With little girls aged three years old and eight months old, and armed with corner guards and cabinet locks, Kim Jansen gives first-hand tips on babyproofing your home.
Don’t wait until your children are mobile before giving some thought to babyproofing your home. Be aware that children are different and may become mobile sooner than expected, so it’s best to be prepared and to even start babyproofing before your baby makes their debut. Get a head-start, and, armed with the right tools and materials, get on your hands and knees – this is also a fun exercise that will allow you to see the world from your kids’ point of view. Let’s go through the babyproofing of each room:
- Ensure your baby is sleeping on a firm, flat mattress, and make use of a sleep positioner.
- To reduce the risk of suffocations, avoid using cot or crib bumpers.
- Do not use too many blankets on your baby. Blankets should be light and made of breathable materials.
- Do not place toys or pillows into the crib when your baby is sleeping. They are great for decorative purposes, but rather have the crib empty when your baby is asleep. This also helps your baby associate the crib with sleep, not with a play space.
- Ensure that only age-appropriate toys are in your baby’s room. If you have older children, ensure that small toys are always packed out of your baby’s reach.
- Cupboards are irresistible for babies, but there are some cupboards you don’t want them to access – like those containing glassware or cleaning products. Cabinet locks are readily available and inexpensive, so invest in enough locks to ensure your baby can crawl around without you having to worry.
- On this note, move your non-breakables to your lower cupboards and move your cleaning products and breakables up high, out of reach.
- A fun idea to keep your baby entertained is to fill one cupboard within baby’s reach with light, large plastic items. They soon identify this as their spot, which will keep them entertained and distracted from the other areas in the kitchen.
- Tables always seem to be in line with toddlers’ heads, so make use of corner guards for tables or surfaces with sharp corners.
- Ensure that your little one is always secured with a safety strap when placing him or her in a feeding chair or high chair.
- Never ever, under any circumstances, leave your baby or toddler unattended in the bath.
- Invest in non-slip mats for the bathtub and beside the bath.
- Run the cold water in the bath first and then the hot water.
- Install safety guards on toilet seats so that children can’t get into them. Surprisingly, tots are famous for dunking cell phones or other electronic devices into toilets, and you want to avoid this too.
- Always keep bathroom doors closed, as this is a no entry zone for any unaccompanied child.
- Have safety gates installed as soon as possible. Babies are wonderfully curious beings and this will go a long way in preventing falls down the stairs.
- Keep coffee tables and counter tops clear of moveable, breakable items. This is only for a short while; you’ll get back to your beautiful art décor items in no time.
- Store outdoor products and hazardous cleaning products in a secure cupboard that can be locked up.
- Electrical socket covers are great for keeping out little fingers that love exploring. Ensure they are the correct covers for your wall sockets to keep inquisitive fingers at bay.
- Ensure your pool is gated off. By law, every pool needs a secure cover that should be on at all times unless it is in use under adult supervision.
Enjoy the mobility of your little one and hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet, knowing you’ve done all you can to make your home a safe haven for your baby.