Ensuring safety of an infant is a difficult task. All the time you must be on your guard and foresee its intentions. When my baby started to turn onto its tummy, I had to vigilantly monitor whether he does not fall while lying on a sofa. However, when my tot started to crawl, then he demonstrated a full range of his skills. He was interested in everything: content of cabinets and drawers, anything he could press or pull. The little hands knew no borders or limits: fridge, TV set, dustbin... Everything was interesting and I was increasingly scared. I discovered that my flat was not safe for someone I loved most in the world. I had no choice but to act, quickly and efficiently.
Here is a set of tips you may find useful in organising a safe house. This can be done.
I would like to invite you to take a trip around your flat, to look at it from a safety point of view and follow my advice. Create a world for your baby, in which both of you will feel comfortable.
- During the first year of his life a child should not be left alone, unaccompanied by an adult. When going to a kitchen or a bathroom, take him with you. When your baby is older, check if in the room in which you left the child there are no objects posing a danger to him, e.g. a switched-on iron, hot tea or a heavy object that may be pulled down from a shelf (e.g., together with a doily). Remember, the baby is not aware of the danger. You must think in his stead. He is only curious about the world.
- Before your baby was born, hanging cables might not have been a problem. You did not finish redecorating, and in time you got used to seeing the cables. Now you must get rid of them. A loosely hanging lamp or iron cable visible to your crawling baby is an irresistible temptation and... a deadly threat.
- Furniture of apparently safe appearance also may cause injuries. Therefore secure all sharp edges, install locks on cabinets and drawers.
- Attach bookshelves and other stands to the wall. A baby climbing up them may pull the whole heavy structure on himself.
- When you live in a multi-story house, install a fire detector on each floor.
- Do not forget about gates protecting the baby from falling from stairs.
- Definitely install socket covers before the baby starts to push various object into sockets causing an electric shock.
- Move to higher shelves objects that may pose a danger (glass, heavy, sharp).
- Keep medicines, matches, chemicals and plastic bags (a baby may put one on its head and suffocate) in tightly locked cabinets at a higher level.
- Install locks in windows - children love to climb onto sills. Locks will allow fresh air in, while keeping your baby safe.
- Install rubber stoppers or foam door clips on doors, so the baby does not slam the door on his fingers.
Before my baby was born, I kept all sorts of things on stairs. Newspapers, a basket with clean washing, a handbag. After the baby was born, all those things had to go from the stairs, so the baby did not stumble over a left object.
At that time I also had safety gates installed on the top and on the bottom of the stairs, and secured with special rods a carpet lining the stairs.
Fortunately, a banister we had at home proved to be safe for a child. So I did not have to worry that my baby will push its leg or head between the rungs. If at your place the distance between rungs exceeds 10 cm, secure it. You can use a special net used for securing balconies.
Remember to secure the main door, so the baby cannot open it himself and go for a walk alone.
- If you used to keep a knife stand on the cabinet top, forget about it. All sharp objects, bags and spices now have to be stored in a secured drawer.
- Replace a tablecloth with placemats - children love pulling hanging objects.
- If you have a pet dog or cat, do not leave its bowl with food standing - the baby may treat the feed as delicious crisps. When your pet eats its meal, throw away the remains.
- Do not put hot drinks, meals and pots within the child's reach. Do not leave the kitchen while cooking when the baby is not in your sight, and when you have to, bar the entrance.
- Secure an oven with a special guard (in some shops you can also find knob covers)
- Do not leave the child alone when he is eating - he may choke. When he sits in his feeding chair, a safety belt should be fastened.
- Wipe liquids spilled on a floor.
- Keep a small extinguisher or a blanket in a kitchen in case of a fire.
- Secure a cabinet in which you keep a dustbin.
- Before you start to bath the baby, unplug a washing machine, a hairdryer, a curling tong and other electrical devices posing a risk of an electric shock.
- During the bath, never leave the baby alone in the bathroom. Place a non-slip bath mat in the tube. Pour cold water in first, and then hot. Before you put the baby in, check the water temperature. When you are tired and sleepy, you must take precautions in case of mixing the tap knobs.
- Buy a bathroom rug and place it by the bathtub. After the bath do not leave a wet floor on which the baby or you with the baby in your arms may slip.
- Keep medicines, cosmetics, cleaning agents and other chemicals out of the child's reach.
- Secure a toilet cover with a special tape. Do not leave it open. Especially, when you poured a strong disinfectant in.
- A TV set should be placed in a way preventing a possibility to push it down from a cabinet.
- Place potted plants out of the baby's reach. The baby can pull a pot on itself, eat leaves (get rid of poisonous plants - you can read about then in the advice on dangerous plants) or soil.
- Remove heavy, fragile or glass objects from lower regions of the room.
- Attach the furniture to the walls and secure its edges.
- If you have a fireplace, you must install a special security guard.
- When you change the baby, never leave him alone on a changing table.
- Check if suspended toys, e.g., a mobile do not have too long pendants/strings. When the baby is older and starts to reach to suspended toys, dismantle the mobile.
- When the baby starts to crawl and climb up the furniture, do not place his favourite toys on upper shelves. Your child will definitely want to get to them.