Bringing a child into the world is a wonderful experience that brings you more joy than you could have ever imagined. With this joy also comes responsibility. You have to protect your child from a lot of things, including itself. You might not see it yet, but your home is a potential deathtrap for a curious child. Here are some ways to mitigate this.
1. Edges are a hazard
Babies are hyperactive little creatures and they don’t pay a lot of attention to their surroundings. Once something is in their sights, they’ll flail about on their tiny legs until they get to it, no matter what’s in their way. They don’t move very fast, but they move fast enough to bump into all sorts of things that can harm them. Edges are one of those things. Houses and furniture aren’t exactly known for their round and soft edges, which is why this has to be remedied. You have to soften up these edges in a variety of ways.
Every living room décor can use different solutions, but there are some universal tools that are easy to use. Corner protectors are great for those pesky sharp edges on wall corners. Luckily babies aren’t too tall so they don’t have to be installed too high up. Plumbing foam pipes aren’t just useful when it comes to plumbing, they’re a great cover for some waist-high edges that could hit kids. They’re soft enough to reduce any kind of dangerous impact to a small bump. These are all things you can find at the baby store or the hardware store, whichever one you pick is up to you.
2. Certain kinds of furniture should be removed
There is no type of furniture that is absolutely injury-proof for babies. A baby can try to climb on top of absolutely anything and cause some fall injuries or worse. Still, there are ways to minimize the risk of something bad happening. Most furniture is designed with adults in mind. You don’t expect too much stability from your local stick-thin IKEA lamp, but it does the job well enough to never break. Unfortunately, babies can find creative ways to get things to break and fall on top of them.
Try removing anything that babies can easily climb on top of. Tables with scalable legs should be reconsidered, for example. Any floor lamps that have easily accessible electrical wiring are too dangerous. Others might not have accessible wires, but lightbulbs that are at floor height are just as risky to have. Any kind of furniture that you can imagine your kid climbing on or knocking over should either be removed or put on the other side of a barrier. Baby gates are great for this. You can separate entire rooms from your child if you don’t want them getting injured in there. Sometimes danger won’t be too obvious, so be as creative as your child when it comes to what can be climbed or knocked over.
3. Timing is everything
Keep in mind that your newborn’s curiosity will kick in almost immediately so it’s best to be prepared. Starting thinking about safety measures a couple months before meeting your little bundle of joy. It’s time to get down on their level. Lie down on your back and stomach and check things out from their point of view. What you can see is what they will see all the time. If you sit down, you’ll see what your child sees when it’s walking upright. As an adult, you can overlook obvious details that you normally wouldn’t see from your own height. Whenever you’re checking out a room, remember to look at it from a baby’s point of view. With this in mind, there are different stages of setting up a baby-proof home. Your child won’t be capable of the same kind of exploring while it’s still a newborn compared to exploring as a toddler.
Newborns aren’t all that agile and you shouldn’t worry about them climbing up on a relatively tall table. Their dexterity is lacking so boxes could prove to be big obstacles for them. Once they hit some growth spurts, things get a bit more dynamic. An infant that can crawl can get its hands on a bunch of things. Worse yet, it will try to get its hands on just about everything. During this period, you should watch out for small appliances and low drawers that an infant could reach. Once your bundle of joy starts walking, you won’t know what hit you. Don’t get distracted by how adorable it is because it opens up some new avenues for injury. Attach a lid to your toilets and keep those upper drawers in mind from then on.
4. Vehicle safety is important
More often than not, you’ll be transporting your child via car. A daycare usually isn’t right around the corner so you will cover quite a bit of mileage every day with a baby on board. Unfortunately, cars aren’t the safest places in the world. Car crashes are rare but they can happen all the same. Driving safe just won’t cut it. You want to focus on making your car trips as safe as possible for both you and your child.
Seating is one of the most important factors to look out for. Regular car seats aren’t exactly made for the average baby, which is why you might have to a custom one from places like Maxi Cosi. The installation can be a bit tricky, but rest assured that the instructions will get you there eventually. Before you get the perfect seat ready, make sure your car manufacturer supports that kind of seat in their vehicles. It will save you a stressful trip to the store to get a replacement. If the seat is fitted in the front, you have to make sure front passenger airbags are disabled. They can be extremely dangerous for babies in car seats.
5. Watch out for the floor
When everything else is taken care of, it’s time to turn your gaze downwards. It might seem silly at first, but floors are technically where all the danger is at. It’s what you hit when you trip and fall over, and it’s what does all the damage when you fall from something. All kidding aside, paying attention to your floor will help your child avoid most of their injuries. For starters, having it be an even surface is essential. Any imperfections can and will cause your child to trip and fall since children aren’t very observant when running.
A rug will do wonders for safety. Not only can it prevent slipping during sharp turns, but it also helps cushion the fall if a fall should occur. In a way, it can also double as a play mat. Children get creative with their imagination, so you never know. Most rugs are also manufactured to be non-slip by default.
Keeping your baby safe is a monumental task that requires every bit of your attention. Luckily, centuries of experience from all kinds of people have accumulated into a substantial body of knowledge that will help you achieve that goal. Follow some of these tips and you and your child will have smooth sailing.
Liam Smith is a young and aspiring Australian blogger with a passion for everything related to home, design and lifestyle. He has a B.Sc. in Interior design and is an avid reader.