‘Homes are not built with child safety in mind’

Public campaign launched uniting child safety activists with interior designers and architects.

By
July 5, 2010 05:55
1 minute read.
The treehouse. 'The concept was to build a square

homes tzahala dining 311. (photo credit: Uriel Messa)

 
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One of the reasons why 75 children die and 15,000 more are taken to emergency rooms during the two months of summer vacation is that homes are not designed with youngsters in mind, according to Beterem, the National Center for Child Safety and Health.

The voluntary organization held an online press conference on Sunday to announce a public campaign uniting child safety activists with interior designers and architects.

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Most parents think the home is the safest place for children and that it is possible to leave all but the youngest children alone at home during the summer, said Sigal Avitan, a strategic adviser with expertise in real estate and design.

But it is not safe, she said, unless parents invest thought into making it safe.

Beterem director Orly Silbinger noted that kitchen countertops are often too low, floors are slippery (especially when wet), microwave ovens are easily accessible, railings are too low, there are heavy objects that can be pulled away from the walls, and sofas are placed near low, unbarred windows. In addition there are too many toys on the market that can cause harm.

Ariella Shneur, an interior designer and architect and chairman of the Association of Interior Design Architects said that Israel has no official standards for interior designers and anyone who takes a course that lasts a few months, or even a few weeks, can claim to be a professional.

Among the recent home accidents involving unsupervised children were a twoyear- old boy who suffered a serious head injury when he fell from the third to first floor in the hall of his apartment building; a six-year-old boy who was seriously burned on his upper body when fire broke out from a candle he lit at home while alone; a fouryear- old girl was moderately injured when a glass entry door exploded on her head; and a three-year-old girl who choked on a peanut left on the floor and had to have it removed from her lungs.

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