For any new parent - before your baby is even out in the world, you’ll probably be looking around your house seeing all kinds of hazards and traps. But you should take some comfort in knowing that every new parent goes through this, and that it’s completely normal. Any sane parent would never want any harm to come in their child’s way!
So to save all our expectant and new mamas and papas the trouble of crawling around on all fours and looking for hazards, read on below to learn how to babyproof your house.
The bigger picture:
This encompasses everything that doesn’t necessarily fall into ‘one room’ - but is important for general safety:
- Do you have stairs? Make sure you have a safety gate at the top and the bottom of the stairs.
- Fire alarms: when was the last time you checked them? Make sure that the batteries aren’t running low!
- Carbon Monoxide detectors - this should be installed on every level of your house
- Electrical outlets - cover all outlets with plastic caps
- Electrical tape to secure electrical cords away from baby
- Fire extinguisher in kitchen
- Use doorstops and door holders to protect babies' fingers or finger pinch guards on the hinges of doors
- Keep clear bottles cosmetics, detergents and shampoos off sink and tub ledges, they look like a drink and pose a poison risk
- Cover radiators and heating vents to prevent burns
- Vacuum regularly to suck up loose change, paper clips, or any small item that can cause choking.
As you’re often distracted with cooking and cleaning in this space - things can go wrong very quickly if you’re aren’t careful! The general rule is to keep safe-for-baby-to-find things in the bottom drawer - opting for higher and harder-to-reach drawers for hazardous items. This is even if you already have safety locks.
- Top shelf:
- Cleaning products & detergents
- Sharp objects like knives or wraps with cutting edge
- Suffocation Hazards - plastic & paper bags
- Breakables - like glassware
- Medical supplies (including vitamins & supplements - even if they have child-proof caps)
- Choking hazards such as magnets
- Bottom shelf:
- Pots & pans
- Plastic storage containers
- Paper products
- Unplug small appliances when not in use (kettles, toasters, etc.) and don’t let the cords dangle
- Latches for cabinets & oven (once your baby climbs, they can reach anything!)
- Stove knob covers
- Non-skid pads for rugs
- Don't carry hot food or drink and your baby at the same time
- Keep hot food and drink away from edges of tables and counters
- Don't hold your baby while cooking at stove
- Turn pot handles toward back of stove
- Avoid having tablecloths and placemats. Your baby can pull it and everything else onto the floor!
- Distract babies from forbidden places by keeping one cupboard unlocked and filled with lightweight, baby-safe items
Falls & collisions are the greatest danger to your baby in this room. Also, keep in mind that anything that you don’t want your baby playing with or touching should be stored away securely - otherwise it’s fair game!
- Fireplace - if you have one, make sure to have a fireplace screen, otherwise to keep your child in a fenced off area in the same room, such as in a play pen.
- Cushioned cover guards for coffee tables, TV/Entertainment centre, and other sharp corners
- Keep bookshelves, TVs and unstable items like lampshades secured behind heavy objects or bolted down
- Cordless blinds (strangling hazard)
- Heavy weight photo hooks
Chances are that when you were setting up your baby’s room, you would’ve been doing a lot of baby proofing then.
- Is your baby’s crib safe? Are the slats compliant with Australian Safety Standards?
- Keep it clutter free: No pillows, blankets or stuffed animals
- When baby pulls up, put mattress in lowest position
- Make sure they sleep or take naps on their backs
- Rugs to cushion falls
- Covered corners
- Safe toy box
While it’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t leave your baby unattended in the bathtub, we can’t stress it enough. Even a few seconds and in a few inches of water can be dangerous to a baby.
- Fill tub just enough to cover your baby's legs (2 to 3 inches of water)
- Use warm, not hot, water (use a wrist test or thermometer to ensure water is no warmer than 37 degrees celsius
- Non-slip mats in bathtub and on the floor next to the tub
- Soft cover for bathtub spout & bathtub knobs
- Bathtub ring for babies to sit in - not a substitute for supervision!
- Toilet lock
- Cabinet latches
- Move all dangerous items up!