All children require a safe environment at home. However, having a child with sight loss, or being a blind or partially sighted parent, means you might have to take some extra precautions to make sure your house is free from hazards for your children.
Creating a safe home environment
Children are naturally inquisitive and it is important to put safety precautions in place before they reach the next stage in their development and might put themselves in danger. For example:
- Do not leave a baby on a high surface - today might be the day your child learns to roll for the first time.
- Put up stair gates before your child can crawl and climb.
- Use childproof locks on cupboards and drawers containing medicines or poisonous substances such as bleach, breakables such as glass or china or sharp objects such as knives, graters or blenders.
- Protect your children from hot ovens, hobs, kettles and irons.
Where someone in the family has sight loss
If someone in the family is blind or partially sighted there are additional safety measures that you can take:
- Learn about your house from your child's height and size. Consider crawling round it on your hands and knees to get a child's perspective and discover any safety hazards.
- Different floor coverings (carpet, textured rugs, laminate or wood floors) will help a young child with sight loss understand different rooms and locate him or herself in the house.
- Encourage tidying of toys into plastic crates to avoid tripping hazards. Avoid allowing toys to be left in the kitchen, where you could trip over while carrying something hot. Putting things away will develop organisational skills that are also helpful for a blind or partially sighted child in locating items they want to play with next time.
- Leave doors fully open or fully closed to prevent head injuries.
- Pin back trailing wires from telephones or computers.
- Pad sharp edges of furniture, shelves or on fireplaces.
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