About to welcome a little wingman or wingwoman into your household? Prevent your bundle of joy from riding the highway to the danger zone by baby proofing your home ahead of their arrival. Use this room-by-room guide to check for potential hazards, then fix them up with the tips below.
Tip: Before you get stuck in to the baby proofing do a deep clean of your home because you’re unlikely to have the time or energy to scrub-a-dub-dub between nappy changes and feeds. Find a cleaner for any job, big or small, on Airtasker.
Like a moth to a flame, babies see danger and head straight towards it. They have a sixth sense for seeking out hazards and chances are if they set their sights on anything that could possibly cause them harm, they’ll make a beeline for it!
Bathrooms and laundries pose many hazards to tiny people and even if you install baby gates to prevent unsupervised access, there are still a few important steps every parent-to-be should undertake to baby proof these rooms.
The first and perhaps most important hack for baby proofing your bathroom and laundry begins outside the home. Little ones shouldn’t be immersed in water any hotter than 37 degrees celsius and few adults like their shower to be higher than 40/41 degrees, so turning down the temperature of your hot water heater to provide peace of mind is a great idea.
Once bub starts crawling you’ll also want to babyproof your loo with a toilet lock to prevent unwanted swimming expeditions. Effective but annoying, a toilet lock is a pain to deal with on a daily basis (especially if you’re pregnant and busting!), so best to wait until the last possible moment to install this gadget.
Don’t forget to also move medicines, electrical appliances and cleaning products up out of reach of little hands. If you only have under sink storage – the perfect height for curious kiddos to access – you may want to hire a handyman to install floating shelves high up out of harm’s way.
Lounge and living rooms tend to be the hub of the home for families, so baby proofing this area is often a big job.
Pointy corners on coffee tables and cabinets are a common cause of lumps, bumps and scrapes. Short of scarring your child for life by forcing them to wear a helmet 24/7, the best way to avoid these kinds of mishaps is with rubber or plastic corner guards. Most local hardware stores stock comprehensive ranges of corner guards in every shape, size and colour imaginable.
Love watching TV? Your pint-sized pal will too, especially if The Wiggles or Sesame Street is on! But babies don’t just look, they also touch, so prepare for your TV to be pushed, poked, grabbed and pulled by ensuring it’s safely secured to the wall or entertainment cabinet, which should also be secured. The same goes for freestanding bookshelves and storage units.
If your bundle of joy has already arrived and you are now a bundle of nerves resulting from sleep deprivation and parental anxiety, save yourself the trouble and hire a handyman to take care of this fiddly process for you while you take a much needed rest.
Between a TV, DVD player, speakers, phone/laptop chargers and any other entertainment related electronics, modern day living rooms contain countless cables. Kids, particularly ones who are teething, will seek these out and stick them straight in their mouths. Put a stop to naughty gnawing by bundling cords together with cable ties or by wrapping cords in cable guards (available at most hardware stores). Don’t forget to install outlet covers on all empty electrical sockets too.
Cupboards, cupboards everywhere… and chances are they all contain pointy utensils, heavy plates, fragile glassware and other everyday items you don’t want your child playing with! This issue is easily solved with self adhesive safety locks or magnetic cabinet latches.
Make sure you store knife blocks, heavy chopping boards and utensil jars well out of reach towards the back of the bench – little hands can’t resist reaching up and will grab anything they can find. A wall-mounted magnetic knife strip can help keep sharp objects even further out of the way.
When cooking on the stove ensure you turn handles of pots and pans towards the wall so they are out of sight (and reach!) of a curious child looking up.
If you’re looking for a way to keep your child occupied (and safe!) when you’re cooking, create a designated kid-friendly cupboard. Fill it with plastic containers and let them explore and play to their heart’s content.
As sure as a newborn will throw up on you the moment you’ve had a shower, no toddler has ever seen a button they don’t want to press. So it’s guaranteed that any whitegood or kitchen appliance with buttons is going to attract their attention. While most dishwashers are fitted with baby locks that you can easily activate (check out the manual for specific instructions), ovens and stovetops require extra intervention.
The timer on your oven might never be safe again but you can at least keep little hands away from stove and oven dials with knob covers. Most Bunnings or large hardware stores sell packs of four that clip on easily and fit most units.