If you’ve started planning for the arrival of your little one, you’re probably already noticing potential dangers in your home — from exposed plug sockets to loose electrical cords. Before your baby becomes mobile and starts exploring all the hidden areas of your home, you need to take certain precautions to ensure the space is safe for crawling, walking and little fingers.
With the help of doula Kalli Chason, the team at Your Baby Club has provided their top tips for baby-proofing your home and getting prepared for the new arrival.
Discussing the dangers around the home for a baby, Chason says: “When talking about dangers for a newborn, it is crucial to make sure the baby has safe spaces to rest and play where siblings or family pets cannot accidentally hurt them. As the child grows, the biggest dangers are small objects that can cause choking; for instance, cleaning products and outlets.
“The best ways to prepare your home for a baby is to make sure there are safe spaces for your newborn to rest and play, and baby-proofing any spaces that you cannot make safe such as under the sink, outlets, and bathrooms.”
Chason advises removing anything dangerous before your baby is born.
“Children can be taught how to exist in many types of homes where items aren’t removed. The biggest thing to remember is that sometimes the places we keep things need to be altered to be out of reach,” she says. “If it could hurt your child badly, keep it out of reach.”
Here are 10 safety tips from Chason.
1. Tie away any loose cords.
Once babies start exploring, they can find themselves in all sorts of dangerous situations, from putting their fingers in live sockets to pulling on loose electrical cords around the home. The danger of leaving loose wires lying around is that if tugged at hard enough, they can pull down any electrical items attached to them, thus putting your little one in harm’s way.
Now, the simplest solution would be to go wireless wherever possible — but a more affordable and quicker fix would be to fasten cables and wires away and place them up high.
2. Lock your cupboards.
Cupboards can become a dangerous place once your baby starts crawling and walking, especially throughout the kitchen. Your little one can get their hands on sharp objects, electrical items and harsh chemicals that are not stored away properly. Fortunately, child safety locks can help prevent kids from getting into things they shouldn’t.
3. Mount furniture onto walls.
Children are little explorers, and as soon as they start to walk, they will want to get up high and reach places they have never seen before. While we adore this adventurous behavior, it’s more dangerous than we are aware to let our little ones climb on furniture.
Furniture tipping over and causing injuries in young children is extremely common in households around the world. That’s why it’s incredibly important that freestanding furniture is mounted onto the walls to make your home safer and prevent accidents from happening.
4. Lock the toilet seat.
One overlooked hazard in the home is the toilet. To babies, the toilet is a new place to splash and explore. From bacteria and cleaning chemicals, to trapped fingers and the potential danger of drowning, the toilet can be a dangerous place for your curious infant.
First and foremost, children should never be left to their own devices in a bathroom, as there are many hazards lying around that can cause them danger. Soon-to-be parents can prevent further accidents by adding toilet locks, which keep your little one out.
5. Store medication away.
Colorful medication bottles can look exciting and fun to babies. Even though many have safety caps to prevent young children from opening them, you should still store your medication up high and out of the way, so children cannot gain access to them.
6. Install baby gates.
Baby gates are needed in most homes to keep children safe and to prevent accidents. Your baby will be crawling and exploring new places before you know it, and curious little ones will want to find out exactly what is beyond the stairs. That’s why baby gates are important when preparing your home for the arrival of your newest family member.
It’s important to have a gate fitted at the top and bottom of your stairs if your baby will be spending time upstairs and downstairs.
7. Store away pet dangers.
Ensuring your home is both safe and comfortable for your pet and child should be a top priority. When you welcome a new child into your home, you must take certain safety precautions. First and foremost, never leave your child and pet unattended together.
Ensure that your pet and child both have a safe area they can go to relax and sleep — you can cordon this off with baby gates. Store your pet’s belongings out of the reach of children, as pet toys, beds and blankets can contain harmful bacteria.
8. Keep cleaning and harsh chemicals away.
A lot of common household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to your baby’s health. Bleach, window cleaners, heavy-duty oven cleaners, enzyme cleaners, air fresheners and aerosols all contain chemicals that are harmful to young children. So, it’s important to read the bottle to see what is suitable to use in your home.
To further protect your child and prevent any accidents and harmful consequences, store cleaning products and any harsh chemicals out of reach.
9. Add door stops.
Door safety is incredibly important for young children, especially as they start to walk and crawl, as doors and hinges can hurt and cause damage to little fingers. You can purchase fun, cute and quirky doorstops in all shapes and sizes to dot around your home, but the most effective prevention tool is to use antitrapping hinges and safety guards.
As an extra safety precaution, you can have locks and safety latches fitted to windows, helping prevent your child from climbing out.
10. Prevent burns in the home.
Your home is full of dangers that can cause burns to your baby. Before your new arrival, ensure that all radiators are set to a temperature that cannot cause burns to baby’s fingers, and fit radiator covers (that are secured to the wall) to prevent access to them.
To keep your child safe around the fireplace, install a safety guard for when the fire is and isn’t burning, which helps ensure children don’t get their hands on anything they shouldn’t.