“I’ll be walking in no time, Mom!”
It’s easy to take care of babies that haven’t started crawling yet. But once they start moving about on fours or walking, parents have a tough time running behind their toddlers and stopping them from doing things they shouldn’t. Most of the times, this is to stop them from being hurt.
No matter how watchful you are, kids are prone to getting hurt in some way or the other. That’s exactly why it’s important to child-proof your home so that you can be sure of your child’s safety whether you miss watching over him for a second or an hour.
Here are some tips you can use.
Proof the Windows
Children can easily fall out of windows even if the screens or shades are drawn so don’t rely on them to keep your child safe. Always lock windows securely such that your child can’t open them. If you must keep windows open, install guards to protect the opening or use latches that can prevent windows from opening wider.
Avoid placing furniture near windows or light weight furniture that your child can push next to the window easily. Use tempered glass in windows so that the panes don’t break easily if your child happens to fling a toy at the window.
Window shades can be easily pulled down when tugged at hard; avoid using them. Moreover, the cords used to lower and raise shades can choke or strangulate children. If you must have curtains or blinds, make sure you don’t leave the cords dangling.
Proof Balconies and Decks
Children will always be drawn to balcony or deck railings. They could get stuck between the railings, climb over the railing or slip through them and fall down. If you have horizontal railings, make sure you cover the railings from the inside with Plexiglas, plastic fencing, clear plastic sheets, or shade cloth to prevent your kids from climbing up the rails.
If the railings are vertical, they shouldn’t create a gap wider than 4 inches. If the railings are wider, cover them with any of the materials mentioned above. Use plastic cord ties or screws to secure these materials. You can also spindles or slats to cover up gaps in the railing.
Always keep furniture away from railings so children can’t climb over them. Remove any furniture from the room or terrace that your child can push towards the railing and climb on.
Proof the Stairs
Place safety gates at the head and the bottom of all stairways. Safety gates should be secure and the lock mechanism should not be within the reach of the child. If it is, it shouldn’t be easy for the child to open.
It is important to proof stairs even when kids have started walking comfortably. Stairs with open backs pose a danger and you must keep your child away from them or cover the open backs. Use banister shields if the banister posts are more than 3 inches apart from each other.
Consider installing a child-accessible hand rail for your child. Make sure the stair carpeting is in peak condition. You don’t want your child’s toes to get caught in carpet that has snagged in places. Check for exposed carpet nails and repair immediately.
Never leave toys or other items lying on the stairs as you or your child could trip over them.
Proof the Backyard
Almost all children love having a free run of the garden or backyard. It is important to have a fence around your property so that children don’t venture outside. This is necessary especially if the garden or backyard faces a busy street or road. Install a gate and a lock that will be difficult for the child to reach or open.
A concrete floor will cause more injuries so look for options such as sand, mulch, or rubber matting. Alternatively, consider an artificial turf for playgrounds or backyards. They cushion falls just as well as natural grass. A natural garden may grow weeds and plants that may be toxic for your child, but you won’t have to worry about them or mowing grass when you install an artificial turf.
If you have a pond in your backyard, make sure children can’t access it in your absence. Install barricades even if the water is shallow. Swimming pools should be fitted with appropriate barricades too. Drain and deflate inflatable swimming pools when not in use.
Trampolines may seem like a lot of fun, but they are hazardous. If you must buy one, go for a spring-less model with a full safety enclosure. Never allow children to play unsupervised.
If you’re buying other playground items such as swings and slides, make sure to install them securely and cover all exposed bolts. Purchase rubber swings instead of wood or metal.
Realize that your home is probably where your child will get hurt the most until he is ready to spend time at school. Don’t let that stop you from letting him explore the world around him.
The best you can do for your kid is to remove items that are potential hazards or reduce the risk of injury by using suitable safety products. Get down to your baby’s eye level and look around; identify things that can hurt your little one and take appropriate steps to prevent injuries.
As your child takes baby steps around the house, encourage him to discover new things. Just be sure to proof your house so that your child’s initial years are full of pleasant memories that you can cherish for years to come.