From the moment you bring baby home, you need to think differently about safety, even within the friendly environment that is your home. You’ve probably always thought of your home as a warm, comforting and welcoming space. But with a baby or small child, there could in fact be hazards that never crossed your mind before.
Babies 0-6 months old
At this stage, babies aren’t mobile, but they are wiggly, so there are still hazards that you might not have thought of before.
It doesn’t take a baby long to learn to roll. You might have gotten in the habit of putting baby down on the sofa or on a table to change them, but you can’t take your eyes off them for an instant! They could easily roll off, even at a month or two old, in the blink of an eye!
Sure, it’s cute that Fido is looking at your new baby with what you assume to be love in his eyes, but you should never, ever leave a baby or small child alone with pets. Over 100,000 kids in the US go to the hospital every year because of dog bites and typically it’s the family pet that is involved.
Young children are prone to tugging on tails, ears, fur and feet. Any pet might react badly to the treatment, no matter how docile they’ve been in the past. So if you have dogs or cats, you need to keep them out of the nursery and out of baby’s crib.
A baby’s way of getting to know the world around them includes putting things in their mouths. Make sure that baby can’t reach any item that is smaller than the throat. How can you tell? Use a cardboard toilet paper roll as a testing tool: if the item fits into the tube, it’s too small for a baby.
Most age-specific toys are vetted for removable too small parts, but you need to be on the lookout just in case.
Babies 6 – 8 months
At this point, most babies are sitting up and even crawling, so you need to see things from their point of view. Get down on your hands and knees in the spaces they will be playing, so that you can spot any hazards. You’d be surprised what you might not notice from an adult vantage point that becomes glaringly obvious from a baby’s point of view.
Hide them behind furniture or under rugs. Window blind cords should also be hung up and put out of reach.
Get them covered up!
Anything with batteries
The battery cover on a remote can pop off, leaving the batteries exposed to baby’s tiny fingers.
- Cabinet doors at baby level need to be locked / baby proofed.
- Pet food and any chemical products need to be out of reach.
- Heavy furniture, including dressers and TVs, should be anchored to the wall.
- Install baby gates at the top AND the bottom of stairs.
Babies 8-12 months
At this stage, they are pulling themselves upright and starting to take their first steps. The baby gates at the stairs are even more important now, but they can be useful in the doorways of other rooms, either to keep the kids in or the pets out.
- Watch the level at which you put anything down. A hot cup of coffee forgotten on a low coffee table could result in a severe burn.
- Door knob covers or latches on the door, at a height the child cannot reach. The bathroom is a particular danger zone, between the toilet and the taps, as well as all those hard edges.
Toddlers on the move!
When kids start to walk, life is more fun, but the hazards increase too! Here are three home hazards that many parents don’t think of:
Filled with knives and detergent pods, a dishwasher without a safety latch could be a hazard. Point knives downwards in the basket, only put the detergent in at the last second and put a latch on it. If your unit comes with a locking mechanism, get into the habit of using it long before it becomes an issue!
Throw rugs or carpets
A loose carpet is a hazard for a toddler as they are often going faster than their feet should allow! The can easily trip or slip on a rumpled carpet, sending them crashing to the floor.
There are dozens of plants that are hazardous if ingested, so make sure that you don’t have any in the house, or at least in spaces where the baby / toddler spends time. Here are a few examples: Calla lilies, Lily-of-the-Valley, Daisies, Mistletoe, Periwinkles, Holly and more.
There’s no need to remove everything from your home, but you need to be mindful of things that could cause harm. A preventable accident can take a split second, but leave a lifetime of regret!
Donna Potter is the founder of Fusion Gates, modern pet and baby safety gates engineered for safety, but designed as a work of art. Their designer gates feature a patented interchangeable art screen system and an ongoing collection of beautiful screens ranging from trendy to traditional. These beautiful designs allow for seamless integration and harmony into your home’s décor. With Fusion Gates, you can say goodbye to the unattractive pet gates of the past! Fusion Gates are your portal to harmonious living.