I think it’s fair to say that all parents are aware of the need to babyproof their house, especially once their baby starts crawling, walking, and climbing. There are lots of obvious things parents jump to secure and lots of lists available to point out the main hazards and areas that need babyproofing.
But there are also lots of ways for your baby to get into trouble in your home that are often overlooking or the danger of which are underestimated.
Though falls and electrocution are usually the primary concerns for many families, and most readily addressed, a child between the age of 1 and 4 is actually most likely to be harmed from fire and burns, choking, drowning, or poisoning.
Of course you should place covers on the sharp edges of low tables, secure baby gates at the top of stairs, cover your electrical sockets, and limit the openings of windows to protect your baby from electrocution and falls, but don’t stop there!
Some dangers you may have overlooked:
- House fire: Make sure you have working smoke detectors.
- Oven and Stove: Consider putting a baby gate at the door to your kitchen, or if you can’t, a guard around the oven (which is often hot to touch) and stove-top (where saucepans can be pulled down).
- Tablecloths: Don’t use them until your baby is older, or tuck all the sides up. Baby can pull hot drinks and heavy objects onto herself.
- Hot drinks: Don’t underestimate how far you baby can reach or how high they can climb. Keep hot drinks off of low tables and well into the middle of higher tables. This goes for all small objects as well.
- TV: These days many households have flat-screen TVs that are easy to pull over but still heavy enough to cause serious damage. Keep your TV pushed well back from the edge of its table.
- Bookshelves: Anchor to the wall. They look great for climbing and can topple over and crush baby. Similarly, always keep drawers closed. An open set of drawers looks like a set of stairs to your baby.
- Fridge Magnets: Don’t forget how far baby can reach. Keep all magnets well above the height you baby could reach on their very best day. Don’t forget to keep checking how high this is; baby is getting taller all the time!
- Glass Doors: Well cleaned glass is invisible to your baby. Place stickers on the glass at their eye level – or dirty up the glass! 🙂
- Toilet: Your baby can drown in the toilet. Because they are so top-heavy if she looks inside she can tip in headfirst and drown within seconds. Keep a latch on the toilet and keep the door shut. Similarly, be mindful of a bucket you may use when mopping the floor. Never let it out of your site and remove as soon as you’re finished.
- Toys with beaded eyes: Many teddies have glass or plastic bead eyes that can be chewed off and become a choking hazard. Keep these toys for when your baby is older.
- Dishwasher: Look inside yours and you might find knives. Keep it shut and latched at all times. Best if you can have that gate on the kitchen door.
- Handbags: You may be used to putting any bags belonging to family members out of the way, but don’t forget those belonging to visitors. You have no idea what might be inside and many will have lotions you don’t want your baby swallowing and small items they could choke on. Designate a place up and out of the way where you can always ask guests to leave their possessions when visiting.
- Rubbish bins: Most families realise they need to latch a cupboard containing medicines or poisonous cleaning products, but don’t forget these bottles end up in the bin. There may also be small items in here that your baby could choke on. Keep your bin latched or behind a latched door.
This is not a comprehensive list of every way you can babyproof your house, but a collection of tips that are sometimes left off more general lists or overlooked when babyproofing freestyle.
One of the best things you can do to make sure you’ve covered all the bases in your home is to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around the house. From this angle you can see what might look interesting to your baby, where potential hazards are, as well as get an insight into what they can’t see easily.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of teaching your baby to listen to your instructions. While a 1 year old can’t be given complicated instructions they can understand “No” and if you use the right tone of voice and expressions (low and stern) they quickly learn to understand when they are about to touch or open or do something they aren’t meant to. There are, frankly, more hazards than you could ever 100% babyproof for. While the major ones can be covered, there’s always going to be situations where a response to a well-timed “No” can save your baby from harm.