In the light of the Grenfell Tower tragic events, all nannies should do a child safety at home risk assessment, whether they are still in their old job, or starting a new job soon. The same applies if you are travelling this summer with the family to a hotel, resort, villa or holiday home.
You will be very surprised to conclude that parents, having lived in the same environment for a long time, do not see the same potential risks as you do as a new person coming into their home. It is very important to ensure that your workplace is safe not only for the children you are looking after but for you as well.
So what are the major potential risks for child safety at home?
- Stairs – If you live in a house with stairs, suggest that the parents install some baby gates at the bottom and top of the stairs to prevent crawling babies/small children from falling.
- Fridge/Freezer – Toddlers and young children might think that the fridge/freezer can be a good hiding place, so ask parents to buy a special lock for it.
- Oven/cooker – To prevent serious burns, suggest to the parents that they should buy a special lock for the oven. Be very careful while cooking and try to keep babies/small children away from the kitchen. When cooking with toddlers/older children in the kitchen, explain the risks of using the oven/cooker and never leave them unattended.
- Toilet – Use special locks for the toilet to prevent children from trying to drink water from the bowl or throwing things inside.
- Baths – Never leave children unsupervised at bath times, not even for 1 minute. It can take only a few seconds for a child to drown in a bath so make sure that you take everything you might need (nappies, clothes, dummies) in the bathroom before bath time.
- Irons – When you or the housekeeper do the ironing, ensure that the children are not around and never leave the iron unattended.
- Cleaning products/chemicals – They should ALWAYS be stored in a locked cupboard or somewhere high, where children cannot reach.
- Medicine – The same applies for medicine, it should be stored in a locked cupboard or somewhere high where children cannot reach, not even with a stool/chair.
- Food – All nannies SHOULD be First Aid trained and should know how to act in case of choking, especially when it comes to weaning babies.
- Toys – Always ensure that the child you are looking after is playing with age appropriate toys, especially if he/she has got older siblings. Small parts can be very dangerous if swallowed so be very careful.
- Knives and forks – Again, these should be kept in a cupboard or drawer which should be locked at all times.
- Sockets – Some families use plug socket covers (although these products have been suggested to not be particularly safe) discuss with the parents the best way to keep the children from introducing thin/sharp things in the sockets and possibly electrocute themselves.
- Fire alarms/exits – To avoid a tragedy, when you take up a new job (or even now in your existing job, if you haven’t thought about it until now), check that fire alarms are installed and make sure you know where the fire exits are in case of a fire.
- Car seats – Child safety at home doesn’t stop at inside the house. Never drive with children in the car who are not in care seats/wearing seat belts, depending on their age. You can read more about these guidelines here.
- Pools – Never leave a child unattended when at the pool, not even if he/she is a good swimmer.
- Open windows/balconies – At home or away, never leave an open window/balcony unattended, not even for a few seconds, as children have amazing imagination, and you never know when it pops into their minds that they want to fly like Superman 🙁
If you are looking for a good kit to baby proof your employer’s house, this one has a lot to offer but do your research, there are quite a few good ones out there that provide child safety at home products.
At Polo and Tweed, we do our best to match our lovely nannies with our great families, so if you are looking for a job this summer/autumn or you have a friend who is looking, please do not hesitate to contact us today on 0203 858 0233.