If you’re expecting the patter of tiny feet to fill your home soon, it’s worth preparing yourself well in advance! While most babies remain relatively immobile for their first 6 or 7 months, time does tend to fly by and before you know it they’ll be crawling and climbing. The changes and improvements one makes around the house are usually all about saving energy or improving its curb appeal. But preparing your home for a curious toddler is a science in itself. Baby-proofing your home can seem a daunting task, but with some careful planning, your little one will be safe from the worst-case scenarios.
Soften the Blow
As soon as kids learn to crawl and walk, a few tumbles are inevitable, but you can be sure that won’t stop your little one exploring – often at high speed! The first step is to try and keep your home clutter-free and organized, but there are many other measures you can take to make sure your baby is free to move around safely. Place soft bumpers on any sharp edges and corners the baby might run into, e.g. table tops, radiators, low shelves and cupboards.
Carpets are a nice touch, especially on steps, but if you don’t want to go the whole hog, large, thick rugs on hard floors should help to prevent a hard fall when the little one trips. Another tip is to prevent your doors from suddenly slamming if a draft comes in. By installing spring hinges to your doors, they will never slam or open suddenly again, keeping little fingers – and not just those – safe from harm.
Out of Reach and Out of Mind
Any dangerous objects should be stored well out of reach of little hands. The kitchen is obviously one of the most dangerous areas: knives, heavy utensils and appliances should be kept hidden. Cleaning products and medicines especially should also be locked away where baby can’t find them, perhaps in a room that is out of bounds.
Consider fitting an oven guard to your oven door, to prevent your baby from pulling open the door or burning themselves on it. Such guards also stop them from turning any knobs and leaving the gas on.
Safe and Secure
It doesn’t take long for a curious baby to want to start exploring and as soon as they begin to crawl, there’s not a nook or cranny they won’t investigate! Anticipate this stage well in advance and prepare for the worst. Any furniture that babies might be tempted to use in order to pull themselves up should be securely anchored to the wall or made inaccessible.
Bookcases are the classic example, but also consider lamps, shelves and cupboards. Go around the entire house and be sure that things like door frames and radiator covers are also well fixed. Fit childproof locks to any cupboard doors that babies may try to use to pull themselves up with, to prevent them toppling backwards when the door opens unexpectedly.
Block Off Baby-Free Areas
Baby gates are fantastic for blocking off the staircase and are a quick and easy solution to the possibility of the little one taking a nasty tumble down the steps. They can also be used in other areas you don’t want your baby to enter, simply by placing them in the doorways. Otherwise, ensure the doors to your private rooms are lockable.
Additionally, it’s worth preventing baby from climbing up to the windows. Remove any furniture placed near the windows and take other preventative measures if necessary. It’s worth noting that there should be no ropes or tassels dangling from curtains or blinds, as these are potential choking/strangling hazards.
Electrical sockets are intriguing for curious young minds – often at eye level, these gateways into the unknown are irresistible. Fit child-safety covers over all outlets to prevent fingers or other objects finding their way into the mains electricity. Tidy up all your loose cables using zip ties and secure them out of sight and reach if possible.
Before baby is born, it’s a good idea to reduce the maximum hot water temperature in order to avoid the risk of accidental scalding. Special taps can be fitted for this very reason, but you can also adjust the boiler if needs be. As the little one gets older, it’s well worth installing a safety latch on the toilet lid, preventing them from opening the lid and dropping it on their fingers or falling inside as they explore new territories.
Try to keep your lawn clear and tidy. By keeping the grass short, you can see what’s on the ground without having to worry either about tripping or about any animal hazards hidden there. Fence off any areas you don’t want baby to explore, as well as any steps, steep ramps or water features. Keep tools and other objects securely locked away in a shed or the garage.
There are many adventures your little one will embark on, even before starting to walk properly. But by following these tips, the most serious misadventures can be avoided, leaving your bundle of joy free to explore the new world safely.