The excitement builds up during festivities and all grownups are absorbed in redecorating interiors, preparing for celebrations and rituals, putting up lights such as lamps, candles, and fairy lights while being involved in a host of other activities. This is also a time when children have holidays and require more attention, while the smaller children are in an excitable state and keen to explore what the buzz is all about! Parents and elders are incredibly busy, but it is important to ensure that children stay safe during festivals and of course at all times. The living area which is the centre of most activities in Indian homes requires maximum care and attention to make the space kid-friendly and safe.
Steps you can take to make rooms kid friendly are mostly derived from common sense and are precautions which you would take normally, but it helps to be extra cautious during festivals.
Most of us put up additional lamps, hanging lanterns and fairy lights to highlight the festive spirit, and it is common to have loose wires running across the room. It is imperative then to ensure that all the wires are insulated appropriately and are above a certain height out of reach of children. Make sure that no wires run across the floor or along the walls at ground level to avoid electrical shocks and any accidental tripping over the wires. Similarly, extra plug points which are put up to accommodate more wires must be covered up completely.
During most festivals, we also light lamps and candles as a symbol of our celebration and joy. The open flames act as a beacon for children and it is absolutely essential that we keep all the lamps away from the reach of children even if there is a glass cover for the lamps. All heated surface must also be out of their grasp.
Puja thaalis with their colourful ingredients tend to attract children, but some of the powders such as vermillion can be poisonous and therefore you must make sure that you do not leave them around where they can pick it up and put it in their mouth. Or, keep them in a way that older children are also not able to access them easily.
Keep away objects that can topple over or can be pulled down by children and hurt them. Similarly, while redecorating remove all expensive artworks that can be damaged by children unknowingly. Children are quick to scratch, colour and pull at objects and therefore you must avoid décor objects that can either get damaged or injure children.
Keep some floor space free so that children can move around with ease and not have to worry about bumping into furniture and artifacts.
In general, do not keep harmful things lying around, make sure sharp edges of furniture are protected and remove small objects that can be swallowed.
Most importantly, it helps to teach children safe behaviour from an early age so that they learn this over a period of time.