As your baby grows, he or she will become more independent. Every inch of the house - from kitchen, to living room, to nursery - will present itself as an unknown territory waiting to be explored. That’s why, as our babies become more mobile, safety becomes a more pressing concern.

 

One important precaution we all need to take as parents is baby-proofing our house. By ensuring that any potential hazards have been made safe or removed from the house completely, we can help protect our toddlers from injuries and accidents. With this in mind, we’re going to explore some of the most important steps you need to take in order to adequately baby-proof your house. We hope this helps.

 

Kitchen/Bathroom


- Firstly, always use a baby gate to restrict access to potentially dangerous areas. When cooking, for example, you might want to use the gate to keep your toddler or young child in the next room, so as to avoid any accidents.

 

- Always keep stools and chairs away from the cooker and oven, so as to prevent them from having access.

 

- Place knob protectors on the stove or oven, if they’re not already there.

 

- Place a lock - or a latch - on the cupboard or area where you keep dangerous chemicals. Any cleaning fluids, detergents, sprays and anti-bacterial products should be kept here.

 

- Keep all knives and sharp dangerous objects in a locked drawer, or in a drawer that’s high up and out of reach.

 

- Keep your rubbish in a locked cupboard, or space, or use one that has a child-lock.

 

- Be particularly careful of wires that are in reach of children. Use wire guards to protect any wires that are reaching to the ground, so as to prevent children from pulling down hot kettles, toasters or item appliances.

 

- In the bathroom, make sure never to leave cleaning products or chemical out in the open. Keep these in a locked cupboard, or space, or downstairs with the other chemicals.

 

- Place a mat on the floor to prevent slipping or injuries. Non-slip mats are best.

 

- Make sure all medicines, vitamins, etc, are kept out of reach (and have child-proof caps, for extra safety).

 

- Install a safety latch on your toilet seat.

 

- If the window is reachable due to the toilet seat, bath tub, or other furniture, install child-proof bars or ensure that the windowis properly secured at all times.

 

- Make sure that all cosmetics, shampoos, toothpaste, etc, is kept locked up and out of reach. The same goes for scissors, tweezers and other items.

 

- Get a soft cover for the tap in the bath.

 

Living Rooms/Additional Rooms


Furniture


- The first thing you want to do is secure any tall furniture in the room. Dressers, wardrobes, bookshelves should be firmly secured to the wall using braces to prevent them from accidentally falling on your child.

 

- You should avoid using furniture with glass doors or anything that might break, and thus be hazardous.

 

- Watch out for any furniture or accessories that could close fast on your child’s fingers or hands.

 

- If you have a fireplace, make sure to use a fireguard and always keep it in place when a fire is burning. You should also keep matches, lighters, firelighters, out of reach at all times.

 

Windows


- Explore the various options available to secure your windows. You can use window-stops to prevent the windows from opening more than a few inches or look into window guards, which will be secure enough to prevent any accidents.

 

- Be conscious of the lengths of cords hanging from blinds on windows. Always make sure, for instance, that the cord from the blind is well out of reach of your child. Long cords can pose a risk of strangulation for small children.

 

- Avoid curtains with beads or other similar decorations. Beads can come loose and pose a choking risk for your child.

 

Electricity & Wiring


- The first thing you want to do is put plastic protectors over all electrical outlets.

 

- In areas where there are alot of wires - like in living rooms near the TV and home entertainment system - you should look into buying wire guards. These will help prevent any unwanted interference with wires.

 

- Do not use floor lamps, as these can be easily pulled over.

 

- Avoid placing lamps on tablecloths - which can be easily pulled down - or having lamp wires within easy reach. Again, using wire guards here might be the best idea.

 

- Use anchors to secure your flat-screen TV - and large stereo system - to the wall, to prevent it from falling.

 

Nursery


Furniture


- The first thing you want to do is secure any tall furniture in the room. Dressers or wardrobes should be firmly secured to the wall using braces to prevent them from accidentally falling on your child.

 

- You should avoid using furniture with glass doors or anything that might break, and thus be hazardous.

 

- When it comes to dressers, it might be a good idea to use child locks on the drawers. As your toddler gets older, he or she might try climb these - or get his or her fingers caught in them when opening and closing.

 

- Similarly, watch out for any furniture or accessories that could close fast on your child’s fingers or hands. Heavy toy chests - although quite popular - can actually pose risks in this regard. The same is true of certain rocking chairs and other types of furniture.

 

Windows


- When designing your nursery, always make sure to keep other furniture away from windows. This will reduce the temptation to climb up and look out.

 

- Explore the various options available to secure your windows. You can use window-stops to prevent the windows from opening more than a few inches or look into window guards, which will be secure enough to prevent any accidents.

 

- Be conscious of the lengths of cords hanging from blinds on windows. Always make sure, for instance, that the cord from the blind is well out of reach of your child. Long cords can pose a risk of strangulation for small children.

 

- Avoid curtains with beads or other similar decorations. Beads can come loose and pose a choking risk for your child.

 

Electricity & Wiring


- The first thing you want to do is put plastic protectors over all electrical outlets.

 

- If you have alot of wires in the bedroom, you should look into buying wire guards. These will help prevent any unwanted interference with wires.

 

- Do not use floor lamps, as these can be easily pulled over.

 

- Avoid placing lamps on tablecloths - which can be easily pulled down - or having lamp wires within easy reach. Again, using wire guards here might be the best idea.

 

Cots


- Firstly, when you purchase your cot, make sure it has fixed sides - and is not one of the old fashioned drop-side cribs. These cribs are at risk of malfunctioning and causing serious injury.

 

- There should be very little space between the corner of the cribs’ mattress and the crib frame. Large spaces might result in your child falling or becoming stuck down the side.

 

- Look for cribs with narrow crib slats. 2 and ⅜ inches apart is a good rule of thumb.

 

- Be careful not to place your baby’s crib near a heater or any other source of heat. Also avoid placing the crib in direct sunlight. This is to prevent overheating.

 

- Never place anything over your baby’s crib that could fall on them.

 

- Don't put pillows, cushions, blankets or soft toys inside the cot.

 

General Suggestions


- Inspect all rooms in the house for any objects that might pose a choking hazard and remove them. Small toys, loose screws, etc.

 

- Make sure to fit every room with a smoke detector and to test it on a regular basis. The same goes for C02 detector.

 

- Purchase a baby monitor and ensure that it’s batteries are always kept full.

 

- Keep a working fire extinguisher somewhere easily accessible in the house.

 

The following resources might also be of help:

http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/child/childsafety/child_proof.html

http://www.parents.com/baby/safety/babyproofing/

http://www.babycenter.com/0_childproofing-checklist-before-your-baby-crawls_9446.bc