No sooner have you brought your bundle home than the months start flying by and before you know it, it’s time to start solid food. You inevitably begin to think about where your tot will sit and turn your eye towards the multitude of high chair options. But 9 out of 10 are complete overkill and some could even be dangerous. Keep it simple.
#8 Thing you’d be wasting your money on: A huge fancy padded high chair.
Like so much baby gear, the highchair is a good idea gone rogue. Yes, your baby needs to sit up to eat. In fact if they can’t sit up well they are not ready for solids yet. And yes it’s convenient they sit up at table height. And, of course, they need some straps and such to keep them safe. But what they do not need, and what you will regret having to clean, is a highchair built roughly the size and shape of a spaceship, with all the complications and a price tag to match.
At every stage of your child’s development, from a small baby that you have to carry everywhere, through to crawling ball of mischief, tottering toddler and hyperactive child running around in random directions as if fuelled by a life’s goal to be as crazily energetic as possible – there are dangers of differing kinds in the home.
Keeping your child as safe as you possibly can is no mean feat, so hopefully this article will help you put some simple measures in place to make your home a haven for your child.
If your child can bump his or her head on a piece of furniture, then you can bet your bottom dollar that they will. Constant supervision will go a long way to being able to prevent this; however the inevitable bumps and falls will happen, so make your furniture as child friendly as possible.
Avoid furniture with sharp edges and keep all glass covered furniture in a child free zone until your child is old enough to understand the dangers of glass
Make sure that your furniture is heavy enough that your child cannot move it or have it fall on them – ensure that any lighter items of furniture are kept out of reach of children as much as possible and that they do not climb or play around it too much
2) Windows and Blinds:
Windows can represent a major hazard in the home. To safeguard your child, make sure:
Children play away from windows and, if possible, only open windows from the top
Windows are kept locked and keys kept out of reach of your child. This is especially important for windows located anywhere above the ground floor in your home
Pull-ropes are kept tied up and well out of reach of children. Blinds and the string which operates them could be a hanging hazard
Kids love to see what you are up to when you are in the kitchen and involving children when cooking can be great for their development and to stimulate them. It is however not always safe to have little ones running around in the kitchen.
Make sure that all pan handles are turned towards the back of the stove, so that little hands can’t reach up and inadvertently pull pans and pots down
Keep all sharp utensils out of reach of children
Consider getting child safe locks and latches for your draws and cupboards. The kitchen can look like a fun playground for your baby, toddler or child, but it’s important to teach them about the dangers of the kitchen
Turn your hot water thermostat down to 50 degrees centigrade, so that if an accident should occur, the water temperature is not boiling
Get power point guards to stop children from putting their fingers or other objects in the sockets
If you have a swimming pool or balcony, make sure that your child is supervised at all times. It’s also a good idea to install pool and balcony guards to prevent access to these areas without your supervision
For fires and heaters, make sure that all controls are kept out of reach and that you install a fireguard to prevent access
Install smoke detectors throughout your property
If you have stairs, make sure that you have a guard in place at the top and bottom of the stairs to prevent falls
For any garden or work areas, make sure that all tools are kept out of reach and that your child is supervised at all times.
In terms of glass in your house, it is a good idea to install safety glass or retro-fit some clear plastic film to your windows (especially those at head height for your child) so that glass doesn’t shatter should they break
This is by no means an exhaustive list; however with the correct supervision and care, it should go a long way towards ensuring your home is a safe, fun and stimulating environment for your child.
Do you have any other tips for safeguarding the home for children?
This article was supplied by the team at Babysitter Search, a website that provides childcare solutions.
BabysitterSearch.com.au is a community of nannies, babysitters and nanny agencies, all driven by the same goal – to give parents easy access to child care they can rely on.
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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.
But here’s my #1 hot tip for keeping your baby safe: there are three words you must never forget
A few days ago outraged media outlets began playing a video showing a child dodging traffic as he ran across a busy intersection.
The video, shot from the dashboard of a car waiting several spaces back from the intersection, shows a woman with a pram begin hurrying across the crossing as the pedestrian light was flashing, urging a young child to follow quickly. She reaches the other side while the child lags behind. The traffic light turns green and cars begin to move forward while the child is still only two-thirds of the way across.
Cars continue to drive on and he is forced to dodge and swerve his way to the other side. Thankfully, he arrives safely.
The blame for this near disaster was squarely and furiously laid at the feet of the woman (who is referred to fairly consistently as the mother, though there’s no way we know that is true). I am yet to see or read any coverage that even vaguely hints that perhaps the drivers of the cars are also due some of this moral outrage. Continue reading →
Maybe this should be #1. Or maybe this highlights that this list is not necessarily in order. Because I really don’t want you to underestimate how very much I mean it when I say – You do Not need Cot Bumpers.
#3 Baby item you absolutely do not need: cot bumpers. In fact….Please Do Not buy cot bumpers.
A cot bumper is padding that runs around the inside of a cot, supposedly to protect the baby from banging their head on the hard sides or getting any part of their body caught between the bars. But cot bumpers have been associated with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), strangulation, and suffocation, and can be very dangerous for your baby.
I can feel myself getting slightly stressed just writing about it. I began this list, this blog, and my consultation service largely because there are so many aspects of babycare that are confusing for parents and families. And no wonder, when there are things marketed to you as helping to keep your baby safe that are widely agreed to potentially lead to their death!! It’s incredible that things like cot bumpers are even allowed to be sold. If I could rip every cot bumper I see off the shelves, I would (maybe I should?). But, since the causes of SIDS are still yet to be fully understood, I suppose it’s not clear enough to ban them – though there are many advisories against them from health bodies around the world*. Continue reading →