The average home is full of potential hazards for babies, and the risk of injury becomes greater as a baby becomes more mobile. One of the most serious risks to a small child is that of burns, and indoor heaters pose a particularly significant threat. Portable heaters and radiators can become extremely hot, and the smallest touch can cause a burn. It is essential that measures are taken to protect a child from such injuries, as a baby will have no concept of the potential dangers that a home can harbor.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Keep Heaters Out of Reach
Although this may seem obvious, far too many accidents happen in the home because the mobility of children develops at an astonishing rate. A combination of improved agility and an inquisitive nature may leave once inaccessible heaters within reach of small hands. The only practical solution may be to raise the heater off the floor, so it can be permanently located on a shelf. The safest possible option is to build a shelf that is fixed into a wall, and it should have its own dedicated electrical socket at the same height.
Keep Heaters Behind Barriers
There are some very effective barriers on the market which completely cut off all access to heaters and fires. However, using a large, immovable playpen may be just as effective. This solution should be adopted with care – children grow increasingly ingenious and adventurous as they grow older.
Use Non-Conductive Covers
Several baby-product retailers sell covers which are designed to cover the areas of a heater that are prone to becoming hot. They allow heat to circulate in the normal way, but they protect curious fingers from burns. The materials used for such covers will not become hot themselves, and they will be resistant to melting or burning. Parents should never attempt to make their own makeshift covers.
Buy a ‘Baby-Friendly’ Heater
Thought should be given to the suitability of a heater for homes with small children. Portable heaters should have automatic shut-off systems that completely cut off all power if the heater is moved or tipped over. Some heaters are marketed as ‘baby-friendly’, and they will have only a very small heated surface-area. Plastic is always a preferable material for venting, as metal vents can become extremely hot over time. The most suitable heater will heat air at the top of the unit, so the hottest area of the unit will more than likely be away from the child’s natural reach.
If it is at all possible, the heaters in a home should be fixed to walls like these electric heaters from Economy radiators. This allows for careful planning of protective measures such as guards and gates to be inserted. A portable heater may often be moved around the home in order to provide heat where it is needed, and that can put it in areas of accessibility. Children are naturally curious, and they will continue to explore their surroundings in increasingly vociferous ways as their confidence grows. It is impossible to make a home completely risk-free for a child, but it is realistic to remove the vast majority of unnecessary hazards.
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