When your beautiful little cherub starts to sit up, it is time to take baby proofing around the house seriously. It’s a daunting project for first time parents, and there are hazards that you may not be able to foresee. Children, by their very nature, are very curious little explorers and it’s amazing what they can climb, open and poke their tiny fingers into. It’s a good idea to make a room by room list of what you need to do to reduce the risk of injuries. Go on your hands and knees and get a baby’s perspective, it really does work! You will see exactly what baby sees; what is at baby’s head height, how easy it is to reach cleaning products, sockets, cables and the toilet, as a few examples. Open all the cabinet doors, see how you may have to rearrange items in the kitchen so that whatever baby can reach is safe enough and maybe even fun for baby to play with, like plastic and metal colanders or smaller pots and pans. Count how many cabinet doors, sockets, doors in the house and so on will need baby proofing.
Varieties of covers are on sale depending on how often you use the outlet, for example, an outlet cover for sockets that are in use all the time. A sliding outlet is useful for sockets that are in use frequently, for example a vacuum cleaner. You may be amazed to know that little children, as little as one and a half years old can deftly unplug safety covers! If there are lots of cables, all different colours and sizes for example behind the TV cabinet, imagine how enticing that looks to a little explorer! Keep them away from prying hands by using cable covers. Some covers come with cord space as well to reduce the length of cable that’s dangling out.
The top and bottom of stairways need to be secured with baby safety gates. There are varieties of gates available depending on the space you have. In some cases where uneven or hollow walls, wrought iron railings, balusters or if spaces are extra wide, a gate installation kit may be needed. There are also travel gates available that are great to have at hand for when you’re visiting friends and grandparents or staying away. Banister shields are useful to close gaps especially if the gap is more than 4” wide. Be careful not to have any items around the banisters that children can climb on or use to step over the railing.
Windows cause a major risk of falling for babies and children. Windows can have restrictors put on to limit the opening space (to less than 4”) so children can’t squeeze through. Cots and beds should never be placed close to a window, especially if window blinds are being used. These pose a strangulation risk to children and should be secured out of reach at all times.
Consider getting a playpen that children and babies can safely play in while you get your essential jobs done, for example going to the toilet, cooking, answering the door. Try and use the back burners when cooking, making sure pot handles are pointing away from you. Never carry your child when working around the kitchen as they can easily grab hot handles, sharp knives or other dangerous items nearby. Fridge, freezers, ovens, washing machines and dryers are particularly hazardous to children if they can climb in as the doors shut very tightly forming a tight seal. Mechanically fastened locks, guards, latches and straps may be used to prevent such accidents from taking place. Sharp objects and plastic bags must be kept away from children.