19 January, 2015 / Category: Blog
If you’ve got a little one on the way, or you’re already a parent, childproofing your home is essential to keeping your baby safe. But don’t wait until your child has already begun to crawl. Kids can become mobile almost overnight; so don’t get caught off guard. As a parent, you need to identify the areas of your home that could pose a potential threat. So, to help get you started, Infolio have put together a checklist of what to look for when you baby proof your home.
Install window guards or secure windows that can only be opened a few inches. It may sound unlikely, but babies can climb on furniture and tumble through open windows (even when they have fly screens in place).
Cupboards themselves aren’t hugely dangerous, but what’s stored inside them can be. Make sure that any cleaning products are kept out of reach of children’s prying hands. Also, get childproof safety latches for all cupboard doors, regardless of what they contain.
3. Cords and cables
Babies will pull and chew on anything, especially if they’re teething. Make sure that all electrical cables and blind cords are tied out of reach to avoid potential strangulation, or something falling on your child (lamps, televisions etc.)
Keep drawers closed when they are not in use—they make for perfect ladders. And be particularly wary of heavier cabinet drawers, putting out just one could cause the cabinet to fall over.
5. Electrical outlets
It’s a good idea to protect any electrical outlets with outlet covers. It’s very easy for a child’s finger to get inside these openings, causing an electric shock.
Loose or chipped tiles are an extreme hazard to babies who are just learning how to crawl or walk. The same rule applies for any loose carpet corners—make sure these are repaired. And if your home features rugs, ensure they have non-slip backing to avoid them slipping under tiny feet.
Toddlers love to climb when they’re first learning how to walk. For this reason you should always bolt any large furniture to the walls—heavy book cases, chests of drawers etc.
8. Sharp corners
Babies can easily bang their heads into the pointed corners of coffee tables, end tables, and dressers. You will need to cover any sharp corners to cushion any potential blows.
9. Fireplaces & heaters
This is a no brainer. Make sure you have a protective screen or guard up around any heat sources to avoid your baby being burnt. Having a well-stocked first aid kit on hand is also a good idea.
It might not seem like the sort of thing your child would touch, but rubbish can seem interesting for a curious child. Unfortunately, bins are full of hazards such as plastic bags and sharp cans. Make sure your bin has a lock, and keep it out of reach.
Plants are an elegant feature in any home, but they’re not always safe. Some plants are poisonous, and are capable of causing serious injury if pulled on top of your child. Make sure they’re kept out of reach.
To a small baby everything looks tasty, and when they’ve learned how to grab things, they’ll latch onto anything. It’s important to keep all knickknacks out of reach of your exploring child; they are serious choking hazards.
Make sure that pet food bowls are cleared when not in use. And if the animals are eating always move your little one away, this will stop them being hurt. And if you have a cat, make sure its litter tray is out of reach, or your little adventurer may use it for somewhere new to play.
In the family home, stairs pose one of the greatest risks to a child learning how to walk. Make sure you have fastening gates with vertical slats both at the top and the bottom of your stairs, this way your little one is protected from any nasty falls.
Where possible, try to cook on the back burners of your stovetop. This way, pans cannot be pulled over onto your child, along with their scalding contents.
Tablecloths may add a nice touch to dinnertime presentation, but when you have kids it’s best if they’re removed. Use placemats instead, this way the contents of your table can’t be pulled onto your child.
Whether it’s a small blender, or a wide screen TV, your appliances pose a threat to your exploring child. You need to keep your baby away from any cords of appliances that could be pulled down. If their cords are tugged hard enough, appliances may electrocute, burn, or crush your child.
18. Bath time
A baby can drown in as little as an inch of water, so never leave them alone when it’s time for a bath. You also do not want your bath too hot. If possible, it’s prudent to change the temperature on your water heater—setting it to 120F or lower to avoid scalding your baby’s skin. Equally as important is keeping your baby out of reach of the tap, and placing non-slip mats in the tub to stop your baby sliding.
Always make sure your baby’s bed is positioned away from any windows to avoid intruders looking in, or your baby getting out. As soon as your baby is strong enough, they’ll start pulling themselves up. Once they reach this age, remove any mobiles or other objects the baby could use to help them to climb out. Babies are smarter than you think, if they want to escape, they’ll try to find a way.
In the aftermaths of dinner parties and barbecues, quite a mess can be left behind. Make sure you remove any ashtrays or alcohol bottles, wine glasses, plates and bowls. This will stop small hands and mouths from getting an unwelcome taste, and small bodies from bumping into something sharp.
But even when your home is baby proofed, it’s important to be vigilant to keep your baby safe. Never leave your baby alone unless they’re in a secure playpen, or tucked into their crib. Also, keep an extra eye out in the bathroom as well as the kitchen; two of the home’s most dangerous zones.
Before you begin to baby proof your home, check your home for hazards by taking a baby-eye-view tour. If you get down and crawl around, you’ll be able to see the world from their angle, and better understand the risks. But even once your home is protected, others may still pose threats. So if you’re at the neighbours, or visiting Grandma, be extra wary as your child roams around.
That being said, it’s important not to stress. Your baby will learn and grow by exploring his or her surroundings. All you can do is make your child’s environment as safe as it can be, allowing them to carry out their playful adventures.