When preparing to bring a new baby into your home, you have a lot to consider. You want your child to be both safe and comfortable, and you also need your house to function smoothly to keep up with your day-to-day tasks.
Childproofing your home is an essential step in preparing for a baby. It can protect children from household dangers and common accidents they’re not equipped to deal with just yet. Childproofing can also save you worry and and frustration, since you know baby won’t be getting into any trouble, dangerous or otherwise.
While you’re getting ready for a new baby, don’t forget childproofing. Even older kids can benefit from a little extra precaution. Here are seven ways to effectively childproof your home.
1. Know the Danger Zones
Every home is unique, so the best way to start childproofing your home is to identify potential danger zones. According to the National Safety Council, children are most vulnerable to danger in areas with water, heat or flame, toxic substances or potential for a fall.
With this in mind, walk through your home and take note of potential danger zones. For example, you might notice a fireplace, stairs and a slippery floor by the leaky sink. Take action to complete any repairs that contribute to danger zones before baby arrives and address other problems using additional childproofing methods.
2. Secure Dangerous Areas Using Safety Gates
Once you’re aware of the dangerous areas in your house, you can begin childproofing by securing those areas using safety gates. Safety gates are childproofing devices you can use to prevent falls and make certain areas off-limits for your child. They’re secure enough to keep baby out, while still allowing you easy access.
You might consider installing a safety gate at the top of staircases and in entrances to the kitchen, bathroom and other potentially dangerous rooms such as workshops. Make sure to install the gate properly and anchor it to the wall with screws. If you want to secure even more rooms, consider using doorknob covers as well to prevent little ones from opening closed doors.
3. Practice Window Safety
Windows pose dangers to children because they present the chance of a fall. By playing around an open window or leaning on a window screen, children can fall and become injured. Luckily, window falls are very preventable, as long as you are aware of the danger. Parents should childproof all windows in the home, with particular emphasis on second-story windows.
Keep windows closed and locked when kids are present, and consider installing a device such as a window guard to limit how wide the window can open. When you need to open a window, try to choose one out of your child’s reach. Always supervise and remember you need more than a screen to protect a child from a fall.
4. Secure Furniture to the Walls
Kids love to climb on things. However, climbing on furniture is usually unsafe, especially when that furniture is unsecured. When a child climbs or pulls on furniture or appliances like bookshelves, dressers or televisions, that furniture could tip over on them.
To keep kids safe, it’s important to anchor furniture at risk of tipping over. You can do this using anti-tip brackets or straps such as those you might use to prevent tipping in an earthquake.
5. Cover Outlets and Switches Properly
Most parents know covering outlets is an integral part of childproofing. But you also need to ensure you’re choosing safe outlet covers. Some small outlet covers or plugs may be choking hazards, especially if they’re easy to remove. Look for safer options like sliding or box outlet covers instead.
In addition to covering outlets, you may also want to cover other switches and knobs in your home. For example, to prevent accidents, it’s a good idea to protect garbage disposal switches and oven knobs. You can find baby-safe products to secure these in a store or online.
6. Put Hazards out of Reach
Another essential step in childproofing is making sure your child won’t be able to access any hazardous objects or chemicals. Move cleaning supplies to higher cabinets out of reach, lock up all medicines and keep sharp objects, matches and lighters and any other dangerous objects safely hidden, locked up or out of reach. If necessary, consider also securing cabinets with child safety locks.
Also, remember cords can also present danger. Try to keep cords from appliances wrapped up or out of reach as much as possible.
7. Use Non-Slip Mats to Prevent Falls
Even the most well-behaved child can get hurt every once in a while — it comes with the territory. However, you can prevent accidental bumps and scrapes by using non-slip mats in your bathroom and kitchen and by covering sharp edges of counters, cabinets and furniture using edge bumpers.
Childproofing for a Safe and Happy Home
Kids are joyful and adventurous, and having a new one in your home is bound to bring excitement. However, your little ones also need you to protect them. Try these tips to childproof your home and protect your child for years to come.
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more! Follow Kacey on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to keep up with her travels and inspiring posts!