Baby-proofing your home

Room-by-room guide to baby-proofing your home

Once babies are on the move you need to start baby-proofing the house

Is your home ready for a baby on the move?

Seeing as I have a toddler already, I really thought I had it all together. But it turns out I had relaxed quite a bit since my eldest learned to be (slightly) less of a bull in a china shop.

I had been leaving drinks on the coffee table, there were cables trailing carelessly along the floor and my toddler’s potty is in the downstairs bathroom, to which I’m constant leaving the door to open.

And then there’s the biggest problem that comes from having a second child. Your older child has toys that are more advanced. Which can be great, except that they’re full of choking hazards.

The Lego, the dolls with the teeny pairs of shoes and the stickers. The endless piles of stickers.

My baby has coughed a few stickers out at random so I know I need to be a lot more on the ball with this baby-proofing thing.

It’s best to start baby-proofing not long after your baby is born because they hit their milestones in the blink of an eye and before you know it you’ll be watching them crawl across the floor with ease.

Here’s a list reminding you what you should be thinking about along with a few product recommendations to help you out.

Kitchen

Buy cupboard and drawer locks/restrictors

The biggest hazard in the kitchen is the cupboard under the sink, where most of us keep our cleaning products. Things like dishwasher and washing capsules draw children’s attention as they assume they’re sweets. Keep the cupboard locked or move the items to a higher cupboard.

The oven

This is one of my biggest paranoias. Unless you can move your oven up to counter level, the best bet is to get a stair or door gate between the kitchen and wherever your child usually plays. This way they won’t come crawling in and start grabbing at the hot oven door.

Living room

Plug sockets

Plug socket covers were once encouraged, but now the official advice is to not use them in the UK. Modern sockets have a cover inside that prevent items touching anything that could cause electricity. The socket covers can actually push this barrier out of the way. I’ve blogged about this and other parenting advice U-turns here.

The television

In an ideal world your television would be wall mounted with all cables run safely inside the wall, out of reach. But we don’t live in an ideal world.

Try to keep cables out of reach, and have the TV in a position where it isn’t easy for a child to push or pull it over. You can buy straps to hold televisions in place on TV stands, such as this one from Amazon: Anti-tip TV/Furniture Straps by Tootsy Boo,

Blinds

This could apply to any room, so apply this advice across your home. The devastating consequences of not making sure your blinds conform to modern safety standards don’t bear thinking about. New cords sold in the UK must be “safe by design” with children in mind. This means loop cords should either be breakable when put under pressure, have tension when fitted or a safety device to keep them away from little hands.

Shelf safety straps

Many shelves will come with a bracket that you can use to attach them to the wall. This stops your child pulling the entire piece of furniture on top of themselves. If your furniture didn’t come with any safety precautions, you can be safety straps for not much money. You should do this with all large items of furniture in your home. Try these ones: BabyDan Furniture Straps, Pack of 4

Bathroom

Loo seat clips

My baby has a weird obsession with trying to look into our toilet. You don’t want them falling in there head first – for several reasons – so getting a clip to stop them lifting the toilet seat is a good idea.

Tap cover

Once kids are on the move they will be crawling all around the bath tub and the shiny taps are hard to resist. Metal retains heat so if you’ve just run the bath they will be hot and could burn your baby’s skin if they reach out and grab them. Tap covers come in loads of cute designs and you can still turn the taps with them on. When it comes to running the bath, never turn your back on your baby when you’re running the hot tap. This is a simple tap cover: Safety 1st Inflatable Spout Protector

Nursery

Buy window restrictors

There have been a couple of tragic cases of small children crawling out of windows. Children will suddenly learn to climb up somewhere you’ve never seen them reach before. Window restrictors mean you can have windows open in the summer, but they can’t be pushed out enough for someone to fit through the gap.

Be careful of trailing cables

Fairy lights look pretty, but think carefully about how and where you hang them. The cables can be a choking hazard. The same goes for baby monitor cameras. Use cable tacks to hold cables in place along walls and skirting boards. Never leave cables hanging near cots, where children could reach out and pull them into the cot.

Keep lights out of reach of the cot

Leaving lamps near cots where babies can grab wires and pull them into the bed could be a hazard, due to both the cable and the glass bulb. Keep them well away from the cot and use plugin nightlights by the bed instead.

Lower the cot bed height

Many cots come with adjustable mattress base height which is great for the early months when your baby isn’t sitting up so that you can reach them easier. But it’s easy to forget to drop the mattress height down to the bottom level once your little one is sitting and pulling up.

Stairs

Stair gate

Stair gates are not only necessary but they save your sanity. You cannot be on top of your child 24/7 and eventually they will reach the stairs when you’re distracted. I have a pressure gate like this one:  Lindam Sure Shut Axis Pressure Fit Safety Gate

There are loads of great tips on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website.

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