How to Baby-Proof Your Home
Your home may well be nice, safe and cosy for you, when in reality to a baby, it’s a potential danger-zone. This is why baby-proofing your home is essential! As soon as your baby can grab onto something, many things in your home can prove to be hazardous and it’s up to you to make sure there’s nothing that could pose a problem.
Unfortunately, more than one million children a year in the United Kingdom end up hospitalised after being involved in a home-accident. The biggest risk category is children under the age of 5. Most fatal accidents are caused by drowning and suffocation, fire is also a risk for young children, as is falling. So be safe and follow our own Baby & Co tips for a baby-proofed home.
Never Leave a Baby Alone
Don’t leave your baby unsupervised, unless of course they’re sound asleep! So, if the doorbell goes, don’t rush to open it and leave a baby unsupervised, especially if they’re on the move! It’s better to scoop your baby up, answer the door, and put them back where they were afterwards.
Take Cot Precautions
Keeping your home safe starts from as young as a newborn and that’s because where you place your baby could still be problematic. For example, never sleep your baby on his or her front because there are numerous proven studies to show that this position can lead to SIDs (Sudden infant death syndrome). Always sleep your baby on his or her back and avoid using cot bumpers because they can also lead to suffocation. Always use a lightweight blanket, and it’s wise to use the cellular blankets which are constructed with breathable holes. If you do choose to use a blanket, don’t position it too high, middle of the waist is suitable. Grobags or similar products are an excellent choice for comfortable, safe baby sleeping. Position your baby with his or her feet touching the base of the cot and if you have a cat or a dog; put a safety net over the cot so they can’t get in.
Definitely use a baby monitor, especially when your baby sleeps in their cot, away from you. Some baby monitors allow you to keep an eye on your baby with visual screens, while some just allow you to listen in. Consider a room thermometer if your baby monitor doesn't have that feature built-in. Never sleep your baby on a sofa, there are gaps in-between the cushions and your baby could roll between the gap and suffocate. Also, scatter cushions are a suffocation hazard.
Pick Up Small Toys
Once your baby starts to grip things or reach and grab toys, you must make sure there’s nothing large enough left lying around that could be swallowed. Babies put almost everything they can into their mouths because they use it to explore objects. It’s a sensory area, so they lick, chew and suck on items. Scour your home for small objects and remove them. If you have an older child, make sure that small toys aren’t left in the same place as your baby (marbles, Shopkins, puzzle pieces, dolls-house furniture etc.) as they are all choking hazards.
Don’t Leave a Baby Alone in a Bath
Never leave your baby or young child alone in the bath, you should always be sensible. Babies love to splash and enjoy bath-time; some babies can get quite animated when they’re surrounded by lots of lovely, bubbly water, so do let them enjoy the thrill but always be there in case of any mishaps. First, check the temperature is just right with one of our bath thermometers. There are lots of baby-safe bath seats that help to prop your baby up and keep them from immersing themselves in water. There are also baby-safe shapes such as our Puj Bath Treads that stick to the bottom of the bath, helping to prevent slippage. Babies can be slippery when you remove them from the bath, so arm yourself with towels and use them to help you lift them out, they give you some extra grip! You can line your bathroom’s floor with soft, fluffy towels and a bathmat near where you lift your baby out, so you have a nice, comfortable area to finish off drying too.
Stop the Falls!
Once your baby can move (including rolling, sitting up and shuffling) you need to protect them from falls. The first area you should tackle is the stairs. Always use a safety gate and make sure it is kept shut at all times. Even when baby isn’t in the area. If you get into this habit, you won’t forget to close it. Falling down stairs can be serious.
You can also use safety gates to keep children away from rooms that are potentially hazardous, for example, a home office or utility area. Fit the gate to the door opening for that extra safety. As well as gates, be sure there are no bits and pieces lying on the stairs that could cause a trip hazard and if your carpet is getting old, check it isn’t lifting in any places where someone could trip. If you have rugs on slippery floors, buy some non-slip pads and place them on the back.
Sharp furniture can be hazardous to your little one, especially as they’re little people, they're prone to bumping into things we wouldn't consider. Buy some corner protectors for tables and desks; these “cushion” a blow so help to reduce the chance of injury.
Be aware of your windows. When they are closed, lock them. If you have sash windows, only open them from the top. Make sure there’s nothing close to them that your child could potentially climb and get safety locks fitted that stop them opening further than a certain width, to prevent dangerous falls. You should also make sure that your blind chains are safe as they could be a strangulation hazard. There are little fittings that your blind manufacturer (or any curtain shop) can supply that clip the blind chain to the wall, preventing any chance of a toddler putting the chain round their neck. All blinds fitted from 2014 should be cordless anyway, as part of safety regulations.
Be Outdoors at the Same Time as Your Child
If you have outside space, never let your child be outside alone and beware of patios and steps, they are extremely dangerous.
In the kitchen, secure any drawers with knives, scissors or dangerous objects using Safety First Draw Locks, or move these to a high shelf. The same applies to detergents, many babies are attracted to the colour and shape of detergent capsules so keep them high up, or locked away with a Safety First Cupboard Lock. Again, sharp edges should be secured with cushioned pads and always place oven locks on low ovens. There are gas ring protectors too, if your child is big enough to reach the Hob, then secure it and keep fingers from accidental burning. Never do the ironing near a child, in case they wander close to the iron cord and pull it. With regard to plug sockets, fit unused sockets with special Baby Dan Socket Plugs that stop little fingers from exploring.
Don’t leave plastic bags lying around, including nappy bags, and get into the habit of tying knots in the top of plastic bags that are in use. Tuck all wires out of sight, you can box them off easily or hide them away in cupboards. Yes, sometimes it’s difficult to do all of these things, but that’s why you also need eyes at the back of your head!
If ever in doubt, don’t leave your child alone and remember, when your child goes to friends and family, make sure that there are necessary precautions in place to protect your child from any hidden dangers. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you need further guidance on safety items, do contact one of our friendly advisors at Baby & Co, we’ll be happy to help.