For babies and toddlers
Toddlers by nature are curious, and unfortunately lack a strong sense of danger, and this can bring its own unique child safety issues.
Never leave a child alone around stairs, open bannisters, doors or windows including those that are gated. If you can, install a safety gate at the door of your child’s room to prevent the baby from reaching the top of the stairs. Test these barriers for any faults or the possibility of your toddler moving past them.
Lock windows particularly upper-story windows when you are not in the room with your child, restrict window openings, or shield them with firmly attached window guards.
Ensure that sharp objects like knives and scissors are not within their reach. Medication and other hazardous chemicals should be kept out of children’s reach.
Driveway safety— During the school holiday period disruptions to the usual family routines (for example, visitors coming to your home) can increase children’s exposure and the risk of a driveway run-over occurring. Always make sure you know where your children are before you or anyone else reverses out of a driveway.
Ensure that when using the roadways, children are not in the line of traffic. Be sure to hold the hands of the younger children to ensure their safety on the roadways.
Ensure toddlers safety especially around open water including pools, buckets, and bath areas to avoid the risk of drowning.
For older children
When we cannot be around to watch them for every second of the day, and when we are also trying to instil in them a sense of responsibility as they mature, it is important to set specific ground rules.
Limit the need for the child to answer the door or phone unsupervised. If your child does answer the phone or door, be very clear on what they are to say.
Older children should not be allowed to supervise younger ones.
Know your child or teen’s whereabouts at all times.
Keep an open line of communication with children so they can inform you of any inappropriate conversations or if they have been abused.
Children in groups should be advised to look out for each other and to inform a trusted adult if one of them is being harmed.
Ensure children are aware of what to do and who to call, in the event of an emergency.
For children left in c/o relative/neighbour/guardian
If you do have to leave your child with a caregiver, communicate with your child and ensure that they feel safe and comfortable with their caregiver and be sure that person is responsible and can be trusted.
Don’t be afraid to ask your child how was their day to ascertain if any incident would have occurred that warrants your attention
Check regularly on your children. Call them and the adult to find out how they are doing during the course of the day
Set expectations from day one. Be explicit in your instructions (dos and don’ts) and, if necessary, write out a list of important points regarding your expectations both for the caregiver and the child.
Listen to what your children say and what they do not say. You know your child so be aware when their behaviour changes.
Create a schedule for yourself and your caregiver. Don’t take advantage of your caregiver by coming home late or changing days/times last minute. This can force the caregiver to multitask between their own chores and the responsibility of caring for the child. It can also be a source of frustration for both the caregiver and child which may lead to further abusive behaviours.
Discuss flexibility: what happens if you need to work late or leave early? What will happen if your relative gets sick? Have alternatives available so that chances will not have to be taken with your child’s safety.
Have a plan for your child’s care and supervision and make intentional and deliberate steps to follow through on this plan.