Parents are constantly worried about their children’s safety outside of the home, however, what many fail to realise is that the risk of hurting themselves inside the home is far greater. Your home is essential to keeping your children safe, which makes it an important thing to remember when moving into a new house. We have cultivated a list of vital tips you should follow when childproofing your home.
First things first, you need to scope out the territory. Get down to their level and investigate every single room in your home from their perspective. What can you reach and what looks tempting? This will help you figure out what cupboards, drawers and other spaces your child might be able to reach, get into or climb on. Furthermore, make sure you pull out the drawers in your chests and cabinets to ensure they are topple safe – ie. If your little one figures out how to climb up in a drawer, is it strong enough to withstand the extra weight without toppling over on your child. These minor yet highly significant details are what can prevent major incidents from occurring.
Here’s a checklist you can use when inspecting your house. Your nearest baby store should have all the gadgets you need to help secure everything.
Bathroom & Kitchen
Alert: Watch for sharp objects, power outlets, medicine, electrical devices and items used for climbing!
– Install safety locks on the cabinets that may have medicines or other hazardous/potentially poisonous household products in them.
– Store all your medicine in one box, with all its original packaging.
– Install toilet locks to keep the lids closed.
– Keep your electric devices (hairdryers, blenders etc) in a safe place and always remember to pack or secure away after using them.
– Cover all electrical outlets with outlet protectors. This is especially important if they are near a water source or within crawling reach. There are also devices you can purchase that make it difficult to pull electrical plugs out.
Be careful with slippery surfaces such as bathtubs and tiles. Use slip proof mats to aid with this and make sure surfaces are dried after use.
Around The House
Alert: Watch for items which can tip easily or that your child has the ability to crawl on top of, sharp edges, candles and other décor or fragile items that may be sharp or harmful when damaged.
– Safety gates are your new best friends! Use them at the top and bottom of stairs and in the doorways of rooms with hazards. Be aware that you should not use expanding pressure bars at the top of the staircase; instead, you should use gates that are mounted to the frame, wall or staircase.
– Put corner and edge bumpers on everything. Do not be afraid to go over the top, as children are forever unpredictable!
– When decorating your space – be mindful of where you place furniture; especially try to keep it away from windows.
– Candles when lit can be deadly. Make sure if you do light candles that they are not only away from your child’s reach, but also away from flammable items.
– If you have a fireplace, never leave your child in the room alone while it is on and make sure that you have the correct screen for both face mounted, open or free standing.
– Prevent your furniture from tipping by securing everything to the walls. This includes bookcases, shelving and all other heavy furniture. When storing your belongings, place the heavier things on towards the bottom, as this will provide additional anchor-like support.
– Mount your television screens to the wall where possible. Children love to try and reach the screen and grab their favourite television characters, which could result in the television falling on them.
– Avoid using pest control that could be hazardous to a child. Poisonous baits and traps may be out of sight, but your little one could just find a way to get to them. Speak to your pest controller about the safest ways possible to get rid of the pests, but keep your family safe.
Alert: Watch for pools and water features, entry and exit gates and tools.
– If you have a pool, be sure that it is gated as per Australian regulations and always be mindful that the gate is fully functioning.
– Keep your tools locked up in a safe place at all times.
– Make sure there is a safety latch on all fences, doors and gates that allow entry and exit to your home. Furthermore, keep your garage door opener out of reach (if relevant) – children love pressing buttons.
Childproofing is an ongoing process, and as your child grows, you will need to revaluate your childproofing and take additional precautionary measures. While bumps and bruises are apart of growing up, hopefully this list will help you to try and minimise these at home.