A First-time Parent’s Guide to a Baby Proof Home
Being a first-time parent can be a bittersweet experience. It brings profound happiness and consistent anxiety about the safety of new infant members of the family. This is not surprising, given that little children are susceptible to diseases and injuries.
If you are a parent, whether or not for the first time, you likely experience the constant fear that your young kids might be at risk of getting harmed. Your concern is not unfounded. A study by Google suggests that nearly 70% of children who get involved in unintentional injuries at home are four years old and younger.
The main reasons for the hospital visits of little kids are (1) falls; (2) being struck by or against an object or a person; (3) natural factors such as illnesses; (4) poisoning; (5) motor vehicle accidents; (6) being cut or pierced by something; and (7) over-exertion.
As much as you want to be 100% sure of your children’s safety, there is no reason to be always in panic mode. You can’t control everything around you, but you can significantly mitigate the risks by applying techniques in baby proofing a house and installing a reliable home security system. Babyproofing is a must once your child starts crawling when he or she reaches 6 to 10 months. Shortly after, your baby will try to pull and climb furniture. Below is your guide as a first-time parent:
1. Install gates in rooms where a child is exposed to a lot of injury risks.
Gate off the kitchen, bathroom, and stairs. Avoid accordion-style gates that may cause strangulation. For gates on the top of staircases, use those that are mounted to the door frame.
2. Babyproofing furniture.
This is a non-negotiable. Little kids are fond of climbing heavy furniture, shelves, and almost anything elevated. Sadly, about 65% of child injuries are caused by falls.Place the couch, chairs, and large electronic devices away from high windows to prevent young crawlers from climbing on window sills. Secure heavy furniture and bookcases with brackets and anchors. Use two anchors. It is also important to cover the sharp edges of tables, chairs and the fireplace hearth with bumpers and edge covers.
3. Ensure child safety at home by removing any strangulation hazards.
Opt for window blinds without looped cords. It is prudent to retrofit your old blinds and curtains to make sure there are no loose or dangling cords. Tie or tape loose electrical cords.
4. Cover unused electrical outlets with protectors or caps.
Electrocution is a rare child injury, but it can happen. Protect your child by keeping electrical outlets within their reach covered at all times. Avoid plastic inserts that can pose as choking hazards. Instead, go for sliding protectors. Always keep appliances, like toasters and coffee makers, unplugged when not in use. Unplug and keep away hairdryers and irons after use.
5. Keep all toxic or poisonous substances away from children’s reach.
Children are a curious bunch who love to explore their surroundings. They taste anything on which they can lay their hands. In 2010, about 5.3 percent of child injuries among young children were due to poisoning. Protect your kids from this possible tragedy by:
- Securing cabinets that store chemicals and potentially hazardous cleaning products with safety latches.
- Storing medicines in cabinets or drawers well out of the reach of little children. Keep pills and tablets in their original containers. Do not transfer them to food containers.
- Discarding household products and expired medicines in sealed outdoor trash bins.
- Getting rid of poisonous house plants such as pothos, caladium and peace lily.
6. Gate your bathroom, and babyproof the toilet lid and bathtub.
According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 to 50% of young kids drown in household buckets each year. Other drowning hazards include bathtubs and toilets. Babies and toddlers can drown in just one inch of water.
Aside from gating off the bathroom, install locks to keep toilet lids closed. Keep buckets and other receptacles that could store water turned over when not in use.
Another item in your safety at-home project is babyproofing the bathtub. Protect your little ones from burns by turning the water heater down and using a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the water. Keep the heater thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also install anti-scalding devices on faucets.
7. Store away small toys or objects that young children can put in their mouth.
The New York State Department of Health warns that choking is the fourth leading cause of accidental death of kids aged four and younger. Clear your home of small objects or toy parts within the reach of children. Store away batteries, especially button batteries, in secure drawers. All fragile objects must be kept in places beyond your child’s reach.
8. Install a fire and monoxide security alarm system.
You may need to upgrade your home security system to accommodate your needs as new parents. Every room should have a fire and monoxide alarm.The features of a good baby monitor are quite different from a standard security camera. Install a baby monitor with a colored video, night vision, and clear audio. A motorized pan and tilt allow you to scan the entire room and immediately detect if anything is amiss. Choose a baby monitor that can be connected to the Internet, allowing you to watch your child with your smartphone or tablet.
Keep in mind, however, that no matter how much you try to secure your home is, it will never be 100% risk-free. There is just no substitute for personal supervision. Never leave your baby unattended. Stay alert but maintain a cool mind.
As Kimberlee Mitchell, a child safety expert, said: “Child injury is predictable and preventable.” How do you start baby proofing your home? Create a checklist of safe and unsafe things at home. Identify these by getting down on your hands and knees to see your surroundings from a kid’s eye view.
Jot down what you should clear out, get rid of, and upgrade. Seek the help of childproofing experts, if you must. These professionals will do a comprehensive assessment of your home and provide recommendations on how to make your space child-friendly.
Parenthood, despite its many challenges, is probably the best journey you will ever embark on.
About The Author: Philip Masterson is a Market specialist, Researcher, Security Advocate, and a Freelance Writer. He has written a range of topics including home and community security, technology, environment, world market, and world businesses.
Photo by Anastasiya Gepp from Pexels
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