Is your home baby-proof?
The best piece of safety equipment is YOU, watching, supporting and protecting your child. But the more mobile your baby gets, the more they’ll surprise you, so stay on your guard.
Safety Expert Jesper Anderson of Fred Safety gave us a baby proofing checklist of the things you can do.
Before you start: safety rules to live by
Get ahead – babies grow and develop quickly, so you’ll need to make sure you change things before they reach the next stage
When changing your baby, make sure you never leave them unattended even for a second
Never leave your baby unattended in the bath or near a pond or pool.
Small items are a choking hazard – make sure any little things are tidied away and out of reach.
What you need to baby proof your home
Here’s a list of items you’ll need as soon your baby can crawl
Stove knob protector and oven film
Fridge and freezer lock
Bath safety devices
Playpen or travel cot
Tall furniture straps
Glass door film
Door slam stopper
Room & bath thermometers
Things to do in every room to make them safe for your baby
Out of reach
Make sure all blinds, cords and curtains are out of reach of your baby, whether they are on the floor, in their highchair or in the cot. Blind cords should be short and high up or held up by cleats.
Fix the furniture
Fix tall, heavy furniture to the wall to avoid the danger of it tipping forwards. Move tall lamps out of the room until your baby is older. Get some cable tidies to keep the cables from your TV, computer and phone out of the way.
Place safety guards in all electrical sockets that are at floor level. If your baby’s highchair has to be near a socket that’s higher up, protect that too. Buy fire extinguishers and a fire blanket and make sure all adults in the house know where they live and how to use them. Fix a fireguard across open fires.
Lock it up
Add locks to the doors of cupboards/wardrobes that your child might try to get into. Make sure windows have locks on them and that the keys are kept out of baby’s reach. No window that your baby might be able to get near should open more than 10cm. Don’t put furniture near a window if your baby could climb up onto it.
Check if you have any toxic plants in the house and remove any that might be dangerous. Move plants to places where your little one can’t pull at them or dig in the earth.
Make stairs safe
Protect stairs with a stair gate at the top and the bottom. At the top, avoid any that have a lower bar, as that’s a trip hazard, so a screw-fit one is best. At the bottom, or in doors that you want to block off from your baby such as the kitchen, you can use a pressure gate that needs no screws in the frame.
How to baby proof your kitchen
Lock away the baddies
Make sure all cleaning products and any chemicals are kept in a locked cabinet, or in a high cabinet well out of reach. Dishwasher and washing machine pods, powders, liquids, alcohol, matches and lighters should also be kept out of reach. Fit locks to any drawers and cabinets that contain breakable objects, knives or other sharp objects.
Think before you cook
When cooking, put pots on the rear burners of the cookers and keep handles turned to the back. Babies could pull a pan of hot water over themselves if they are too near the front.
Buy and fit guards and locks for your cooker and a screen for your oven to prevent burns. Keep kettle and electrical appliance cords short and keep the appliances at the back of the counter.
Out of little fingers reach
Avoid using tablecloths, or anything your baby can pull on. Your little one could reach up and pull everything on the table down on themselves. Have your rubbish bin inside a cabinet if possible or keep it away from areas your baby is in.
Clean up with care
Only load the dishwasher at the last minute before turning it on and keep sharp objects with the point down. Only add cleaning products just before you turn it on and keep it locked if it has that function.
How to baby proof your bathroom
Don’t ever leave your baby alone in the bath even for a second. Babies can drown in a few centimetres of water. Make sure your boiler has been turned down so that the hot water is not above 55°C, to avoid scalds. Invest in some non-slip bath mats, a baby bath seat or support.
Put a lock on the toilet so your baby can’t play in the water. Place all dangerous chemicals, medicines including those on prescription, painkillers or sharp objects in a high, lockable cabinet.
How to baby proof your nursery (yes, really!)
Place a baby monitor on a table or chest near, but not in reach of your baby. Don’t place it too near a radiator or window, so that you can be sure it’s accurately recording the temperature in the room. Place a Carbon Dioxide monitor on the wall.
Avoid having cot bumpers or any toys or pillows in the cot which your baby could climb on or get caught in.
How to keep baby bumps to a minimum
Falling down and getting back up again is all part of the journey for your baby, but there are a few things you can do to limit the sore knees or bumped heads. You can buy corner cushions for furniture with hard, sharp edges such as coffee tables. Place them wherever your baby might fall over and bump themselves.
One way to protect open spaces on banisters and balconies is with mesh. Remember, babies can get through slim spaces, so protect anything that is 10cm or more. If railings are quite low, keep your baby away from the area or consider raising their height.
Sometimes it’s hard to completely baby-proof a room you need to be in. A large travel cot or playpen can help with this for short bursts of time. Maybe you’ll get to finish that cup of tea while it’s still hot after all!