Making The House Baby-Safe
It's never too early to start baby proofing your house, as your little one will seem to go from static to mobile overnight! Baby proofing your home isn't a substitute for adult supervision, but it will help keep your baby safe, and your nerves less frazzled. Spending time thoroughly baby proofing your house will not only help keep your baby safe, but save you from endless 'no!'s as your baby explores his surroundings. It will also ensure your ornaments and knick knacks are kept safe and in one piece! Here are some tips on how to make your home safe for your baby:
See The House From Your Baby's Point of View
Get down on your hands and knees so you can see each room from your baby's perspective. Remove any objects that your baby can reach or knock over, including ornaments, plants, picture frames and lamps. Also ensure that there aren't any objects within your baby's reach that they could put in their mouth, as babies will put everything and anything into their mouths given the chance to do so. Make sure that anything your baby can pick up is too big to be swallowed (anything that is smaller than a baby's fist poses a choking hazard).
Do a safety check on your house, making sure you cover up or tidy away anything dangerous. Make sure window blind cords are safely tucked away and are out of reach for your toddler, as babies and children can get entangled in these, causing strangling. If you have a fire, put a fire grill in front of it. Check that you all your windows are locked, and put childproof locks on them as an extra precaution. Put stair gates at the top and the bottom of your stairs, and make sure you close them correctly every time you go through them. You can also use stair gates to lock any rooms you don't want your baby getting into. Cover all plug sockets with plastic socket covers, and keep electrical cords out of the way so your child can't trip over or get tangled in them. You can fix them tightly to the walls so your baby can't play with them, or use cord shorteners.
Lower your water heater to 170 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the risk of injury caused by scalding water.
Remove any dangerous items such as medicines, cleaning products and toiletries from any lower drawers and put them in cupboards that are too high for your baby to reach. Putting safety catches on these isn't enough as some babies can unlock them or you might forget to close them properly. Put safely locks on all drawers and cupboards that your child can reach, as children can pull out heavy pots and pans onto them. You might also want to consider putting safety catches on toilets and doorknobs. You might want to designate one cupboard for your baby to explore, and place plastic containers and safe objects like wooden spoons in it so they can safely play with that cupboard.
What To Do With Free Standing Furniture
Free standing furniture such as bookcases, dressing tables and wardrobes can topple over onto children, so you should fix them to the wall when possible, and be extra vigilant when your child is around these pieces of furniture. Teach them not to climb up bookcases or dressers. Keeping drawers closed and putting childproof catches on them stops little adventurers using open drawers as ladders. Put heavy items on the bottom shelves, so the furniture isn't top heavy, as this will make it easier to tip over, and replace any wobbly pieces of furniture.
Making The House Safe For Cruising and Walking Babies
Most furniture is inconveniently at the same height as toddler's head, which can make learning to walk rather painful at times when faced with sharp corners on tables. To minimise cuts and bumps to the head when your little one starts pulling themselves up on furniture or taking their first faltering steps, cover up all sharp corners on your furniture. You can buy corner covers, or make your own out of foam rubber or any other soft, cushiony material. Even placing a blanket or quilt over furniture will lessen the impact of falls. Covers up hard surfaces such as stone or marble fireplaces with cushions; falls normally happen in the worst places!
If you have glass in your furniture, consider covering it with sticky cellophane sheets so your baby can't cut themselves if they fall on it.
To make your house safe for a toddler who's mastering the art of walking, keep walkways free of obstacles, such as toys. Fix down rugs with tape so they don't move around and trip up your baby underfoot.
Keep handbags out of reach of your baby, as nothing is more tempting to a baby than the contents of a handbag! Make sure visitors handbags are also kept out of baby's reach, as most handbags contain items dangerous to babies.
Making Your Garden Safe
Don't forget to baby-proof your garden too. Lock away all garden tools, and check your garden for poisonous plants, sharp stones and broken fences where your child could escape. If you have a pond never let your child go outside unsupervised. Children can drown in even very shallow ponds so the safest option is to fill in your pond.
Child proofing is a continual process; you'll have to keep adapting your safety measures as your baby gets older, wiser and more mobile. As your child is able to climb up higher, move dangerous objects and liquids further up, and ensure high up cupboards also have safety catches on them. Anticipate your child's next stage of development and adapt your house accordingly before they reach it.