The home can be full of hazards that seem perfectly normal to most people. For new parents, however, there is a whole lot of planning when it comes to keeping baby safe. Generally speaking, you should be ready from crawling age onwards. This could be anywhere from six to 10 months, but be wary that sometimes they skip it!
As soon as baby is mobile, he or she could be exposed to tripping hazards, electrics and much more. Stay safe with our baby proofing guide...
Your baby will spend a lot of time in here, so keep it safe! Start with the crib – keep the mattress low and ensure all slits are firmly in place. Keep the crib away from other furniture, heaters, windows and lamps.
Next up is the changing area. This should have a soft carpet and a thick rug underneath, with an anti-slip mat. Any dressing tables or other furniture should be secured to the wall, and loose items such as baby wipes should be kept out of reach.
So many hazards! Prevention is better than the cure, so add child safety locks on cupboards, drawers and bins. This is particularly important for cupboards/drawers with knives and chemicals. Keep all your glassware and crockery in high cupboards and avoid knife racks. For the oven, you can buy covers for the knobs, and you should only ever cook on the back hobs if baby is around. Finally, remove tablecloths and unplug any small appliances if you’re not using them.
The living roomLiving rooms have lots of electrical hazards, so cover all sockets with safety covers. Make sure your TV is fixed to the wall and keep dangling cables out of reach. If you have a fireplace, keep this covered with a screen around the hearth, and if you have tall lamps, make sure they are secured behind larger furniture.
For multi-storey houses, keep a baby gate at the top and bottom of the stairs. Fix bookcases to the wall as kids love to pull themselves up on these! Finally, keep trip hazards to a minimum by moving toys and other items.
The gardenTry a dedicated play area such as a playpen to minimise risk. Keep all garden tools, particularly sharp ones such as hoes and forks, locked in a shed or somewhere safe. Likewise, use a proper hose reel. Water presents a huge danger to babies, so add netting if you have a pond, too.
Make sure all garden gates are securely fastened and there are no holes in the fence. Lastly, keep an eye on pets if they’re outside with your child.
The carYour car is one of the first environments baby will know outside of the hospital, so it’s important to baby proof. Ensure your car seat carries a certification of safety, for example the National Child Passenger Safety certification. Make sure your car is up to date with its MOT, and all tyres have at least 1.6mm of tread. To keep your car cool, apply stick-on sunshades (avoiding suction cups, which are choking hazards). Finally, keep any other choking hazards out of sight, such as loose change and pens.
All around the houseFor additional safety, apply these rules all around the house:
- Finish all decorating at least eight weeks before baby’s arrival to protect from fumes
- Check if any houseplants are poisonous and if so move out of reach
- Keep kitty litter away from children or any other animal droppings
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Get rid of looped blind cords
- Look for safety indicators in toys and electrics such as CE markings or fire-retardant materials
- Have a landline as well as a mobile
With these tips, your baby should stay safe as he or she explores the house. Remember to always keep your eye on them though – they can be very fast!