Congratulations! You have a new baby on board! Isn’t it exciting to have a new member in the family who takes your life to a whole new level. Just how you take care of all the baby needs, it is equally important to give him/her a safe home. Your home should be a place of security for the baby and not a threat. Before you even bring your baby home, make sure that your home is ready to welcome it.
Prevention is better than cure. You may wonder if it is really necessary to take precautions so early (when the baby is just a few days old), but trust me, time flies and before you know it, they start exploring on their own. There is no particular time to baby proof your home, get it done as soon as you bring a baby home. This way you will ensure there is no hazard for your baby at home. This is applicable for toddlers as well. In fact you need to be more careful with toddlers (2-3 yrs).
Let us first discuss what are the potential hazards in your home that may harm your baby.
1. Electric Sockets
Start by insulating the plug sockets with a socket cap or an insulation tape. Tampering the sockets with any metal could be hazardous and may cause electrocution. Make sure that the socket pins are out of reach of the baby or they are secured with a cap. Also when an appliance is not in use, switch off the plug switch to avoid any short circuit.
2. Small Objects
The messy, carefree home that you had earlier should no longer be the same with a baby. Toddlers have the ability to see even the tiniest speck of food or objects left on the floor. And the first thing they do is pop them right in their mouth. This could lead from infections to dangerous health hazards.
Keep your floors clean as much as you can especially if you have a crawling baby. Give the floor a good vacuuming or cleaning everyday and mop them once or twice a week (depending on how dirty they get). Pick up any small objects/food lying on the floor.
Every medicine comes with a label ‘Keep out of reach of children’, but how safe are they at our homes? Collect all the medicines together in a medicine box or kit and store them at a hard to reach place, a high shelf or a cabinet so that it is accessible only for adults.
In the recent years, you may have noticed the rise of lightweight furnitures. From IKEA to local markets, these light weight furnitures are everywhere. If you have a kid at home, think twice before buying them. The number of children deaths due to toppling furniture has risen over the years. Improper installation and assembling are the main causes. A stationary furniture may look safe until your kid decides to climb on it. Kids, especially boys have a habit of climbing set of drawers. Once they reach the top, the furniture loses the balance and falls straight on top the child. This can leave the child helpless to even call for help.
If you are installing light weight furnitures in your home, make it a point to secure them to the walls. Purchase furniture anchors and attach them to the wall studs. Ensure that they are tight and regularly check them. If you don’t plan on buying one, simply screw the backboard of your drawers to the wall. Following this safety precaution will save your child’s life in an unfortunate situation.
The most hazardous objects in every household are the batteries. They are extremely dangerous in your child’s hands lest they put it in their mouth. Batteries are made up if harmful chemicals which are toxic to the human body. By saying batteries, I don’t mean just the A, AA or AAA batteries but also the most dangerous button batteries. Button batteries are found in your everyday products like watches, remotes, greeting cards, which when injected by children lead to death. According to Daily Mail, “There were 11,940 cases of children swallowing batteries from 2005 to 2014”.
If you are having a baby/kid at home, please make sure that any toy or electronic device with a bartery socket is secured with a screw. Most toys usually come with a screw attached to the battery socket. Every time you change the batteries, secure the socket. Once the battery is exhausted, don’t leave it in the compartment as it may leak and spoil the whole product. Discard it immediately. Avoid objects using button batteries(watches, remotes, toys) in the reach of children. If you can’t keep them safe, throw them away. It’s not worth your child’s safety. For more info on the effects of button batteries – Death By Button Batteries
6. Curtain/Blind Cord
Yes, you may not have thought about it. But it’s dangerous for your toddler. Kids tend to play with things that dangle around, like a swing. Curtain cords/strings too are quite inviting to play with. The child starts by hanging onto them for a while then twisting or twirling them around, which may lead to strangling. You may not even hear his call for help.
Installing your blinds and curtain cords correctly may help prevent serious injury or death. When installing new blinds, make sure you secure any loose or looped cords. Do not leave them hanging down. You can alternatively install tassels too.
7. Bucket of water
Never leave standing water in a bucket or tub/sink. It takes very little water to create a drowning hazard. Never leave a child unattended in Bath. If you must leave, take the baby with you. Always check the water temperature before bathing the baby.
We keep many indoor plants in our houses as a decor. But they can be toxic. If such plants are injested they may cause burns in throat or breathing problems. Keep plants away from child’s reach. Find out if your indoor plants are toxic or non toxic.
We tend to hoard on these for our kids. But it is important to buy age appropriate toys for babies or kids. Toys which are meant for above 3 years of age should not be given to babies. For babies, stick to rattles and teethers. They are safer and have no injestion hazard. Check the toys if there are any broken parts before giving them to your children.
Make sure that the locks of doors and windows are not accessible by kids. For children upto age 5, the risk of locking themselves inside a room is higher. Seal all door knob locks and use a drilled strap lock at a higher level in bathrooms for adult reach. You can even tape some thermocol with duct tape in the knob lock. Or the easiest option is to buy a door stopper and fit it on every door (This way your toddler won’t smash his tiny fingers between doors too). If you live in an apartment, be extra cautious to secure the window locks.