As children grow, they become more curious about their world. Supervision is key to keeping them safe, but you can’t watch them 24/7. There are lots of products which will protect them, and some of them are worth the high price tags.
From the cot to the kitchen, here’s our room-by-room guide to keeping your baby safe and the products you should think about paying a bit more for:
The cot is the main item you should spend money on. Drop-side cots were popular, but they’ve caused so many injuries in the past, sometimes fatally, that they’re now banned. Safety standards change regularly, so you should consider buying a new cot with the latest safety standards.
Baby monitors are essential – it’s worth paying for a cordless one which has a good reputation, that way you don’t ever have to leave the monitor in another room and can always keep an ear out.
Keep hanging mobiles out of reach and remove suffocation risks like pillows, blankets and soft toys from the crib. Store toys in boxes without lids, so there’s no chance little fingers could get caught.
Living room and bedroom
Prevent exploration of power points by covering them with inexpensive sliding covers, as plastic covers can be choking hazards.
Televisions should be attached to walls, as should heavy furniture like bookcases which can look like a ladder to a curious toddler. Pay for high-quality straps and get expert help to attach them in your home.
Pool noodles or foam pipe insulation (from the hardware store) make excellent, cheap bumpers to put around sharp edges like coffee tables and door frames. Don’t use styrofoam – it’s not toxic, but it can break off into large pieces which can be a choking hazard.
The bathroom is a ‘no-go’ zone for an unsupervised child. It’s a space filled with toxic chemicals, medications which can look like lollies, and sharp items like razors and scissors.
Get a lockable medicine cabinet or store medicines out of reach. Pack appliances like hair dryers away when you have finished with them because they can be burn and pose strangulation hazards.
A plastic lock for the toilet isn’t expensive and can prevent unsanitary exposure or accidental drownings. Kids love throwing things into the toilet, so remove all temptation by making it inaccessible.
As with the bathroom, children should not be in the kitchen unsupervised. Install baby gates if you need to, so they can see you without getting underfoot.
Most of us will keep toxic and dangerous cleaning materials under the sink, within easy reach of little ones. Move cleaning products and plastic bags up as high as possible to keep them out of reach.
Get locks which keep doors secure and inaccessible to your child and put them on the fridge, oven door, dishwasher, drawers and cupboards. You don’t need to pay a lot, or for big brand names when it comes to child safety locks. Just make sure they’re easy for you to lock and unlock, but impossible for your child.
Review the childproofing in your home at each stage in your child’s development. What worked for a one-year old who has just taken their first step won’t work for an energetic two-year old ready to run and explore the world around them.