baby proofing
Safety

Baby proofing your home

Baby proofing tips from Tom Madden, Health and Safety Officer at The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital.

Baby proofing your home may be something you do when your little one first arrives, put as time goes on it can be hard to stay on top of all the dos and don’ts of making your home safe. Take a look at the following areas of your home and see whether you can tick them all off as safe – it’s always worth the time it takes to check.

Storage

Store the following items well out your child’s reach:

  • household cleaning products
  • laundry product and weedkillers
  • sharp knives and scissors
  • hazardous kitchen appliances and DIY tools
  • medicines
  • cosmetics and alcoholic beverages

Edges and corners

Protect your baby from sharp edges on furniture and fireplaces by covering them with foam rubber or, where you can, use throw pillows, rugs and blankets.

Appliance cords

Don’t leave long electrical cords dangling for your baby to grab and pull. Wrap them short and keep them secured and as out of reach as possible.

Electrical sockets

Keep sockets covered with a protective cover or plastic plugs to avoid your child putting any objects into the sockets.

Toys safety

If you have any older children, keep their toys separate and out of reach of your baby or toddler. Punch or drill air holes into your child’s toy box, in case they ever become trapped in them. Preferably buy a toy box with a removable lid or else install safety hinges on the box.

Windows

Use childproofing guards on all your windows, even ground floor ones. Any windows that open more than four inches can be dangerous for your child. Do not place cots, steps, or other furniture adjacent to openable windows.

Blinds

Keep your baby’s cot away from any dangling blind cords or curtains. Tie up low hanging cords and keep them out of reach to avoid your baby getting tangled in a blind cord.

Kitchen safety

Keep your baby in a highchair or play pen when you are cooking. Keep pot handles facing inwards and put covers on the stove burners.

Safety gates

Place safety gates on both the top and bottom of staircases.

Furniture

Any furniture that is likely to topple over should be secured. This includes bookshelves, television stands, and chests of drawers. Any furniture that cannot be secured should be stacked bottom heavy so that your child can’t easily topple them over.

The fridge

Don’t use fridge magnets if you have a baby or toddler. Also put a safety latch on the fridge.

Glass doors

If you have any glass doors in your home it is a good idea to put stickers at your baby’s or toddler’s level of height. This will stop them from accidentally walking or crawling into the doors.

Cupboards

Put childproof locks on all cupboard and cabinet doors, as babies love to see what is behind the doors.

Tablecloths

Tablecloths can pose a danger to tots if they grab an edge and pull whatever is on the table down. To avoid this, secure all tablecloths to the table.

Out of reach

Any objects that could potentially pose a threat to your baby should be kept out of reach. This includes coins, small toys, nail scissors, etc. All medicines must also be put away.

Balcony safety

Keep balcony doors locked at all times. Do not keep objects on balconies that could be used as steps e.g. flower pots, tables and chairs etc. Never leave a child alone on a balcony.

Fire safety

There should be a smoke detector on every floor in the home, as well as near the kitchen. Detectors should be checked weekly to make sure they are working.

  • A fire extinguisher should be kept near the kitchen and near fireplaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about keeping the extinguishers serviced or checked regularly.
  • A fireguard must be placed around each fireplace. Ensure that the guard is large enough to enclose the fireplace and that it can be fixed to the wall.
  • Always keep lighters and matches and any flammable objects out of the reach of children.

More like this:

Choosing the right childcare
Keeping kids safe in the summer
How to keep your children safe

ASK LUCY

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….