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Baby Proofing Your Home
Is Your Home Baby Proof?
Most of us enjoy having a nice house. We might like stylish coffee tables, trinkets and a nice fire place.
But if there is a baby in the house who is becoming more active, the design of our home may need to alter.
Parents or those who are childminding in their own home need to look at what is safe when a toddler is around.
The things we overlook may be dangerous to small children. Some are obvious and others are less so. But be sure that if you don’t want your little one to go near it, he most certainly will!
Babies and Toddlers
As your baby gets older, he or she will start to roll over. They can do this from around 4 months old. This means if you turn your back, your baby can roll across the floor, or off a surface.
From around 6 months on wards, your baby will try to sit up. Their motor skills are developing, with the next milestone being crawling. Then it won’t be long until they have developed the strength to pull themselves up holding onto the furniture.
Babies develop at different rates, but they will find a way of getting about in one way or another.
He or she may not begin to walk unaided until they are about 12 months or more (it could even be sooner!), but getting around by holding onto things won’t stop them from moving around. Time to baby proof the house!
What to Remove from Baby's Reach
Before your baby is fully mobile you must look at everything he or she can reach.
Everything at a lower level needs to be moved up and out of harm’s way. Then when your baby is toddling you must check everything.
Remove anything which your baby can pull onto themselves. Heavy books, catalogues and telephone directories can tumble if stacked up.
Doors to cupboards or cabinets can pull open easily and a baby may hurt themselves. They also then have access to whatever is in there, so move anything which could get damaged or damage your child!
If the fire is on, your baby could be at danger of serious burns.
Any steps in the room could cause falls.
Be aware of sharp corners on coffee tables or other furniture. As you baby begins to pull themselves up, they could have an accident.
Other objects to move out of the way include:
Ashtrays, as you baby could put their hands in it. Don’t forget they feel things with their mouths, so you don’t want anything nasty going in there.
Make sure alcohol is out of the way of your baby. Bottles are heavy and can get broken, and you don’t want your child to drink the contents.
Move plants out of reach. They could be poisonous or just make a mess if your little one pulls it over.
Put trinkets or ornaments away which could break easily and cause harm.
Be aware of curtain or blind cords which can get caught around their necks. Tie them up safely so they are not hanging freely.
Do not leave small objects lying around which can cause choking, such as coins or beads.
Cleaning products and chemicals are lethal, so make sure small children do not have access to them. Bleach and other chemicals can be drunk or get onto skin or eyes.
Medicines need to be locked away so your child cannot access them and swallow them.
Sharp knives and kitchen equipment are a huge risk to little ones. Never let them go near them, or they could cut themselves.
Again, ensure alcohol or any food or other drink is out of reach. Alcohol is dangerous, and babies can choke on some foods. Some food and drink are not suitable for babies.
Carrier bags which are stored away can cause suffocation to children. Any plastic bag needs to be up and put away.
Anywhere Else in the Home
Put away electric appliances so your baby cannot burn themselves or can have an electric shock. Hair straighteners can burn you for example.
Pens or objects which a baby can stick into an electrical socket can cause an electrical accident.
Be aware if you have a table cloth and other objects on the table. Your toddler is likely to pull at it and cause injury.
Stairs are dangerous as children love to climb. If they fall they can have a serious accident.
Never leave babies or toddlers alone in or near water. This includes baths, paddling pools, puddles and ponds. Babies can drown in just a shallow amount of water.
What Safety Equipment Can I Get?
As well as moving things out of reach and off the floor, you can also equip your home to make life a bit less stressful.
They can be bought in different sizes and shapes to fit to your fireplace. Make sure it is secure to the wall so it can’t be pulled off. Your baby is then safe from being burned on a hot fire.
Cupboard locks can go on cupboard doors and drawers. They are latches so your child cannot open them.
Latches and locks can also fit washing machines or dryers, fridges and freezers.
Window restrictors stop children from opening the window wide and climbing out.
Door jammers are made of foam and stop the door from closing completely. They are a good idea if your child gets their finger caught in the door.
Stair gates are great for stopping your child from going up or down stairs or steps. Fit one at the top and one at the bottom.
You can put safety gates in doorways too if you don’t want your child to have access to certain rooms, such as the kitchen when the oven is on. Or put one at the back door, so you can leave the door open without your toddler running off!
Plug Socket Covers
Put a plug socket cover in every empty plug socket. They are made of plastic, with a flat surface so little fingers cannot pull them out. Great if you worry about what your little angel may poke in there!
Safety Glass Covering
If you have glass panels in your doors or single glazing, check if it is at safety standard (it should have a kite mark on it or meet safety standards). If not, you can stick safety glass over the top.
Similar to sticky back plastic, the clear covering makes glass safe if it breaks. It acts by stopping shards of glass scattering everywhere, and holds it together.
If you have a pond, over it over with strong chicken wire or fence it off. Any access to a pond or a neighbour’s pond needs to be restricted.
Rubber corner pieces are adhesive and stick to sharp corners on tables and television cabinets. They stop the edges from being sharp and injuring a toddler.
Risk assessing your home can be common sense, such as moving sharp objects and fitting smoke alarms. Other things may not be considered until you see your baby in action.
Not all accidents can be prevented, so always watch your child. Never leave them where they can fall (on a chair or bed) and be aware if your growing toddler works out how to open a locked fridge door!