THE home can be a very hazardous place for babies and young children. Children are naturally inquisitive and adventurous and however careful we are, the unexpected can occur, such as when a friend's son decided he was Superman and, convinced he could fly, broke his arm jumping off the top of our stairs.

Most accidents in the home happen to young children aged under four. Although it's easy to become paranoid about your children's safety, it is important to have a "child safe" home.

Here are a few tips to point you in the right direction:

* Don't leave your baby alone even for a moment on a raised surface - such as when you are changing their nappy.

* Never leave your child alone to crawl, especially near stairs - always have a stair gate at the top and bottom of your stairs.

* Small children can fall easily as they learn to walk - the garden is a particularly dangerous place. Never leave a child by an open pond or swimming pool.

* Small babies choke very easily. Never leave a child alone to eat

* Fit locks and catches that prevent them from being opened more than 10 cms. Laminated or toughened glass should be used in doors.

* Move all glass, china and heavy objects well out of reach .

* TV s are often on wobbly stands - make sure they can't be pulled over.

* Babies love poking their fingers into objects - protect your electric sockets with socket covers.

According to ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) fires in the home pose one of the greatest risks to children and playing with matches and lighters frequently start them. To help protect your children:

* Keep matches and lighters out of reach, always use a fireguard, secure it to the wall if possible.

* Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure it is tested every year.

* Fit a smoke alarm - check the batteries regularly.

Scalds are very common, spilt hot drinks cause most injuries. Precautions include:

* Not holding a child and a hot drink at the same time.

* Keeping all hot drinks well out of reach.

* Keeping young children out of the kitchen if possible.

* Using rear hot plates when cooking - saucepan handles can be a tempting sight.

* Testing bath and shower water and teaching your child to do it as they get older.

l Keeping hot irons out of reach.

* Making sure you have a tumble drier that can't be opened when in use and that doesn't automatically start when the door is closed.

Children also have a fascination with putting things into their mouths/noses/ears. To help prevent these sorts of accidents:

* Keep medicines, cleaning fluids, bleach, washing up tablets out of sight and out of reach, in a locked cupboard if possible.

* Never keep bleach or other cleaning fluids in other containers such as jam jars.

* When buying toys make sure there are no small parts that can be pulled off and swallowed.

* Keep knives, razor blades, DIY tools and sewing kits locked away (one of my children cut her tongue licking a disposable razor thinking it was a lolly.)

* Children can choke on cords - make sure any blind or curtain cords are out of reach.

In the bath and around water:

* Never leave your child alone near water - it can take less than three centimetres of water for a child to drown. Putting a non slip mat in the bath or shower is a good idea.

As a child grows older they will be more aware of danger and they will be able to understand the rules of safety. It is also a good idea to:

* Help them to memorise their phone number and address

* Teach them how to use and answer the phone

* Tell them how to call 999 and when it is appropriate

Other useful sources of safety information can be found on the websites for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents ( or the Child Accident Prevention Trust (

* Anne Sutton runs the nannying agency, Internannies, and has 30 years experience in childcare.