With the holidays around the corner, take our tips on preventing accidents in the home or out and about – especially where young children are concerned.

If you’re having a party with plenty of glasses put out for guests, make sure they’re on a high surface, and don’t use a table cloth that can be pulled on by curious children.

Don’t allow children to run with sharp objects like knives, scissors or sosatie sticks. Really sharp knives should be kept completely out of reach of children.


If there are small children in the house, never leave electric sockets open, and switch them off when not in use. Babies and toddlers love sticking their fingers into things, and can electrocute themselves by sticking them into plug holes. Use child-safe plug adaptors in any empty sockets (these are plastic covers with prongs that fit into the holes).

Always switch off and unplug hair dryers, flat irons or curling tongs when not in use if there are babies or small children around.

Ensure that all children (and adults) know that water and electricity make a very dangerous mix. If using electric appliances in the bathroom, make sure they are well away from water, and never use a wet cloth to clean any appliance that is switched on.

Even if there are only adults in the house, don’t leave pot or pan handles sticking out over the edge of the stove or countertop where they could get knocked. You don’t want your lunch or dinner to end up on the floor, and you certainly don’t want to have to take anybody to a hospital to have burns treated.

Always make sure that electric cords (of kettles, toasters, table lamps, TVs or other appliances) are tucked away and not hanging over the edge of a counter, desk or table. Small children can get horribly burnt if they pull on the cord of a boiling kettle, and they can cut themselves badly if a TV screen or lamp is broken. So keep all cords and cables out of reach.


Many common household products can be fatal if a child or pet eats or drinks them. Oven and drain cleaners, insecticides, lighter fluid, rat poison, fertiliser and snail bait can all kill. Even household cleaner and perfume can make a child very sick. So keep all non-edible substances out of the reach of small kids.

Never put alcohol or anything poisonous in a cooldrink bottle or other innocent-looking container. Children can easily mistake it for something tasty and poison themselves.

Keep all medications well out of the reach of children. Young kids are notoriously curious, and might easily mistake a bottle of medicine for cool drink, or tablets for tasty sweets.


Don’t leave matches or cigarette lighters lying around where children can find them.

Never leave any fire unattended if there are kids around. Always blow out candles when you leave a room. Make sure any gas bottles are well away from any source of heat, and turned off when not in use.

If a pot or pan of oil catches fire, never use water to put it out – this will just make the flames bigger. You need to starve the flames of oxygen – so if possible cover the pot or pan with a thick layer of newspaper or cardboard, or use a dry towel or blanket.

Never pour paraffin or any other fuel directly from its container onto a fire. If the fire jumps from its source to the fuel container you’ve got a serious problem!


Never leave babies or small children alone around swimming pools, rivers, dams or at the beach. If possible, water-proof your kids by teaching them to swim as soon as they can walk – or even before. But even if they can swim, make sure that there’s always an adult on hand when they are near water. Babies can drown surprisingly quickly in just a little water – and we all know how fast, and far, toddlers can move!


  • A variety of plasters
  • Sterile gauze dressings in various sizes
  • Rolled bandages
  • Safety pins
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Distilled water for cleaning wounds
  • Sterile eye dressings
  • Eyewash and eye bath
  • Disposable sterile gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Skin rash/insect bite cream or spray
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Wound disinfectant
  • Painkillers (aspirin should not be given to children under 16)
  • Antihistamine tablets (for allergic reactions).

Jet Club members get FREE access to Jet Club’s helplines

Personal Health Advisor
0800 00 45 45
(SA & Namibia)

From Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland, dial
+2711 991 8258


Poisoning: MEDpages
0860 10 40 37 or +2721 441 9700

The Children’s Hospital Trust:
+2721 686 7860
TIPS TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS AT HOME TIPS TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS AT HOME Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on October 24, 2017 Rating: 5
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