Baby-proofing Basics for Your Home

If your baby’s on the move, it’s time to baby-proof the house. Granted, adult supervision is the best form of accident prevention, but it doesn’t hurt to take precautions to avert accidents. Here’s a guide to potential dangers found at home and how to address them.

Cords and wires
These pose a strangulation risk and should be tamed with wire ties or tape, if not placed out of reach. But note that wires may still be a hazard when tied or taped down, as children may chew or tug on them, bringing down heavy objects that could cause injuries. Tablecloths are best avoided too, for the same reason.

Drawers and Doors
Slammed doors can lead to crushed fingers, so secure your doors with magnetic or rubber door stoppers, or any mechanisms designed to help a door close gently.

Cots and beds
Check that the cot mattress fits snugly in the cot frame – a baby’s head can get trapped in gaps, leading to suffocation. Mattress pads and cot sheets should also fit securely. Keep pillows, stuffed toys, blankets and anything that may obstruct a newborn’s breathing out of the cot. Once your baby outgrows the cot, consider having him or her sleep on a mattress on the floor to prevent falls. Alternatively, invest in bed rails.

Anything that your child can swallow is a health risk – this includes medicines and other edibles that may be toxic in large amounts, as well as non-edibles such as button batteries, which pose a choking risk and may be lethal when consumed.

Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove as a precaution, and as a general rule, ensure your child is in a safe spot while you’re cooking, so you won’t trip over him or her while carrying a boiling pot. Some parents use safety gates to keep the kitchen off limits to children, while others place little ones in bouncy chairs or playpens while food preparation is underway.

Don’t let your guard down away from swimming pools – a baby can drown in as little as 2.5 centimetres of water. At home, keep fish tanks and pails of standing water where your child can’t reach them, and install safety
locks on bathroom doors
or toilet lids. Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub, and as much as possible, empty liquids from all receptacles in and around your home that your child may have access to.

They may not be very stylish, but window grilles offer the best protection for your child. In terms of aesthetics, “invisible” grilles are relatively unobtrusive in appearance and have caught on in popularity; louvred windows are another option. As an added safety measure, move all furniture away from windows.

This article first appeared in Celebrating Life Apr/May 2017 Issue