Posted on 31st July, 2011
Some dangers are obvious, others less so, but there are many mistakes that are frequently made by parents. Here are a few of the most common.
Water heater set too hot
Young children have thinner, more sensitive skin and are susceptible to scalds from hot water. If your boiler is set at too high a temperature, you are more likely to run a bath that is too hot for your child. The easiest way to guard against this is to get a digital bath thermometer. Those especially designed for baby baths will tell you when the water is an appropriate temperature and when it is not.
Leaving dangerous items in cupboards
We generally think to keep sharp objects out of reach, but household cleaning products should also be kept away from children. Cleaning agents are often stored in cupboards near floor level and if you cannot move them elsewhere, invest in cupboard locks to keep them safe.
Bags and purses
Most parents are very aware of the dangers of medicine and small objects on which a child could choke, yet we often overlook bags and purses which frequently contain such items. While our medicine cabinets are locked and out of reach, the very same sorts of tablets might be in a visitor’s bag, lying on the floor. It is important to always be aware of this risk and to keep bags out of the way, preferably hanging up at sufficient height that they cannot be reached.
Posted on 30th July, 2011
Many innocuous household objects pose a risk to your child, but if you know the dangers, it’s usually pretty easy to take measures to prevent mishaps.
It’s less of an issue these days, but if you have a VCR, your child might insert fingers or objects into the slot. A VCR lock is an affordable measure that will guard against this and similar products are available for CD and DVD players as well.
Some fairly ordinary living room furniture can also be problematic. If you have recliners, take extra care when operating them. Ensure you know the exact whereabouts of your child so that there’s no chance they could have fingers in the mechanism or something like that.
Ordinary chairs and settees can often conceal small objects that might prove to be choking hazards. All you can do here is be vigilant and check underneath them and down between the cushions. It will help if you don’t put items that could be swallowed on display. Don’t have pot pourri or small decorations.
Bookcases can be especially dangerous. Although they are heavy, it is quite possible for a child to pull one over. They may stretch up and grab hold of a shelf or climb onto one. A furniture strap is what is needed here. Screwed into the furniture item and the wall, it will prevent a bookcase from toppling.
Posted on 29th July, 2011
So many items that we rely on in our day-to-day lives pose a threat to babies and toddlers. When you have a baby, you look around your home with new eyes and see the danger inherent in everyday items.
Your stove is one of the more obvious dangers. Here, the main threat is that your child might pull at something above them, perhaps depositing a pan of hot food over themselves. Or they might be tempted to play with the knobs, turning on the gas on one of the hobs. Hob guards keep your child from making direct contact with hot metal, while knob guards prevent them from playing with the controls. It is also advisable to use the hobs at the back whenever possible, keeping items out of reach.
Bathroom equipment like scissors and razors are other clear threats. They might be in a cupboard, but that isn’t to say they are inaccessible. However, with childproof cabinet locks, you can keep them safe, although again it is worth storing them higher up, out of arm’s reach. Think about cosmetics and medicine as well. They could be consumed, poisoning your child.
Still in the bathroom, even the toilet is a danger. You will want to keep your child away from germs, so use a toilet lock to ensure the lid stays closed.
Posted on 28th July, 2011
When you have a newborn baby, gifts are more than welcome. You suddenly need so many items you had never previously thought about, you struggle to tick everything off. As well as new items, you will probably receive a number of hand-me-downs from parents who are both happy to help and perhaps rather keen to clear some space in their home as well.
Second-hand items can be very useful, but it is important to be slightly wary of them all the same. There is a chance that they do not meet current safety standards if they are a few years old and even if they do, you should still inspect them carefully for damage or missing parts.
Even simple old toys can pose a risk. Wooden toys from many years ago may feature lead paint, which you will not want anywhere near your child. If you have doubts, it is better to play it safe. After all, classic wooden toys are still being made and with new products you can be assured that they meet the most stringent safety standards.
If you have been given a cot by someone, pay particularly close attention to it, because this is where your child will be spending a lot of their time. In particular, make sure that the bars are not too far apart as arms and legs could get caught in the gaps. As with anything else, if in doubt, play it safe and splash out on a new one.
Posted on 27th July, 2011
When preparing for the arrival of a baby, you may start to see danger everywhere. There will then be a second wave at the point at which they learn to crawl and another once they can stand. At each stage, more objects become accessible and the dangers multiply.
The stairs are an obvious danger, whether your child is crawling or walking. A stairgate is a must and you may want more than one to block off particular rooms as well. Once your baby can stand, it is even more important to ensure the solidity of the stairgate, however, as they can exert more force. A screw-fitted stairgate is best for the top of the stairs for this reason and also because it will lack the trip bar that is a feature of pressure fitted gates.
A standing child can also pull over more furniture, so make sure everything in the house is stable. If it isn’t, you may need to screw it to the wall or find some other way of keeping it from toppling over.
When standing, your child might also encounter choking hazards in the form of cords for curtains or blinds. These can be rolled up, out of reach and the windows behind them should have childproof locks fitted as well. Most window locks will function with the window open a crack as well, meaning you can allow a flow of air without any risk that your baby might climb out and hurt themselves.
