As lovable and cute as kids are, raising them or even looking after them for a while requires a fair amount of forethought. From your kitchen to your garden to your home office, there are many elements of your home that are potentially hazardous to young ones, some which you are likely to have overlooked. Remember not to assume children know what is dangerous and what is not, and take every precaution possible to avoid a serious injury. So whether you are a mum of five or a first-time babysitter, here are some tips to get you started on child proofing your house:
1. Take Note Of Potential Pet Problems
Although many children grow up co-existing with pets, it is still important to be careful if you have young ones coming over to your house that your animal is unfamiliar with. It is always possible for animals, particularly dogs and cats, to react badly to the behaviour of kids, and you may want to keep them separate at first. Make sure you are always supervising when they are interacting with one another. Another thing to consider is that certain pets could be disease carriers, such as turtles which can carry salmonella, and leaving out unclean food and water bowls could expose children to hazardous bacteria. So make sure that your pet and it’s belongings are all in order before introducing children or babies to your furry friend.
2. Beware Of Hazardous Furniture
Be very careful that you don’t have large items precariously balanced on surfaces if you have a small child in the house. While a falling object may do minimal damage to us, the small height of a young one puts them in a vulnerable position if a household item falls from far above their heads. Bear in mind that children are curious and may investigate your bookshelves and other furniture, so be sure that everything is as secure as possible. One great idea is to make sure they have their own kid furniture to play on, so they are less likely to get hurt by fiddling around with larger objects.
3. Keep Medication Out Of Reach
Be very careful with medication you have around the house, whether it be tablets, syrup and even medicine intended for children. Kids may mistake them for lollies and overdose or choke themselves completely by accident. One good way to ensure double protection is to put them out of reach and also make sure they have child-proof caps so there is no way your little one will be getting anything out of the medicine cabinet.
4. Make Use Of Safety Gates
Install safety gates at any doorways that lead to staircases, to prevent your child accidentally tripping and tumbling down. This simple step can help to avoid serious injuries that could otherwise be very easily sustained. Similarly, you want to carefully select and purchase nursery furniture that will keep your child safe, as you want to avoid incidents such as babies rolling off changing tables and the like. Luckily, this can be easily sidestepped by buying high quality products that will keep your little one safe.
5. Be Extremely Wary Of Electricity
A major concern you should take note of when you have young ones in the house is making sure that all electrical outlets and electrical appliances have been childproofed. For example, you should have protective coverings over all electrical outlets around the house, to prevent your little one from sticking their fingers or toys into the outlets. When dealing with electrical appliances also make sure you secure cords and loose wires. You can bind groups of cables together using zip ties, and put cords away to avoid children tripping and hurting themselves.
6. Bathroom Safety
There are plenty of hazards in the bathroom that you need to look out for when there are little ones running around. You never want to leave water in a bathtub, sink or basin where a toddler could potentially drown. Remember that it does not take much to submerge an infant or toddler, so be very wary about draining any standing water rather than leaving it for later. Also be very careful that there is no way your child is able to lock themselves in the bathroom from the inside, without you being able to get to them. This is only a worry once they are tall enough to reach the lock on the door!
7. General Kitchen Guidelines
Another obvious problem area is the kitchen, as there are a number of hazards even to adults, with the potential harmful consequences being worse for children. Be sure the oven door is locked at all times to prevent problems if your little ones tends to meddle with things around them. Also, just like with medicine cabinets, you want to make sure the cupboards which have cleaning supplies are either locked or out of reach, as these have poisonous substances that should not be consumed. Be careful about having small magnets and decorations on your fridge in case small children think they are edible and end up choking.
8. Fireplace Precautions
If your home has a fireplace, that is another potential problem area that you need to take care of. Be sure you have a fireguard installed, and it must always be in place if you have a fire burning, as small children may be intrigued by the flames and get too close, resulting in burns. You should also store matches, wood and fireplace tools somewhere that your children can’t reach them, lest they start a fire without an adult present.
9. Good Quality Toys
Be sure you are purchasing good quality toys and play equipment that come from reliable sources, and won’t injure or be hazardous to your child in any way. Sometimes a safer bet would be larger playthings such as ride on toys, as smaller toys sometimes have detachable parts that little ones could swallow and choke on. Therefore, be selective when choosing items for your kids, and make sure they are age appropriate and thus safe for them to use.
10. Be Window Wary
This is particularly important if you live in an apartment, or if your child’s room is on a top floor. Make sure to have grills put in place and try to have your child’s cot as far as possible from windows, to avoid them climbing on the bars and injuring themselves. Remember to always be wary of children near open windows or balconies when you are in buildings that are multiple stories high.
Although it might seem to be a lot to think about, if you take it one step at a time childproofing need not be as hard as it first seems! Use these tips to get you started and create a safe space for your little ones to grow up.