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Toddler-proofing your home and car

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Keep your child safe

Did you know that every year in the UK the NHS spends more than £275 million covering the cost of childhood accidents? The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Child Accident Prevention Trust have lots of advice for keeping your little one safe.

Your baby-proof home needs an upgrade now that your little one is more mobile.

You'll still be using all the socket guards, stair gates and other safety kit you installed before your baby started crawling. But now you have a much more agile and enquiring child to deal with, and you can bet that wherever they shouldn't go is where they will want to be! And if you want an idea of how many hazards there are in your home, get down on your hands and knees and look at things from their perspective. Scary, right?

At home

  • Anchor floor lamps and secure cords so they can't be pulled
  • Cushion sharp corners on tables and cabinets
  • Keep remote controls out of reach
  • Push chairs in up against tables to prevent them being used as a climbing frame
  • Keep the bathroom door shut, loo seat down (and locked) and bath empty
  • Shorten the cords on blinds and curtains so your toddler can't get tangled in them
  • Move all ornaments and prized books from lower shelves (there's nothing more enticing to a toddler than eye-level goodies)
  • Cook on the back hobs and add a safety catch to low-level ovens and grills. Turn pan handles away from stray hands
  • Never leave hot drinks or food near the edge of the counter top or table
  • Move plants out of reach they're not for eating!
  • Irons, straighteners and curling tongs can burn children up to eight minutes after they've been turned off be careful

On the road

  • This is the time they will move from a baby seat to a Group 1 toddler seat. These are mostly forward facing and should, wherever possible, be used on the back seat as the air bag in the front seat could cause injury if it inflates and the baby seat is too close.
  • If a child isn't in the right booster or car seat, they can be injured by the seat belt in a crash. Legally, children under 12 (unless they are taller than 135cm) are not allowed to travel anywhere in a car without an appropriate child restraint usually a child car seat or booster.
  • Buying second-hand seats isn't safe for your toddler because you may not be able to tell if they've been damaged.
  • Make sure your toddler's car seat is the right one for your model of car, his or her height and weight, and that it's easy to fit so that you're not tempted to leave it behind on short journeys (which is when the majority of accidents happen).