How time flies. It will undoubtedly feel like it was only yesterday you were carrying your little one in your tummy, keeping him or her safe. Now, baby is here – and just about to be on the move. It’s time to baby proof.
When you first see your little one ready to try and move, you need to think about how to make your home safe. After all, each home throws up different challenges and dangers and it can be overwhelming knowing where to start.
- Stair Gates: Stair gates will be your saviour, whether you have a house or flat. Not only does it keep your little one out of harm’s way, it gives you peace of mind. You don’t need one on every door, just work out the most strategic places for them. For example, if you have stairs you would place one at the bottom of the staircase to stop them climbing and another stair gate in their bedroom so if you’re upstairs you know when you pop them in their room they’re safe. We opted for a stair gate across the kitchen door making it a no-go baby zone unless they were in their highchairs. When it comes to stair gates it’s tricky to recommend one brand – we would advise that you be guided by the size of space rather than style. Always ensure you know your measurements so you pick the right stair gate for you.
- Room Dividers: Room dividers offer children a safe place to play and a little area to call their own. When we had HTC we were living in a flat so laid foam tiles on the floor and put up a room divider to create an area just for him. It was his play area in which he was safe and couldn’t wander near cupboards, drawers and doors. We went for the Lindam Safe and Secure Playpen which can be a playpen, room divider, safety gate and hearth guard (not for use when fires are lit).
- Breakables: The lounge can be a slightly trickier room to tackle, especially if you do have valuables and breakables such as vases of flowers. At first, it’s best to compromise. For the first couple of months of the kids cruising and walking, put breakables out of their reach – but leave a few non-breakables at floor level so you can practice the word ‘NO!’ if they are headed that way. For peace of mind, I would always recommend temporarily removing breakables until they have been taught what to avoid.
- Hazardous Substances: It’s time to start putting the bathroom cleaner away properly either in a cabinet out of reach or right back in the kitchen along with any other chemicals. This is the one cupboard we would recommend having a lock on.
- Blinds: Double check your blinds as they should be fitted with a quick release snap on the chord. If not, fit a small hook half way up and start looping the cord out of the way.
- See It From Their Perspective: A great idea is to get down at baby level and have a look see what suddenly looks interesting to them and dangerous to you! As tempting as it is to remove everything don’t – children have to learn, so although you may have a frustrating period of time when all the DVDs spend their time on the floor, but be consistent with your discipline and they will start to lack appeal. A good idea (if you have a lot) is to remove some of them so you are not spending too long picking them back up ten times a day!
- Sharp Edges: For sharp corners, sticky protectors are an option, but they don’t last long with tots who like to use them as teething toys. Use a piece of foam and attach it securely yourself instead…we know, it’s not pretty, but it’s better than a trip to A&E. You can also invest in a fire gate to place around your hearth if you have sharp edges.
- Sockets: If you have exposed sockets, make sure you use sturdy covers or cover with furniture. We prefer to simply turn nightlights off as small hands can’t remove them.
- Cot: If your tiny tot is starting to pull themselves up don’t forget to lower your mattress in the cot.
- Toy Check: Remember to do a toy audit every so often – they do break and you don’t always notice so keep an eye out for spiky corners and jaggy bits.
And remember, tackle each room separately but thoroughly and you’ll be breathing a sigh of relief in no time. Please let us know if you have any other top tips or tricks!