Why Kenyan parents should baby proof their homes

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downloadKenyan parents are being advised to ensure that their homes are baby proofed before their children even begin crawling in a bid to avoid house accidents which have been found to be one of the most common causes of death in children over the age of one year.
“Those most at risk from a home accident are the 0-4 years age group. Falls account for the majority of non-fatal accidents while the highest numbers of deaths are due to fire. Most of these accidents are preventable through increased awareness, improvements in the home environment and greater product safety,” this is according to the UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Falling TVs have also been found to be a growing worry for children under the age of 18 according to 2011 study US Emergency room records that calls for greater prevention efforts. The study indicates that more than 17,000 children in this age bracket were treated each year for various TV related injuries in ERs across the United States – which is one child in every half hour.
Children under the age of 5 have however proved to be most at risk, accounting for 64 percent of the injuries, with 61 percent of the injured children being boys, the study shows. “A child‘s dying once every three weeks from a TV tip over. The numbers are going up making this a call to action. These are 100 percent preventable injuries,” said the study’s senior author, Dr Gary Smith, a pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
The above research is supported by another research which indicates that home accidents account for nearly two fifths of all accidental deaths in children under 15 years of age, and in the age group under five, more than half of accidental deaths occur in or about the home, says a journal on Injury Prevention.
Yet, most of these accidents are preventable through increased awareness, improvements in the home environment and greater product safety, say experts.
According to SafeKids.org, a global organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries, the website states that it is important to mount flat-screen TVs to the wall to prevent them from toppling off the stands. “Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you have a secure fit. In the case of old heavy TVs that are no longer in use in the home, ensure that they are placed on low, stable piece of furniture with no remote controls or toys on top which the kids may try to reach out for,” explained SafeKids.org.
In the case of preventing burns -especially scalds from hot water and liquids, and fires in the home, parents are advised to make a fire escape plan with two ways out of the house which you and your family are encouraged to practice the fire escape plan regularly. Keep matches, lighters, chemicals and lit candles out of kids reach, in addition, avoid smoking within the house especially when tired or taking medication that can cause you to be drowsy.
In baby proofing your electrical equipment and appliances, ensure all wires and seasonal lighting, such as holiday tree lights, are properly insulated with no exposed wires. Bind any excess cords from electrical equipment with a twist tie to prevent injury from chewing cords and unplug lights when not in use.
Furthermore, check electronic toys often for signs of wear and tear; any object that sparks, feels hot, or smells unusual must be repaired or thrown away immediately.
In Kenya, according to the Safety Standards Manual implemented by the government, the recommended emergency kit includes a first aid kit, whistles, fire blankets, flash torches, fire extinguishers and blue prints for buildings.
Yet, at a time when one in five children under age 15 years has suffered from home accidents serious enough to cause restricted activity for at least a day, various companies offering baby proofing products have gained ground in Kenya. They offer a wide selection of baby proofing and safety products, focusing on child safety which has enabled them to create a home environment that enhances safety for tots.
Very young tots aged 0 to four years are naturally curious. They learn about their environment by physically interacting with the things around them, through their senses. They like to touch, feel, and explore of which makes them more vulnerable as studies show that they are the most likely to be affected.
These companies have gone a step further and introduced unique safety products that come in all colors, ranging from yellows, to blues and pinks that are attached to furniture, bathroom and kitchen products and other areas indoors.
For the cabinet or drawer, their safety lock keeps potentially harmful products in cabinets out of children's reach by ensuring the drawer remains closed. It can either come in the form of a plastic solid or softer solid material that can bend and stretch. Also ideal as a toilet lock it contains two secured holders on both sides to securely hold the flap or door and the wall in place, making it difficult to open.
For tables, chairs, stools or furniture or surfaces that have edges, the corner edge guards prevent the baby's head or face injuries by creating a curved edge. According to the organisation, the guards which also protect damage of delicate furniture edges in the home come in various colors that match with any décor.
Moreover, kids often risk accidentally having their fingers pinched or crushed when a door slams. The door guards or finger pinch guards protect the door from slamming, preventing such accidents.
And while kids love to explore their surroundings, pushing, pulling and touching whatever they can, electric plug sockets seem to be no exception. These organisations provides for extension plug socket covers cover the sockets securely and reduces anxiety in parents while their kids play, say innovators.
Other products available include the diaper organiser inserts and bags. They turn any bag into a baby diaper bag with eight inner compartments, to carry towels, diapers bottle holder, change mat, toys and more.
Parents are however reminded that child proofing does not eliminate the need for supervision and should constantly move around with baby, even on fours, in order to understand their behaviors and help prevent injuries from how the baby relates with his environment.

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