Advice from Canpol's experienced mothers.
Making sure your baby is safe is a difficult task. You have to be constantly cautious and anticipate your baby's intentions. When my toddler learnt how to roll over from his back to his tummy, I had to keep an eye on him all the time so that he wouldn't fall off the sofa bed. Yet this was nothing compared to when my toddler started crawling. He was interested in everything: the contents of cupboards and drawers, everything that could be pressed and pulled. His little hands had no limitations: fridge, TV, waste bin...He was keen to explore everything and I was more and more frightened. I noticed that my house was dangerous for someone that I love more than anything in the world! I had no choice but to do something about it as soon as possible. Here is some advice on how to make your house safe for the baby. You can use the tips to do a safety check in your house and perform the necessary changes to make your home childproof. It can be done.
Create an environment in which both you and your child will feel comfortable.
Safety in every room
- When your child is under 1 year old he should never be left alone, without adult supervision. Take him with you when you got to the kitchen or toilet. If you have an older child, make sure that there are no potentially dangerous items in the room where your child is spending time alone, e.g. an iron left on, hot tea, or a heavy object which could be pulled down from a shelf (e.g. with a tablecloth). Remember that a child isn't aware of danger. You have to think for him. He is just curious of the world.
- Before your baby was born you probably didn't even pay attention to loose-hanging cords, e.g. left after an unfinished renovation project. Now you have to get rid of them. Loose-hanging cords of lamps or irons, left within the sight of your crawling toddler, are an irresistible temptation....and a deathly danger.
- Pieces of furniture that don't look dangerous on the surface can also cause injuries to children. Therefore protect sharp corners with corner cushions and install catches and locks on drawers and cupboards.
- Fix all shelves and glass cases to the wall. A climbing toddler can accidentally cause the heavy construction to collapse on himself.
- If your house has more than one storey, install smoke alarms on all of them.
- Don't forget about safety gates. They will protect your toddler from falling from the stairs.
- Socket covers are an absolute must-have as the toddler could stick various objects in sockets and get an electric shock.
- Place all potentially dangerous objects (i.e. items that are made of glass, or are sharp or heavy) on high shelves.
- Keep medicines, matches, chemicals and plastic bags (the toddler could put his head into a bag and suffocate) in high cupboards that are firmly closed.
- Install window catches - children like to climb on window boards. The catches will allow air flow, but your baby will be safe.
- Install door slam stoppers to prevent the child from slamming the door on his fingers.
Dangers lurking in the hall and staircase
Before my child was born I used to keep numerous things on the stairs. Newspapers, laundry basket, purse. When the baby was born, these things had to be relocated from the stairs so that the toddler wouldn't trip on them. I also installed safety gates on the top and bottom of the staircase, and fixed the carpet covering the stairs with special rods. Fortunately, the balustrade turned out to be safe for the baby, so I didn't have to worry about my child getting his leg or head stuck between the balusters. If the distance between balusters in your balustrade is more than 10 cm wide, you should protect them with a special net designed for protecting balconies. Also remember to protect your front door so that your child won't be able to go for a walk on his own...
In the kitchen
- If you have a knife stand on your kitchen table, put it someplace else. From now on, all sharp objects, bags and spices must be kept in locked ot otherwise protected cupboards.
- Use small placemats instead of a tablecloth - children like to pull all kinds of hanging things.
- If you have a dog or cat in your household, don't leave their bowls within your child's reach. The toddler can treat pet food as delicious snacks. When your pet finishes eating, throw away the leftovers.
- Don't put hot drinks, food or dishes where your child can reach them. Don't leave the kitchen when cooking, if the toddler is out of your sight. If you must step out of kitchen, block the kitchen entrance.
- Protect the stove with a special cooker guard (some shops also sell hob guards).
- Don't leave your child alone when he's eating in case he chokes on food. Fasten the toddler with the safety harness when he sits in the highchair.
- Wipe off spilt liquids from the floor.
- In case of fire, keep a small fire extinguisher or blanket in the kitchen.
- Protect the waste bin cupboard so that the child can't open it.
- Before bathing your child, unplug the washing machine, blow dryer, curler and other eletrical appliances that can cause an electric shock.
- Don't leave your child unattended in the bathroom. Put a non-slip bath mat in the bathtub. First pour cold water, then warm. Check the water temperature before putting your baby in the bath. You are tired and sleepy, therefore you might have mixed up the water taps.
- Buy a bathroom mat and place it by the bathtub. Wipe the bathroom floor dry after bathing in order to prevent slipping on it.
- Keep medicines, cosmetics, chemicals and other dangerous substances out of your child's reach.
- Close the toilet seat with a special toilet lock. Don't leave the cover up, especially when you've just used a disinfectant.
- The TV should be placed so that it can't be pulled or pushed off the cabinet.
- Keep plants out of the toddler's reach. He might drop them on himself, eat leaves (get rid of any poisonous house plants - you can read more about it at the section about dangerous plants) or soil.
- Also, move any heavy, fragile or glass objects from low shelfs, cupboards, tables, etc, someplace higher.
- Fix all furniture to the walls and protect the corners.
- If you have a fireplace, install a fireguard.
Toddler's room /nursery
- When changing the nappy, don't leave your child unattended on the changing mat.
- Make sure that the toddler's hanging toys, e.g. mobile, don't have too long strings. When your toddler grows and starts to reach the hanging toys, take the mobile off.
- When the baby starts crawling and climbing, don't put his favourite toys on high shelves. He'll certainly want to get to them.