Before I became a mum, I was blissfully unaware of any potential safety issues lurking in my home. Now that I have a young daughter, I've had to take a good look at my furniture, fittings and storage spaces and make some minor adjustments to baby-proof my home.
Electrical outlet covers.
Most parents would have heard the advice for baby-proofing – get down to toddler and baby level and see the potential dangers for yourself. Having spent enough time down there picking up scores of Little People and half eaten sandwiches, I don’t feel I have to make a separate trip to identify the safety shortfalls in my home.
Thankfully, there are a number of safety products available on the market to help keep little ones safe from danger.
Babies love sticking their fingers in little holes, including electrical outlets. I’ve covered the majority of our unused outlets with outlet covers, which I bought in a pack of 24. And they truly are baby-proof – in fact, they’re pretty much adult-proof as well, as I struggle to get them out once they’re in.
Baby gates are great for preventing little people going into places they shouldn’t be, such as the kitchen, which is a minefield for potential burns or scolds. They are relatively easy to install and you can buy extensions for larger doorways.
Baby gates only work if you keep them locked, mum.
Another danger lurking in the kitchen is the chemical cupboard under the sink, or glasswear in easily accessible cabinets. They make great play items for curious little people and mean a disaster for parents. You can keep kitchen cupboards and drawers locked with adhesive or magnetic cupboard locks, which are available from baby stores and hardware shops, such as Bunnings.
Bathtime fun can quickly turn into a nightmare if children suffer a slip or fall, or accidentally scold themself in hot water. Heat Alert Anti-Slip Bath Mats are a great idea for not only preventing slips, but they also change colour to indicate the water is too hot.
Once babies get crawling and walking, it’s imperitive to watch out for long, loose strings and cords that can get wrapped around their necks, such as the curtain cord. You can buy two-pronged blind cord wraps to tie cords around and prevent them becoming loose.
Cot bumpers generally aren’t recommended for use in baby cots, but I use a mesh cot bumper in my little girl’s bed because she moves around a lot and I found myself having to dislodge her chubby little legs from the sides during the night. The mesh bumpers are breathable and easy to install around the cot sides.
Heavy furniture, such as drawers and tallboys, may need to be attached to the wall to prevent kids from climbing and pulling the furniture over, which might cause serious injury. You can buy furniture brackets from hardware and baby shops.
The TV went on the wall as soon as Olivia began crawling.
One particular item you may want to think about attaching to the wall is the TV – kids love to crawl around and climb on TV cabinets, so this is a real hazard for children in the home. I purchased a universal TV bracket from eBay and the TV was attached to the wall before the afternoon was out, meaning no more opportunities for TV-related accidents.
Your home is your castle, but it can still mean serious potential injuries to young children. Baby-proofing can give you piece of mind and keep babies and toddlers safe at home.