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Moving into a new house with children means you are going to have to childproof your home. Homes present infinite possibilities for children to explore and enjoy themselves, benefiting their development and understanding of the world.
However, this sense of wonder will inevitably come with some accidents and bruises. Minimise their risk of injury by following some of our childproofing tips for each room in the house.
The living room has televisions and all sorts of gadgets, meaning there will be plug sockets and extension leads. Children are known to touch things they shouldn’t and you want to avoid them jamming their fingers into sockets and electrocuting themselves, or tripping over extension leads and hurting themselves. Cover up unused plug sockets with socket covers, and keep extension leads neat and tidied away.
Glass coffee tables can present a threat to children just learning to walk – in the early stages children are prone to falling over, and if they do so near a glass coffee table, the glass could shatter and severely injure them. Check the type of glass with your manufacturer, as non-tempered glass shatters easily, so you may want to replace it or keep it in a child-free room.
Remember to keep candles and matches out of reach of children. Accidental fires could have devastating effects on your family and your property. Small candles and matches are also choking hazards. During developmental stages, children learn by putting things in their mouth, so keep any small objects out of their reach. Make sure remote controls have secure battery covers too; batteries are small and easy for children to swallow.
Keep a heat resistant fire guard in front of the fire place. In the event your child falls over, they won’t be in any danger of burns.
Make sure the crib is set up correctly is a huge part of babyproofing your home. Drop-side cribs are not recommended, as they pose risk of suffocation, if the drop side breaks and jams your child between it and the mattress. Instead, swap. for a fixed-side crib and avoid overloading it with toys that can be used to climb out of the crib.
Install a window guard for any window low enough for a child to climb out. Windows should only be opened to the size of an adult fist to prevent children falling out. Window blinds should also be cordless; cords have been responsible for the deaths of over 200 children since 1990 in the US. Any alternative to corded blinds would be preferable.
More than 15,000 children are admitted to A&E in the US each year due to unsecured furniture that tipped over on to them. Secure furniture like dressers to the wall using wall brackets.
You also want to avoid your child opening doors and wandering off where it shouldn’t, so make use of child proof door locks. Level handles are easy for children to open as they are pulled down by bodyweight alone. You can buy a baby proof cover that fits over the door handle and is secured with tape.
You need to install safety latches on the cupboard. This will make it harder for children to get into cupboards and ingest any chemicals or cleaning fluids. Latches cost £3.49 and is the best way of keeping dangerous fluids from your child’s hands.
In a similar vein, store your cleaning or household products away from your foods, so in the event the safety latch breaks, your child won’t confuse products like bleach and cleaning sprays with food. Instead, store these items above your child’s height so they have no way of accessing them.
When you are cooking, use backburners and turn handles out of reach. That way your child won’t touch any hot hobs and will about spilling hot water or oil on themselves.
Again, safety latches are important so prevent your child accessing harmful chemicals or medication. Store your medication high up and out of reach in their original containers so that if you child consumes something, you know exactly what it is and what action to take.
Anti-scalding devices such as the 4Moms Spout Cover will show you how hot or cold water is as it pours out of the tap. It gives information about whether water is the right temperature for your child. And ensures your child is safe during their bath time.
Make sure you don’t have plants with inedible fruits like red holly berries; they can look extremely appealing to children, but are poisonous, and eating 20 of them could be fatal.
This isn’t to say your garden needs to be bare; why not plant child-friendly bushes, trees and flowers that will help your child learn about nature and make an appealing addition to your garden.
If your garden has a pond, fence the area off or add netting over it to prevent your child falling in while unattended.
Again, ensure your garden tools and chemicals are kept in a locked shed before and after use.
Children are curious and adventurous, and with their development will inevitably come bumps and bruises. Of course, you can’t avoid little accidents, but taking these steps will ensure your child remains safe and unharmed.