The age-old proverb reads ‘It takes a village to raise a baby,’ and in all fairness, it’s indeed true. Babies can be a handful, especially when they become toddlers and are more hands-on with everything around them.
It’s not surprising then that kids also end up hurting themselves more often. While the mild bruises, bumps and thuds can be dealt with, it’s the big injuries that can keep parents awake at night.
That’s why you need to take extra alert when raising kids that have already been bit by the curiosity bug. But how do you begin the babyproofing procedure? Well, paediatricians have child safety guidelines of their own that they recommend to new parents in order to make homes safer for children.
And because we understand parenting is a steep learning curve, we decided to compile 15 things that you must absolutely keep in mind during the process.
15 Things Paediatricians Recommend You Do To Babyproof Your House
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1. Tension-mounted baby gates
Several paediatricians recommend not installing tension-mounted gates since they aren’t sturdy or stable. Instead, it’s safer to install baby gates that can self-latch or can be drilled into the wall.
This is especially true when installing one on a staircase, which happens to be one of the major reasons for toddlers injuring themselves. At the same time, it’s important to install the gate at the top and bottom of the staircase.
2. Babyproof the swimming pool
That’s why several paediatricians insist that swimming pools be babyproofed at homes. This may include installing barricades around the pool itself, as well as an alarm on your home’s door and the pool.
Several modern-day alarms also start ringing as soon as the surface-level changes, making it a critical safety component to be installed in the house.
At the same time, acquaint your children with water at an early age so they know how to handle themselves in an accident. Enrichment classes in Singapore accept children as old at 11 months for swimming training.
3. Bracket large furniture
One of the first things you do strap in when you have a baby is the heavy furniture. Make sure all the heavy stuff is secured to the wall using a bracket, wall strap or an anchor.
So, in the case of your child emulating Tarzan on any given day, you can be assured the furniture won’t tip over on them. This is a fairly simple process but can make a world of a difference.
4. Wall-mounted TV sets
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Some doctors say that all flat-screen Televisions should be mounted on the wall instead of placing them on the stand. The risk of a TV on the stand is the same as heavy furniture, there’s a risk of your child using it to pull themselves up.
5. Blinds with long chords
For homes with blinds that use the long chords, it’s wise to change the same once the baby comes along. The long, dangling strings pose a strangulation risk.
You can also shorten the length of the chord and eliminate the loop entirely to minimise the risk.
6. Button batteries
Smaller button batteries have the tendency to go unnoticed before or after use and can be extremely dangerous if kept lying around the house. Toddlers may swallow the batteries and other similar items.
Make sure that small objects like these tucked away in a higher level shelf that is out of your child’s reach.
7. No stuff toys or blankets in the crib
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All paediatricians emphasise that your baby’s crib needs to be empty to keep your baby safe when sleeping alone. All it requires is a mattress and a bedsheet, and nothing else.
Adding stuff toys, blankets and pillows in the crib increase the risk of suffocation for the child, who will be unable to call for help or change their position. That’s why keep anything that can be potentially suffocating out of the crib.
8. Medicine cabinet
Your little Indiana Jones may be on an adventure spree and you won’t realise when they have access to your prescription medicines.
That’s why parents and grandparents need to be careful about not leaving the medicine cabinet open or unattended, as well as consuming the pills as soon as they are in your hands.
Pills are colourful and easily attract children who could consume them when the adults aren’t watching. You also risk dropping the pill on the ground, which could be accessed by your child unknowingly.
At the same time, make sure that the medicine cabinet remains inaccessible for children, preferably locked, and placed in the part of the house that children do not have access to.
9. Windows with baby guards
Homes with infants and toddlers need to have windows with baby guards attached for safety. Countless accidents happen globally when a child accesses a window and falls out. That’s why you need to get a window guard or latch the windows properly.
It’s just another step towards babyproofing the house and necessary as of the child safety guidelines. Look for window guards that come with the quick release feature that allows families to escape in case of an emergency like a fire.
10. Keep the bathroom door locked
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While swimming pools may seem like an obvious place for water-related accidents to happen, there is an increasing risk of kids injuring themselves or drowning in the bathroom.
Most of these accidents happen due to negligence, which is why you need to keep the bathroom door locked at home.
It is one of the most important child safety guidelines and kids should always be using the bathroom under adult supervision. At the same time, all bathrooms need to get a lock to prevent any mishaps.
11. Use outlet covers
Kids are curious by nature and won’t think twice before pushing their tiny fingers in a wall socket. Ideally, get the sockets placed at a higher level in the house to avoid the same being accessed by children.
You should also invest in outlet covers that help prevent electrical outlet injuries.
When looking for outlet covers, make sure it isn’t tamper-resistant and does not have small pieces that can potentially cause a choking hazard. You can also use heavy furniture to mask electrical outlets in the house, so children do not have access to the same.
12. Ditch the baby walker
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Certain paediatricians are of the opinion that baby walkers do not make any contribution towards the child actually walking and are a safety hazard instead.
Research too backs this up with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending parents not to use baby walkers. An unsupervised baby walker can easily allow the child to step into dangerous areas of the home like the pool or the staircase.
They could also bump into a wall or furniture potentially dismounting objects off the shelves.
13. Avoid sharp corners
As part of the child safety guidelines, be smart and remove all sharp corners from the house. While you can relocate smaller objects in the house, bigger objects like furniture may need some adjustment.
You do get rounded caps in the market that can be affixed around such corners. With their changing height, kids risk poking their eye, head, and even hands around the edges.
14. Research about houseplants before bringing them home
Houseplants can be toxic for babies and pets. So make sure to research the houseplant that you wish to grow indoors and the potential effect on people.
Sometimes, kids may have an underlying allergy to the same that you won’t figure out until the baby has come in contact with the plant. However, you can always double-check and be safe, especially if the baby may be within reach of the plant.
15. Avoid long table cloths
Unless your baby is secretly good at pulling the long table cloth without disturbing the cutlery, it’s best to avoid the cloth for now. They offer the perfect opportunity for your child to grab and pull down the table cloth or use it to stand up.
This, in turn, risks them dropping hot liquid, sharp cutlery, and even heavy objects. Avoid this risk altogether and make sure to tuck the edges of the table cloth.
These are some of the child safety guidelines you can follow babyproof your house. Do remember that anything that feels like a potential hazard just might be it.
So act on your instinct and minimise the risk of injuring your child. The idea is to create a happy and safe environment for your child to grow and develop in the house.