Posted on 27th July, 2011
The kitchen is perhaps the most dangerous room in the house for a baby and it may be better to keep them out completely using a stairgate. However, if this is not possible for some reason, there are many measures you can take to make the room safer.
In many ways, the biggest danger in a kitchen arises from the fact that you are more likely to be distracted in this room of the house. Whether cooking or cleaning, you are less likely to be giving your child your full attention. As a consequence, the first thing to do is remove the obvious dangers.
There are often a lot of cleaning products and the like in a kitchen and more often than not, they’re kept in low cupboards because we don’t use them as often as crockery and food products. However, this also means that they are accessible to toddlers. If you don’t want to move them, you can get cabinet locks, which will ensure they are secure. Drawer locks are also available so that your child cannot get hold of plastic bags or sharp cutlery.
It may also be that the knobs for your cooker can be reached. Knob guards for stoves and ovens are available that keep them from being fiddled with, while an oven door lock might prove to be another useful addition.
Posted on 26th July, 2011
Many parents leave it late before baby-proofing their home. They wait until their child starts crawling and then suddenly realise that the development has opened up all sorts of new dangers. The best time to take stock and make your home safe is before the baby arrives. Once you have a newborn, you’ll struggle to find time to do the job properly and you don’t need the added stress either.
An easy way to see what your baby might encounter is to actually get down to their position. Get on your hands and knees and see what is accessible to you. Any sharp corners will need corner protectors on them, while breakable objects should be moved out of reach. You might also notice that cables and other things might hang down, allowing your baby to inadvertently pull objects onto themself.
Electrical outlets will also pose a major danger, but one that is easy to address. All sorts of socket covers are available and you should definitely make use of them. It’s also worth securing cupboards and cabinets with security latches, particularly when there are potentially dangerous items inside, such as plastic bags or cutlery. When it comes to chemicals and medicine, it’s better to be doubly safe and to store them higher up, completely out of reach.
In order to better control where your baby goes, it’s also worth investing in stairgates and room dividers. These allow you to limit your baby’s range, keeping your baby-proofing efforts more manageable.
Posted on 26th July, 2011
Being as it’s the place where your child will sleep, there are a handful of measures that need to be taken in the nursery and the first thing to look at is the cot itself.
A new cot should meet all necessary safety standards, but if you have a hand-me-down from someone else, it might warrant some attention. One of the most important safety aspects is the distance between the bars of the cot. If they are too far apart, your child might get arms or legs trapped. If you’re in doubt, it would probably be better to invest in a new one for your own peace of mind, if nothing else.
Within the cot, you can add sensor pads underneath the mattress. This allows you to monitor your child’s movements without having anything in direct contact with them. By covering the entire sleeping surface, there is a reduced risk of false alarms resulting from your child rolling off the sensor. When breathing and movement are normal, your monitor will indicate this to you in some way, often through the display of a green light. If you see any change, you can react swiftly.
You may also want to invest in a video monitor to complement this. Operating wirelessly without risk of interference, video monitors are hugely reassuring and with technology moving on apace, they are far more affordable than they were even a couple of years ago. They also allow for secure password-protected streaming of footage over the internet for the benefit of parents who may be away from home.
Posted on 22nd July, 2011
None of us wants to become the kind of parent who sees danger everywhere all of the time, but we do need to be aware and there are a number of sensible steps that should be taken to ensure every room in the house is safe for our child. The living room is relatively safe, but even so, there are few measures that should be taken to make the environment baby friendly.
Plug sockets are an obvious and major danger. Fortunately, many different kinds of socket cover are available and these will serve as a cheap and efficient solution. Electrical equipment such as TVs and video and DVD players could also prove dangerous. Screen protectors prevent breakages, while shields and guards can be bought that will prevent your child from fiddling with equipment or inserting their fingers into gaps.
Coffee tables and shelves might be at head height for a baby, so get corner protectors, while childproof locks will keep them out of any cabinets you do not want them to be able to get into.
If you have a fireplace, this represents the most obvious danger of all, so a fireguard is a must-buy. Many are adaptable and can also be used as room dividers or to form playpens.
Posted on 22nd July, 2011
There comes a time when your baby would be better in a high chair for meals. It is usually shortly after they reach six months of age when they will be capable of sitting upright unassisted. At this point – or preferably before – you will need to choose an appropriate high chair.
A major consideration will be how the high chair secures your baby. They will need to be fastened in without there being any chance that they could slip down, which might lead to neck or head injuries. There will ordinarily be a strap that goes across the waist as well as between their legs. Ideally, there will be a five-point harness as they minimise movement.
The next thing you need to look for is the size of the base. You will notice that high chairs are wider at the base than at the top. This is to provide stability. Children are prone to vigorous movements and wriggling about, so get a good, stable chair.
The tray will be another consideration. Removable, adjustable trays are best and straightforward mechanisms for removal and adjustment are desirable, but they must be childproof to prevent mishaps.