Most things come with a manual these days. You buy a TV; it comes with a manual. You buy a computer; it comes with a manual. You buy a washing machine, not only does it come with a manual but, if you’re lucky, also with someone who moves it into your home and sets it up for you. But one thing that doesn’t come with a manual is that little bundle of joy you’ve just brought into the world.
We moms get advice about everything — from how long to breastfeed to what kind of diapers to use to how to get our children to sleep. But how about how to baby-proof the house and make sure we’ve brought our new child into a home that is fun and welcoming but ultimately the safest place for them? Well, we have some advice for you about that too.
Here are some ways to baby-proof your house as your kids start walking around and turning the family home into a playground.
Before you know it, the little one is going to be walking and crawling and bumping into things all over the place. So if you have stairs, make sure they are closed off with a child safety gate. Going up the stairs might not be so bad for them, but it’s the coming down that can be particularly difficult and dangerous.
Before you know it, your toddler is going to be opening cupboards and drawers with enthusiasm and excitement. They want to know everything — even what’s under the kitchen sink. So make sure all your nasty cleaners, detergents and other chemicals are locked away in a cupboard that’s out of reach.
Kids love food — well, certain types of food, anyway — and as soon as they know where the food is kept, they’re going to go looking for it. We’re not suggesting you keep the fridge under lock and key; just keep an eye on kids while they’re around the fridge, and make sure no boxes or chairs are nearby for them to use to reach for the chocolates kept on the top shelf.
There are just too many variables that can lead to disaster in the kitchen, especially if there is cooking going on. Hot food, knives, boiling water… Just keep kids out of the kitchen as much as you can.8
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While toddlers begin to awkwardly make their way around the home, it is important to remember that coffee tables and chairs are in their line of view and can easily come in contact with your little one’s face. Invest in some cushioned-edge protectors to ensure your kids don’t have any nasty falls into your sharp-edged furniture.
Front and back doors
As soon as toddlers figure out they can balance on their two wobbly legs, they’re going to be walking out and about, discovering everything they can get to. This would be a good time to ensure they are in no way able to open doors that exit to the front and the backyard. Children are fast learners, and they move fast too. It takes just two minutes before kids are out of sight and walking out the door.
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We don’t have to tell you how dangerous a backyard pool can be for a little one. Within seconds, a child can be found in the pool with little to no hope of survival. It is a real problem in Canada, but it has a simple solution: Fence your pool. Canada’s Red Cross has been an ambassador for kids’ safety and suggests the following to avoid a tragedy:
- Tell visitors the pool rules.
- Always supervise.
- Use personal flotation devices, not toys for support.
- Encourage feet-first entries.
- No one should ever dive into an above-ground pool.
- Do not wear earplugs; they can add dangerous pressure as you descend.
- Keep safety equipment nearby.
- Alcohol and pools don’t mix.8
What tips do you have for parents looking to child-proof their home? Let us know in the comments below!