Your little explorer is growing up at such a rapid rate that sometimes it's hard to keep up with their new tricks. That's why it's important to start baby-proofing your home now, before you really need to. Here's a guide to baby-proofing your home.
Falls are the most common cause of serious accidental injury to preschoolers, with poisoning, cuts and burns also occurring frequently. Drowning (especially in the bath) and driveway car accidents are other dangers.
Unless you bring your baby up in a bubble, it's impossible to make your home totally baby-proof, but there are many things you can do to make it safer:
• The safest place to change a wriggly baby's nappy is on the floor. Never leave your child unattended on the changing table. Never. Keep a hand on their belly if you have to turn away to reach something. Otherwise suddenly your baby could roll over, and off the table.
• Always do up the harness when your baby is in their high chair, buggy or car-seat.
• Tie a knot in plastic shopping bags and store them out of reach of baby. Suffocation is a very real risk.
• Keep curtain and blind cords looped up out of reach of children.
• Install a child-proof fireguard, secured to the wall, around fireplaces and heaters.
• Keep lighters and matches in a safe place.
• Install security gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
• Lock away all medicines out of reach of inquisitive little hands. Don't forget your bedside tables.
• Put kiddy locks on any kitchen or bathroom cupboards that hold cleaning products or other poisons.
• Put away the dishwashing powder, and don’t put any in the dishwasher until you're about to turn it on.
• Buy security covers for all your power points or ask an electrician to install a residual current device to cut off the power.
• Store knives and scissors up high or in lockable drawers.
• Use the back elements when cooking on the stove and turn pot handles towards the wall.
• Install a stove guard (available from appliance or hardware stores).
• Put your hot cup of tea on a high shelf or bench between sips and don't drink hot drinks while carrying or feeding your child.
• Screw freestanding bookshelves and chests of drawers to the wall so they won't topple on your toddler.
• Check that the water temperature in your home is no higher than 50 degrees Celsius so it doesn't scald your baby.
• Keep the toilet lid down and the bathroom door closed.
• If you have large glass windows or doors, ensure the glass is safety glass and stick stickers or tape across them so your child can easily see whether they're open or closed.
• Fence off an area of the garden or courtyard so your child can play safely without wandering onto the driveway.
• Make sure swimming and spa pools are fenced according to regulations.
• Remove any sharp garden tools. Lock poisons in the garden shed.
• Check that your garden plants aren't poisonous.
• Install smoke alarms in every room and keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
• Make a list of emergency phone numbers, such as your doctor, your local A&E and the poisons centre, and pin it on the wall by your phone.
It’s really great to take a first aid course to learn basic techniques such as mouth-to-mouth and CPR, as well as what to do if your baby chokes, is burned or eats something poisonous - you could save your child's life.
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