, hot drinks and saucepans out of reach, check all electrical sockets (one plug per socket is best), cover up garden ponds, invest in fireguards, socket covers and stair gates, make sure you use the latch on the front door, and secure all heavy furniture (including wardrobes and chests of drawers) to the wall. And it's not just younger children who are at risk – make sure older kids know the dangers (like never sticking a knife in a toaster), too.

As it's Child Safety Week , it's another good reason to look around your home, assess the risks and make a list of any improvements needed. It should only take an hour – but it will be worth every minute.

written by Liz Jarvis