7 places to start when baby proofing your home
Switch on the TV or visit a news website and there is no shortage of bumps and babies. Among the glut of Royal births and new celebrity offspring, one headline did catch the eye and it concerned the ex Chancellor, George Osborne.
It was reported that the former political high flyer, who is to become a father this summer, is being encouraged to baby proof his London home, after it was revealed to be a very chic, sharply-styled mews property that is more bachelor pad than baby nest.
This case highlights how some parents may have to adapt their grown-up interior style to accommodate small people – especially leading up to when babies start crawling and walking.
With this in mind, we bring you our quick guide to baby proofing a new home, bearing in mind that small people are quick, inquisitive and unpredictable.
- Implement electrical safety
Tiny fingers will find the smallest of gaps, so lockable plug socket covers are a must, especially when it comes to sockets at skirting board level. It’s also wise to tie up cables and to block electrical hubs with heavy items of furniture.
- Remove hazardous items
Babies love to reach out, grab things and put them in their mouths so hazardous items should be locked away or moved up high before a baby is born. Pay particular attention to batteries, coins, knives, tools, cleaning products, alcohol, sewing kits, plastic bags, house plants and medication. As an extra precaution, add safety catches to cupboard doors and drawers below waist height.
- Eliminate trip hazards
As soon as a child’s first step is taken, parents need to remove anything that could cause them to fall. Pay attention to unsecured rugs, piles of shoes, loose pieces of carpet, trailing wires, vacuum cleaner cords and extension cables.
- Secure windows & doors
Window restrictors and childproof locks offer peace-of-mind if you have little explorers, and don’t forget to only ever use cord-free window dressings. Door stops and finger guards will prevent fingers and toes getting squished, and it’s also wise to check if any glazed panels contain safety glass.
- Buy baby gates & a playpen
A baby’s new found freedom can also present an accident waiting to happen. A baby gate at the top and the bottom of the stairs is advised and using a baby gate across a doorway will restrict access to an out-of-bounds room or the garden. A playpen is another way to keep a baby safe in one spot.
- Make furniture safe
Sharp corners will quickly be at eye height of a toddler, so use cushioned guards to prevent injury, paying particular attention to low-level items. Heavy or freestanding furniture pieces – especially bookcases, dressers and chests of drawers – should be screwed to the wall or securely fastened using anti-tip straps/brackets so they can’t be dragged over or toppled.
- Fire & water safety
Open fires and fireplaces should always be screened with a fixed fire guard, and extreme caution should be taken with candles or wax melt burners. Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, if not already in place, and ensure they are tested on a regular basis. You may also like to buy a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket to keep in the home. Don’t forget to keep kettles out of reach and install tap guards to avoid scalds.
Outside – fence off, securely cover or fill in ponds, water features and pools.
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- Compile or buy a ready-made baby first aid kit
- Download the Red Cross’s baby and child first aid app
- Learn how to perform CPR on a baby or child
- Know what to do if a child or baby is choking
- Buy a baby-proofing kit or stand-alone safety items online
This online guide to baby proofing really is a must-read, and covers other areas, such as garages and gardens, in more detail. If you find your home is unsuitable for family life, contact us for a list of alternative properties.