Having a baby is a time of excitement and anxiety. The emotions you go through in anticipation are innumerable but so too seem the things you need to buy and the tasks that you must carry out in preparation. (Trust me, I’m on this journey now and It’s a lot to think about!)
Trying to get yourself arranged and your home appropriately organised for your baby’s arrival can be stressful and you have to make sure that whatever he or she may pull, open or bite won’t be a danger. Once your baby begins crawling, walking and then climbing you’ll be more than surprised at what the little devils can get up to!
When it comes down to it just make sure you’ve covered the necessary steps to baby proofing your home. It is easier than you think but at the same time there is certainly more to it than just installing a baby gate!
Here are 10 essential steps to making your home child safe:
Re-organise Your Shelves and Storage!
You need to begin by having a little reshuffle of each room. This means checking what is near the floor and what your baby might be able to get their hands on over the next few years. Remove potentially dangerous implements from lower drawers, cupboards and shelves in all rooms of the house so that there is little below waist level.
In kitchens and bathrooms cabinets located under the sink are a typical place to store cleaning products and other liquids containing chemicals. Make sure these are moved out of reach, preferably to the top cabinets instead. Household cleaners, chemicals and medicines will always be found by an inquisitive child and many of these are harmful, so you need to find them a new home no matter what type of lid or lock they may have. Do your research on the harmful chemicals that need to be removed altogether but as a rule of thumb keep all liquids far out of reach!
It is also important to not underestimate your baby nor any objects that you think aren’t harmful. Don’t forget drawers or anything you think a baby won’t be able to open. Move plastic bags, paper bags and cling film all higher as well so that just simple things like pots and pans remain.
Door and Cabinet Locks: There’s No Such Thing as Too Many!
Reorganisation is key but no matter how well you do it you will need more locks than you think. Sometimes you just can’t move everything higher but you also can’t be blamed for putting something back in its original spot out of habit.
Door locks remind you to be on your toes and they provide that extra bit of safety. It’s important to stack up on door locks and refurbish faulty door knobs or handles that may fall off. Closed doors are an exciting prospect for most babies and as they grow and explore other areas of the house they develop expert escapist skills. You want to make sure the right door locks are installed to stop them exploring so much but also ones that aren’t a danger!
Put latches on all cabinets and doors, install a lock on your toilet, put latches on medicinal cabinets, broom cupboard – you name it, put a lock on just about anything you think your baby can reach.
Make Sure Your Furniture is Safe and Secure!
It is safe to say that whilst your baby can be a master escapist they also don’t necessarily have the best coordination or understanding of their surroundings. An essential step in baby proofing your home is looking out for potential dangers that your furniture presents and replacing these or customising them.
Make sure everything that can be pulled over is secured, for your sake as well as the baby’s. This means think about your television, bookshelves and anything that is not completely stable. Look at mounting you television it to the wall, placing it in an entertainment centre or just simply putting it well out of reach. Things like bookcases should be bolted to the wall to stop from being pulled over and all objects moved off of lower shelves.
It is essential that you carefully assess corners and edges of your furniture. Cover corners that could be a danger with corner guards or blankets, pillows and soft materials. Corner guards are by far your best bet – these are cheap, effective and easily installed but can be taken off after some time too.
Tables, coffee tables, dado rails, TV stands, window ledges, all of these things potentially have sharp corners that may be at eye level for your baby. Make sure you have thought about a way to baby proof these, be it with corner guards or a soft material.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled and Remove Small Objects!
Small objects are one of the most harmful but most elusive dangers to a baby and you need to have an eye on this at all times. Keeping floors clear and empty is important so try to move as much of the things covering your floor or carpet out of the way so anything on the floor that shouldn’t be there is visible.
Have a box at hand high out of reach to put things in that you think may be a danger. Your floor needs to be perfectly visible so that anything that is small enough to put in a baby’s mouth is easily noticed and removed.
If you have a decorative floor or colourful carpet think about getting in a plain rug in which things are easily noticeable.
Time to Tackle the Main Dangers
There are some things that present a big danger in every room. Things like ovens, fireplaces, and anything that is a health and safety hazard to all humans and not just your baby.
If you have a fireplace, a fireguard is an essential buy. Fireguards let you light a fire to keep the house warm and cosy but also protects your child. Of course, you aren’t going to be letting your baby get too close anyway but keeping your fireguard in front of the fire at all times stop the fireplace being a danger whether it is in use or not.
The oven and stove are, of course, the prime danger found in the kitchen and it’s good to invest in an oven guard and get used to it cooking with it. This stops both a baby reaching up to grab handles and switches but also limits splatters and spills landing on the floor.
Sometimes, however, switches and knobs are located within reach. Babies love these and make no mistake about it, no matter how many toys they have to play with it will be switches like these that will be most interesting to them! Stove knob covers prevent an inquisitive baby from turning things on and off, playing with things that might result in danger or cause an inconvenience for you.
It is important to remember that you should never leave a baby near a fire or an oven on their own at any point. Neither to answer the phone or to get the door.
Another danger can be found in electrical outputs. These are commonly found at hip and foot level so are always accessible to babies and sometimes places people forget to cover if they are behind chairs or curtains. Insert safety caps or otherwise use electrical tape on all outlets to stop babies being inquisitive and playing with these. Make sure you search each room top to bottom for anything you may have missed if it’s behind or underneath something.