Childproofing your home

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Mini movers

As soon as your baby is mobile, you have to be especially careful about what he can reach. The best plan is to always be one step ahead for safety’s sake, so when he’s crawling, think ahead to what’s in range when he’s standing, then cruising, then walking, then climbing and so on, and take preventative measures early.

Physically get down to his level and have a good look around, really noticing all the electrical cables that are just begging to be investigated, all the vases of flowers or breakable ornaments, any dangling cords such as a light switches or blind-pulls that could get wrapped around little limbs, then adapt your home accordingly.

There are many gadgets and gizmos widely available to help make your house a safer place for little ones. These include:

ג€¢ Baby gates ג€“ either to prevent him going up or downstairs, or perhaps to stop him entering somewhere dangerous, like a cluttered tools cupboard, or the kitchen while you’re cooking.

ג€¢ Electric socket covers ג€“ babies and even young toddlers are so tempted by little holes and love to stick their fingers in. As this could prove fatal for a live socket, always cover them up with these inexpensive gadgets.

ג€¢ Drawer locks and catches ג€“ these are vital for preventing children from discovering more dangerous household items such as knives, scissors and chemical products.

ג€¢ Toilet seat locks ג€“ to stop those with a water fascination from blocking up pipes with all manner of treasures!

ג€¢ Fireguards ג€“ these prevent burns and should be placed in front of any open log or gas fire. Always make sure the guard is sturdy and can’t be easily pulled or knocked over.

Remember that younger babies’ main means of investigation is to put things in their mouths, so try to clear up mess as you go along, particularly smaller items like pen lids, marbles, screws and rubber bands. For the same reason, never keep potentially poisonous houseplants where your child might be able to reach them and make sure any accessible waste bins don’t contain anything hazardous, emptying them often.

Little climbers

Some children never investigate beyond their tiptoes. But some are determined to reach higher ground from a surprisingly early age, so for these intrepid explorers you need to make an extra effort with child safety in your house. Suddenly cot bars and baby gates present an exciting challenge, so you need to identify potential problem areas where your child could pull himself up and over, and then fall down the other side.

In the case of your child’s cot, drop the mattress to its lowest level and pull it away from other furniture or curtains could be used to aid escape. Don’t allow the cot to become overly cluttered with large soft toys that could be piled up and used as steps. You might also want to remove any bumpers for the same reason. Finally, you can always surround the cot with cushions or blankets to break potential falls.

Elsewhere in the home, keep cupboard drawers closed so that they can’t be used as a ladder and attach tall bookcases to walls to keep them stable. Never put any low, scalable furniture near or underneath windows, and always keep your windows locked.

It may seem like a lot of effort now, but your child’s safety is ultimately your responsibility and these preventative measures are only for a few years until your little one is old and sensible enough to understand instructions and consequences.

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