Childproofing our homes is something that we have to carry out in great detail, especially when children are very young. Although we might all think we are responsible parents who would not let our baby or toddler get into any harm at home, there are many hidden dangers lurking which could injure a young child or baby or could result in something even more serious than that. Therefore, it’s important that you take practical steps to understand the potential dangers that are present around the house and to take preventative measures to keep your children safe.
See Things From Your Child’s Perspective
Many dangers, such as electrical sockets, will be obvious but one of the best ways to detect other potential dangers is to get down on your hands and knees in each of the rooms you’re going to let your child enter and then try to see the ‘world’ from their perspective. You’ll be amazed by the number of things you’ll have missed and additional hazards which, though they might seem innocuous to you, could be very dangerous to a baby or young child. This will help in your childproofing efforts.
Before looking at some of the more common dangers, it’s important to remember that if there is any room or area in your house which you decide requires no childproofing, be sure that those rooms are kept firmly closed, using some kind of locking mechanism to prevent inquisitive toddlers, in particular, getting into.
- Electrical sockets are the most obvious dangers as we’re all well aware of how youngsters like to push things, including their fingers, through holes and gaps, so your childproofing should include fitting blank covers into empty sockets and that’s still the case even if your sockets still have on/off switches. It’s simply not sufficient to just turn the switch off.
- Staircases are another obvious danger. For effective childproofing and home safety you should fit gates at both the top and the bottom so that your baby can’t use them whether they’re downstairs or up. Also, it’s useful to check that all your stair carpet fits properly. Many accidents involving babies and toddlers on staircases are the result of one of the parents tripping up on loose or worn carpet as they are carrying their child up or down the stairs.
- Scalding is another danger that could result in your baby or toddler being scarred for life so you need to ensure that any kettles or coffee pots and their leads are kept out of reach of a young child. When it comes to other electrical leads and cords, it’s important you tuck them away under carpet or staple them to the skirting boards.
- Be careful with tables and chairs too, they often have sharp edges. There are special protectors you can buy to make furniture corners less dangerous. Another potential danger is when a young toddler can often use the top of a table to pull themselves up from a seating or crawling position, so make sure you don’t leave things on tables which could harm a child if they were to pull the furniture over. Better still, buy tables which are sturdy and will not fall over if baby or toddler was to haul themselves up by them.
- Fireguards should be fitted to any lit open fireplace and that, too, should be sturdy enough not to be pulled over and get one that’s designed with children in mind that will not be hot to the touch if your child gets too close as those with metal strips can cause tremendous pain and serious burns if your child touches it.
- Windows can also be a danger. With sash windows, open them from the top not the bottom and make sure that there is nothing nearby which a toddler might be able to climb up onto next to the window. Be careful with patio doors or any glass doors that aren’t frosted or obvious to a baby that there’s a glass panel there. Put coloured stickers on them and repeatedly tell a baby they’re dangerous. They may not understand exactly what you mean but they’ll soon learn a warning tone within a short space of time.
- Try and keep your child a safe distance away from you when you’re cooking and never leave your cooker unattended unless your child is secure elsewhere. Get into the habit of making sure that pan handles when they’re on your stove are turned away inwards so that a young toddler can’t reach up and grab them.
There are many other dangers to home safety you’ll need to consider when you have a young toddler or baby living in the house. Things such as irons, blinds and curtain cords, sharp objects and aerosols all present potential danger. You should keep your cleaning materials cupboard secure, any lighters or matches well out of the way and even indoor plants can be harmful to children if ingested. Children are naturally curious about anything new, so take a good close inspection of your home and make sure that you keep it as safe as possible.