Simple steps you can take to childproof your home
In the blink of an eye your baby will transform from a slumbering newborn to a mischievous toddler whose hobbies include climbing bookshelves and sticking their fingers in electrical sockets. So it’s never too soon to babyproof your home.
The simplest way to childproof your home is to see things from your baby’s perspective. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl around. What’s at baby’s eye level and within easy reach? Kids can be curious about anything they see, like computer and telephone cords and glassware or antiques on low shelves. You might not notice breakable or hazardous items when you’re towering above them. You may not think it but your home is a ticking time bomb, with most children aged aged up to five sustaining injuries in the home.
For curious toddlers the most obvious place to deposit mummy or daddy’s phone is down the toilet. To prevent any accidents and potential phone calamities, always keep toilet lids down and secured with a lid lock. It will prevent dangerous tumbles and also stop the spread of germs.
When you’re child-free, furniture placement doesn’t even come into the equation — but when you have a house of little ones, the importance of locking and screwing everything down is paramount. Secure TVs, bookshelves and heavy furniture with specially designed furniture straps to keep them from falling on children. Check out inhealth.ie for TV and furniture straps starting from just €4.99.
Rough and tumble is all part and parcel of child’s play but a harmless game of chasing can soon cause accidents when there are sharp edges lurking around every corner in your home. To avoid any trips to A&E, The Clevamama Multi-Purpose Edge Guard €15.99 will help to protect your child from the impact of a fall or knock against any sharp or hard edges. Simply cut to the preferred length and mould to edges with ease.
Dangling blinds are a choking risk, so never put your child’s cot or bed near window blinds or curtains. Always tie cords high and out of reach and attach breakaway safety tassels. Research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom with children who are between one to three years of age. Further research shows that unrestrained cords, braids, wires and loop chains that run through and operate window coverings are the main reasons for these deaths.
Curious kids have a habit of homing in on household cleaners and medicines that are off-limits. Be sure to store hazardous items in locked cabinets or install safety latches that lock when you close the cabinet door. Never take medicine out of its original childproof container and always store dangerous items in cupboards that are out of reach.
Consider how generally safe your house is. Do you have a fire extinguisher? You’ll also want smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors on each floor of your home.
Cover electrical outlets with plastic caps and always place safety gates at the head and foot of your stairs. Use cord holders to keep longer cords fastened against walls to ensure your little one can’t tug on computer cords and other electrical wiring.
Stuffed animals and miniature cushions may combine to make your little one’s cot look cosy and inviting but until baby is older than six months, he could potentially suffocate on bedding such as pillows and blankets. Make sure his sheets and mattress fit tightly and remember to lay him on his back to sleep, which helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
According to the HSE, nine out of every 10 injuries can be prevented by thinking “safety” and acting “safely”? Here are their tips on childproofing your home.
- Inside your home: go from room to room and remember to include the halls, stairs and landing.
- Outside your home: front and back and include driveway, gardens, avenue, shed and garage.
- Ask yourself the question in every room/area: is there anything in this space that could be a danger to a child?
- Once you spot the danger areas and items, you can take action to fix them.
- If your child is minded in another person’s house, regardless of how rarely, it is important that house is made child-safe too. So pass on this valuable information to the carer/guardian.
- Adult supervision of young children is absolutely vital — there is no substitute for it.
- Be aware of your child’s developmental stage and set appropriate limits to the areas your child can access and the materials he/she can use.
- Remember that although childproof or child-resistant containers may be more difficult for children to open, there is no guarantee that they will not be able to, so store all dangerous substances, in their original child-resistant containers, out of sight and reach of children.
- Consistent and correct use of safety equipment such as stairgates, cupboard locks, socket guards, spark and fire guards etc is important.
- Educate your child about safety, and lead by example, but remember that young children are not capable of being responsible for their own safety — that is the adult’s job!