When a new baby arrives, a whole new level of domestic geography is revealed to unsuspecting new parents. Innocent cupboards become death traps and doorways and drawers potentially become dangerous guillotines for small fingers.
Here’s our list of top tips that you can refer to now or save for later.
1. Anticipate crawling routes and remove hazards
Once your baby starts to move around, they will want to start to explore their surroundings. This is more often than not the lounge room floor so be wary of long curtains blowing gently in the breeze; they’re like nectar is to bees for a baby. Either tie back or take down curtains and cords that can be reached. Put hooks into the wall at chest height for drawstrings to be attached to and secure chains for blinds firmly to the wall so they don’t hang freely.
2. Cover the power points and bundle appliance cords
As soon as your baby discovers its fingers, he or she will want to pick things up with them and shove those things in holes. Power points are ideal for this joyful activity so as soon as that baby learns to roll over, get yourself immediately to the shops and buy the largest sturdiest power point covers you can find. Some are small enough to be a choking hazard so choose well. Cords for appliances and chargers should all be tied securely behind the equipment or stowed away above chest height when not in use.
3. Turn your house into a baby dodgems circuit
You know that satisfying bump you feel when one dodgem car crashes into another? This is what your house should feel like to a baby. One day your baby is rolling about on their tummy, the next they are pulling themselves up by the coffee table, about to smash their head on its corner. There are all kinds of pads and strips and corner protectors available so stock up on a few options and start smoothing over every sharp edge and savage corner.
4. Block access wherever possible
There is a huge range of security latches specifically designed for curious babies that fit onto drawers, doors, toilet seats, bin lids and more. Staircases can also be a challenge and babies always seem to want to be where you are. Gates in a range of sizes can be fitted with a frame that screws into the space required and make sure you buy a gate that can only be opened with a strong adult hand.
5. Make your house a choke free zone
Along with sticking their fingers into things, babies also love to stick things into their mouths. They do not discriminate about what that is – from buttons to balls, keys to remote controls. If they can pick it up, they will most likely try and swallow it. If it’s smaller than a golf ball, get rid of it. A golf ball may seem large but things that are soft and can be squashed can be chewed and make their way down a child’s windpipe just as easily as a marble or a Lego man.
6. Put all the dangerous stuff out of reach
It’s time to bid farewell to your former life of glamorous vases, chunky lamps and gorgeous pot plants - unless you have a lot of chest high shelving. Next is, dig out all the cleaning products, washing powders, dish-washing liquids, paints and general deathly poisons for relocation. Put them in a high cupboard in the laundry or in a safe cupboard that locks. It pays to be safe.
Everything you need to buy to child proof your home can be found at your local hardware or department store and if not there, you can have a look online.