As parents, we want to do everything in our power to protect our kids from dangers. However, sometimes it is so easy to overlook certain things that don't always stand out as hazards. We spend day in and day out managing installations in our client's lounge rooms. From our experience, we have compiled a checklist of the most common hazards to look out for in a lounge room and some tips on how to prevent accidents from happening.
(1) Pack away small items: Round, cylindrical or oval objects smaller than 3cm in diameter have the ability to completely block the throat of a young child and cause fatal choking. Make sure all objects that fit this description are packed away safely.
(2) Beware of missing battery covers: Batteries found in watches, hearing aids, greeting cards and toys are especially dangerous due to their button like appearance. These batteries are actually higher in voltage than traditional batteries too, so if a child swallows one, it can get lodged in the oesophagus and cause severe damage.
(3) Exposed power: Your child could easily unplug a cord and stick a metal object into one of the holes on a power board/power socket, causing them to electrocute themselves. Keep power boards hidden or replace them with child safe ones which are cleverly engineered to prevent this from happening (pictured below).
(4) Glass coffee tables: Table edges and corners are definitely hazards for energetic young children, especially those learning how to walk. If a glass table is necessary, find out what kind of glass your table is made out of. Tempered glass tops mean that they don’t shatter easily and are therefore a safer option.
(5) Cover your fireplaces: Install heat resistant barriers to prevent children falling and injuring themselves. Doors/barriers to fireplaces should be locked when not in use to prevent children from choking on small rocks (often found in artificial fireplaces) and to keep fire stoking tools out of reach.
(6) Photo frames: Frames are often hazards that are often overlooked. If a child knocks over a photo frame, the glass often shatters easily and can cause deep cuts. Put frames away or out of reach, replace glass with plastic or mount them on the wall for an aesthetically pleasing and safe solution.
(7) Mount your TV: There have been many accidents involving a child attempting to climb or accidentally knocking over a large TV unit. Having your TV mounted securely on the wall by a professional can prevent these accidents from happening. Professional installers also either conceal cables within your wall or neatly hide cables within ducting if this is not possible, which means eliminating trip hazards altogether.
(8) Hide your equipment: All too often we hear stories of kids jamming toys into gaming consoles and breaking off moving parts. To minimise damage to expensive items, we often recommend clients relocate all their equipment to a spare cupboard. This can even be in another room (e.g. kitchen, garage or a linen cupboard). This ends up being a win-win as it leaves your lounge room feeling a lot less cluttered and doesn't allow your children to access expensive devices.