Most injuries to children under the age of 5 happen at home. Nearly 9 out of 10 injuries can be prevented by thinking and acting safely.
It's important to make your home indoors and outside as safe as possible. This is called child-proofing
There is no substitute for adult supervision of a small child. Watch your child at all times as children do not understand danger. Teach them about safety and lead by example. Remember that young children are not capable of being responsible for their own safety.
If your child is looked after in another person's home you need to make sure this is also child-proofed. Share the information on this page with them.
Get down to child level
You might not always notice risks at child level. Go down on your hands and knees and work your way around the home. Go from room to room to see what areas look both dangerous and inviting to a small child.
In each area, ask yourself if there is anything that might be a danger to a child at this level. Make sure you include all rooms including the hallway, stairs and landing.
Do the same outside the home, including driveway, balcony, garden, avenue, shed or garage.
Once you spot a potential danger, you can then take action to sort it out.
Use the HSE's child proofing check list while you do this. This is available from your public health nurse. There is also a wall chart with more information on child-proofing and first aid.
Keep personal items out of reach
Keep handbags out of reach. Children are curious and will often take items out them. Handbags can contain items like medicine and cosmetics that could poison your child.
Also keep car keys and keys for your home out of sight and reach of children. Children sometimes let themselves out of the home, or into a car, without anyone noticing.
There are many different types of child-proofing equipment you can use to help make your home safer, including:
- cupboard locks and latches
- corner protectors
- window restrictors that don't need tools to open (in event of a fire)
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing and using any safety equipment.
Remember that child-resistant bottles and containers can still be opened by children. It's just more difficult for them. Always keep medicines and chemicals out of sight and reach of children. Place in a high and locked cupboard or press.