Hesperian Health Guides
Chapter 9: Safety
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When children first begin to crawl and walk, we often pay a lot of attention to their safety. As a child learns to move around, he also learns to avoid things that might harm him. Children who can see can avoid many dangers. But you need to be extra careful if a child cannot see well.
There are many things you can do to make your home safer and to teach your child about hazards. And by working together with people in your community, you can make your village or neighborhood safer for your child and others — often these changes will benefit many people.
To help your child move about the house safely
Cover sharp corners on furniture, cupboards, and objects. Remember, not all dangerous corners and edges are at floor level.
Try to keep furniture and objects in the same place, both inside and outside your home. Tell your child if you move something.
To help your child identify dangers
Warn your child about hazards such as fires, hot pans, and wet floors. Place a marker, like a mat, to help him know how close he can come.
Sonu, the fire is hot. Stop at the edge of the mat so you don’t get too close.
Now the fire is out and the ashes are cool, Sonu. You can walk by here now.
To help your child move safely when the ground is not flat
Make the floor as even as you can by fixing holes and bumps.
Put railings next to stairs inside and outside your home. Put a gate across the stairway until he can crawl or walk up and down safely.
These are a few examples. You will find your own safety problems and solutions in your home. For more information about helping your child move about safely, see Chapter 10 on “Movement.”
To make the area outside your home more safe
Cover all open wells, ditches, and holes. Show your child where these are and explain what and why they are there.
Make fences safe to touch and high enough that a child will not trip over them. Show him where the fences are and explain what they are for.
Put a barrier between your house and a busy street until your child learns to stay away from traffic. A sign can also remind people to drive slowly.
If you know other parents with blind children you can work on safety together. Try meeting with your neighbors to discuss how the community can be made safer for all children. (See information about parents groups.)