Your home may feel like a haven but as soon as your baby becomes more active, it may seem as if danger lurks around every corner. Here are 20 ways to make it safe for your baby.
1. Look at your home through your baby’s eyes. Crawl through each room on the floor and you will find it easier to identify and rectify potential hazards.
2. We don’t want to scare you but approximately 10 children die each year due to falling from a window. Often, the only way that you know what your child is capable of is when they do it, so act now. Move the cot away from the window to prevent your child climbing out of it. Window locks allow you to ventilate the room but prevent the window opening far enough to present a danger.
3. While you’re checking window, check balconies too – and make sure that stair banisters are close enough together to prevent your child either falling through or getting their head stuck. Horizontal banisters are a magnet for growing tots to climb on so install guards now. Don’t forget to put a good old-fashioned stair gate in place (either at the top or the bottom, whichever works at the time) to prevent falls.
4. Use soft coverings on your radiators to prevent your child leaning on them and getting burned. Obviously, open fires should be covered with non-conductive fire guards, preferably ones that lock to the wall and can’t be overturned.
5. And don’t forget that it’s not just fire that can burn. Hot water can cause nasty scalds to infants. Simply turning your heater down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit will prevent this. While we’re on the subject of heat, make sure that you have enough smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Your local fire station will be pleased to advise you and to check your home for safe exits too.
6. Kids love cupboards but they can present a danger. Keep doors securely locked. There are many locks available now so that even if you can’t drill into a glass door or a door in a rented property, you can use ones that mount on adhesive pads. Take a look at what’s available and choose from adhesive, screw mounted, magnetic or locking straps. Just remember that although many are ‘child proof’, kids are very adept – so keep a close eye on them as well for maximum safety.
7. Even if you have safety locks in place, it’s advisable to put potentially dangerous items well out of your child’s reach. Such items include any kind of cleaning solutions, medicines, knives or sharp objects.
8. While you’re putting medications out of reach, you may want to include a bottle of ipecac syrup. When you give this to a child, it can induce vomiting which is sometimes necessary if you suspect that they have ingested any form of poison. However (and this is a BIG however), do call your local poison center for a card which gives advice on what to do in suspected poisoning cases. The treatment is not always to induce vomiting. Sometimes, this can make things worse. For example, if your child has ingested bleach or a caustic substance, their esophagus would be burned when they swallowed it. Making them vomit would cause it to be burned a second time when it comes back up. So, get professional advice and make sure that everyone understands it, including family, relatives and sitters.
9. While you’re fixing up locks, put a simple latch very high up on all doors that lead to the outdoors so that your child doesn’t find their way onto the street.
10. Don’t wait for your child to stick their wet finger into an electric socket. Cover them now with simple plug-in plastic covers or replace the cover plates altogether with childproof versions.
11. Babies and toddlers fall. A lot. And their skin (and bones) are soft and easily prone to injury. Prevent nasty knocks by covering sharp edges on furniture or fireplaces with shop-bought corner protectors or use foam rubber, quilts or blankets.
12. You may love your fridge magnets but they do tend to fall off the door or may be pulled off by your child who is attracted to their bright colors. They can present a choking hazard, so pack them away until your child is old enough to appreciate them safely.
13. Don’t put hot drinks on a low coffee table where your child could reach them.
14. Keep your kettle well to the back of the worktop and make sure the lead is tucked away and not accessible.
15. If you have older children, keep their toys away from your baby as they may contain small, removable parts that could present a choking hazard or sharp edges.
16. Never, ever, ever leave your baby or small child alone in the bath, for any reason. This also applies if you’re outdoors together, near any water source, pool, lake, stream, river or even a bucket of water. Babies can – and do – drown in a few inches of water.
17. Check your baby monitor to make sure that it works properly. Try putting a ticking clock near to it. If you can hear the ticking, then you’ll definitely hear your baby!
18. Whenever and wherever possible, avoid exposing your child to cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke.
19. Take the time now – when you’re not under pressure – to put some phone numbers on speed dial. Include your pediatrician, your partner at work, the poison center and your local ambulance service if it’s not 911. Hopefully, you’ll never need them but if you ever do, you’ll be so glad that they’re there already.
20. If you’d like extra help, or another pair of eyes to check your home over, look in your phone directory for local ‘baby-proofers’. Because they’re experienced, they don’t take long so it needn’t be too expensive.
Most of these don’t take long and don’t cost much money to do – so baby-proof your home now so that you can relax and enjoy your baby.
Filed under: Tips & Hints
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