It’s such a joy when your baby starts crawling, and their first steps are a cause for celebration. However, these milestones also require a whole new concern – babyproofing! You’ll look around your home and see all sorts of new dangers that never occurred to you.
The best thing you can do? Go through your home, room by room, and look for cords, cupboards, and sockets that could be a potential danger. Follow these tips and suggestions to keep your home safe for your little ones.
According to the Red Cross, there are plenty of hidden dangers for babies and small children in your home. Some of the culprits are fairly obvious, such as household cleaners and detergent pods (who can forget the Tide Pod Challenge?), but others may surprise you.
They’re cute, they’re colourful – and they’re toxic. Detergent pods are bright and shaped like sweets, practically begging small kids to play with them. This results in chemical burns, eye damage, cardiac arrest and even comas.
Detergent pods are a massive danger – did you know that in the US, Poison Control fielded more than 72,000 calls between 2012 and 2017 about just this one problem? A staggering 92% of the calls involved kids younger than 6 years old.
It all begs the question – why don’t manufacturers revert back to bland colours and non-appealing shapes for their toxic detergents? Your guess is as good as ours, but in the meantime, keep them away from kiddies.
You read that correctly – the very gates that parents install to protect their wee ones can actually cause them harm. The problem occurs when parents don’t install the gates correctly. They create a false sense of security, when in fact, the gate might as well not be there at all. A gate that doesn’t fit the stairs or the doorway correctly can also cause cuts, bruises, and worse.
Never, ever try to ‘customise’ your baby gate or fit it into a place it doesn’t fit or isn’t meant to go. Don’t cut it, bend it, or alter it in any way, and if it is damaged or worn out, dispose of it safely and buy a new one. We also recommend you stay away from retractable models, as they can pinch your baby’s (or your) skin, and can dislodge out of place easily and cause a nasty fall.
Look behind your doors – you likely have a coil doorstop back there, tipped with a hard plastic tip. Those plastic tips are a common hidden danger – they’re a choking hazard for small kids. Get rid of these dated coil stops and replace them with solid versions.
Here’s another entry into the ‘choking hazard’ file. Once your baby starts walking, you won’t be able to believe how many small items make their way into your home, just begging to be swallowed!
However, button batteries carry an extra level of danger, because in addition to choking, they can also cause chemical burns and poisoning. You’ll find these small, flat (and very shiny, which can be attractive to young kids) batteries in dozens of household electronics and toys, including your remote controls and musical greeting cards. Never leave kids unattended with a toy or gizmo that uses button batteries.
Some kids just want to put everything into their mouths! Cords can be a big issue, especially those that are brightly coloured. Chewing on cords can give a baby an electric shock or even a serious burn. Older toddlers might yank on cords and cables, causing heavy lamps or electronics to come crashing down on them.
Tuck your cords out of the way (or even better, use cord wraps to conceal them completely), wind table lamp cords around the legs of the table, and place a sturdy piece of furniture in front of standing lamps.
Never place your baby’s cot next to a large sash window, as they can stand up, push on screens, or fall out of an open window. More commonly, small children play with blind cords and curtain ties, which can then become a deadly strangulation risk. You should always use cordless blinds in kids’ rooms (which will also protect your pets!).
By babyproofing room by room, you can identify and remedy the hidden dangers in your home and garden. Take these steps to keep your family happy and healthy, and keep little ones safe.
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Woudstra, K. (2017). Is your baby gate dangerous? Here’s how to tell. [online] www.todaysparent.com. Available at: https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/baby-health/is-your-baby-gate-dangerous-heres-how-to-ensure-its-safe/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2020].
Woudstra, K. (2020). Start baby proofing! These are the 8 worst hazards in the home for kids. [online] www.todaysparent.com. Available at: https://www.todaysparent.com/family/family-health/start-baby-proofing-these-are-the-8-worst-hazards-in-the-home-for-kids/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2020].
Edward is the managing director of Sloane & Sons Stylish Chairs. He is an expert in quality, comfortable upholstered chairs.