5 Easy Steps to Babyproof Your Home
Expecting your first baby? Chances are your home isn’t the safe haven you think it is. A large proportions of accidents involving children take place in the home, with many mishaps taking place in the kitchen, bathroom and on the stairs. The good news is, most accidents can be avoided. Planning ahead and taking simple safety steps before baby arrives can minimise potential dangers and disasters. From choking hazards to house insurance, these tips will have your home babyproofed in no time.
1. Get On Their Level
Most babies start to crawl between the ages of 7 and 8 months. Don’t wait until that happens to take stock of what might prompt further investigation from your little explorer. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl from room to room to get a baby’s-eye view of what could tempt tiny fingers.
Plug sockets present an obvious danger. Safety plugs are sold in multi-packs everywhere from supermarkets to toy stores and should be installed on all outlets to help protect your child from electric shock. Anything that fits through a toilet paper tube is a potential choking hazard so small knick-knacks and ornaments should be gathered and moved to a safe place. Don’t forget to put padding on the sharp corners of furniture and fireplaces to prevent painful bumps and scrapes.
2. Batten Down the Hatches
Crawlers soon start to stand and any piece of furniture is fair game when baby wants to pull himself to his feet. Use brackets or wall restraints (Ikea includes wall-anchoring kits with all floor-standing units) to secure tall or heavy items such as bookcases and dressers to prevent your child from tipping them over—along with everything they contain. Babies often reach for wires and electrical cords, too, which can cause lamps or flat-screen TVs to topple forward. Try tucking cords behind or on top of furniture where inquisitive hands can’t reach them and consider wall-mounting your TV.
3. Lock It Up
Curious kiddos love to explore the contents of cupboards and drawers, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Move all dangerous items (bleaches, cleaning products, medications and sharp or breakable objects) to locked cupboards out of baby’s reach and place childproof safety latches on all drawers and doors near floor level to prevent pinched fingers or unsupervised exploration. The same goes for the fridge, dishwasher and oven.
No one can guard against every danger, but you can reduce the risks by confining your kid to babyproofed parts of the home. Install safety gates at the top and bottom of every set of stairs, so that baby can’t climb up or down, as well as at the entrance to any room that can’t easily be made safe. Look for gates that screw directly into a doorframe or wall instead of pressure-mounted styles that can come loose when pushed on.
4. Focus on Fire Safety
Properly maintained smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are essential when childproofing your home. They need to be installed on every level of your home, tested weekly and get new batteries at least once a year. You can also protect your baby from burns by blocking their access to the fireplace or stove with a childproof fire guard that can be securely fixed to the wall.
5. Review Your House Insurance
There’s a lot you can do to improve your peace of mind before your baby is born, including a review of your house insurance policy. Call 1890 724 724 or fill out an online form to request a call-back.
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Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Copyright Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. 1995.