I am still wondering if you can completely 'babyproof' your whole house? When i was pregnant with my Daughter, me and my Fiance went shopping and bought every type of safety measure you can imagine. Now she is 20 months old, i do realise we may have gone a little overboard as we only have about 13 plug sockets in the whole house so not sure why we bought 40 socket covers but never mind!
We bought safety gates, corner covers, cupboard locks the lot! The thing is, now she is 20 months old, she tend just to pull these protectors off and throw them to one side. I bought a safety pack from Tesco as i believe their baby products to be very trustworthy. In this pack were the corner covers which can be used to cover any sharp corners to prevent injury. I used 4 of these on my coffee table but a few weeks ago my Daughter pulled every one off with no struggle. Surely they should be strong enough to prevent a toddler from doing that?
I am not totally decided on how long lasting safety gates are either. We bought 3 Lindam gates and 2 of them have broken in the past 2 years. We made sure we were gentle with them and that they got fitted properly but they just started to fall apart.
As for socket covers, well they are not exactly hard to pull out of the wall! You can buy all the safety equipment out there but i really do think you will never truly be able to relax, knowing your child is safe and not climbing up the stairs and into the cupboard!
Baby proofing a home is an ongoing process.
My son as a baby was the most chilled out baby you have ever met. If he couldn't reach something he couldn't reach he just accepted it and found something he could. One he could crawl, stand and now walk this became a different scenario.
My son learnt how to climb the stairs before her could walk and as we were in temporary accommodation I was unable to put up a stair gate.
When I finally got my own home I bought myself a stair gate but needed an extension and had to wait a few days for this to be delivered during this time my son climbed halfway up the stairs while I was building a table and when I got up to get him he fell down and chipped his tooth and his mouth poured with blood. I would advise getting a stair gate before you need one then you can have it installed and ready
I have found with different children visiting that you don need different equipment with different children. My friends once visited with a daughter the same age as my son and she put a plug cover on and these stopped her daughter messing with the plug sockets but for my son a socket cover was just a challenge and while he had previously shown no interesting sockets he now found great entertainment in taking them off so it was one piece of safety equipment that I found particularly unhelpful.
At first things can be put on a shelf out of reach, then a higher shelf and this works until they start climbing. My son has a compulsion to climb to the highest point he can so really nothing is out of reach so things that are important not too touch are kept locked up or in a cupboard that he seems to not be interested in
One of the difficulties with locking everything away is that when you visit somebody else's home they don't understand that there will be things that they can reach but not able to reach. I find the kitchen the most complicated room in the house for this.
I have cupboard locks on the cupboard with all the cleaning products as these are definitely unsafe and a lock so I can put my breakable things in but I let him go in the pan cupboard and the other small low down cupboard I keep his plastic plates and bowls so that he can learn what he can and can't touch.
He is a typical child that he loves knobs and buttons so the cooker and washer are obvious targets but I keep them switched off at the wall when they are not been used and tell him he can't touch them if he starts playing with them I get him to leave the kitchen. I have a stair gate on the kitchen and don't allow him in when I am cooking as he pulls on me and will reach up to work surfaces and pull tings off.
The advice is to run the hot and cold water at the same time in the bath to avoid scalding but for reasons I don't understand the water runs cold slower if you don't run the hot first in my bathroom so I put my son in his bedroom while I run the bath.
One thing I made sure I had is a fire guard but on a visit to a friends house when we were in the kitchen my son walked into her kitchen with black hands it turns out that he had took the ornamental coals off the fire .Fortunately he didn't make too much mess but her son who is only a couple of months younger has never shown an interest in the fire.
I have bought a DVD guard to go over the sky box simply because my son is compelled to press the buttons and it makes life easier if I am don't say no all the time
Safety in the home is a balancing act between making your home as safe as possible and teaching safety in the home. I find letting them do certain things supervised is a better way of teaching but the downside is it can make trips to others houses tiresome.
Plan ahead they progress at such a fast rate it isn't worth risking there safety.
Having already been a Mum, I was determined not to make my home a bubble wrapped place where no one could do anything for fear of harming the baby. I insisted I wasn't going to baby proof anything and she would learn by us teaching her that certain things weren't for her inquisitive little fingers.
By making that above statement eighteen months ago, I have since learnt I was both right and wrong to say it.
Right because I believe every child needs to learn what they can and can't touch as not every place they go to will be child proofed.
Wrong because I have spend many a stressful day trying to remove things from her grasp when she got them without me looking.
There are a few necessities that any home should have when you have a baby. These are paramount to safety and will assist you keeping your children safe from harm.
- If you have stairs then a stair gate preferably at top and bottom of the stairs should be in place as soon as they begin to crawl. I thought it was easy just to shut the bedroom doors when we were upstairs to start with but soon realised how impractical that was when I needed to get things done, so a stair gate went on very quickly.
The bottom gate went on when I looked around one day to find my daughter half way up the stairs. I knew she could move fast when she wanted to but I only glanced away for a second. That was heart attack number one!
- A lock on the lower kitchen cupboards, especially the one where you keep your cleaning fluids is so important. Despite all household products containing dangerous chemicals having child proof lids on, accidents can still happen and you would never forgive yourself.
I had the locks in place early on but one broke away as I must have brought a cheap version and I caught my daughter getting the bleach bottle of all things out of the cupboard and putting towards her mouth.
Everything runs in slow motion in those times in your life, but thankfully I caught her in time and I was in the same room with her the whole time, but I still managed to beat myself up over of for weeks afterwards and saying "what if" over and over in my head.
That was heart attack number two!
- Plug sockets should be covered over with plastic protectors. Only too easily will a child want to naturally poke something in as we are forever teaching them to put their shapes in their shape sorters and praising them for it, so they won't see the difference here?
Thankfully this wasn't heart attack number three for me!
Those are the main two issues that have happened to me in her short life so far. I can tell already she is an inquisitive child and I am going to have to be on the ball with her all the time.
I do firmly believe in teaching the children right from wrong in certain instances such as not touching hot surfaces, leaving the video alone and not opening cupboard doors in the kitchen, but there are ways to prevent this with minimal fuss and will create a stress free environment.
You will never be able to completely baby proof your home however much you think you have. There will always be a sharp corner on a table that they can fall into when you can't get to them quick enough, and toast will always be able to fit into the video player if pushed in enough. There may also always be the gust of wind that slams the door shut trapping your child's fingers in it. You couldn't have baby proofed that one if you tried!
The one true way to child proof your home is to be with your children all the time and teach them something new each day so they become aware of what they mustn't do and more importantly why they mustn't do it.
None of us are perfect and as long as we are caring for the children in the best way we know how, ensuring their safety is paramount by securing the basics then I believe the rest will follow naturally.
Enjoy your children.
My house is fairly child-proof as I have two older children. No breakables or sharp things lying around in this house. All the wardrobes are attached to the wall and the windows are locked. But we have a baby who looks like he is about to crawl so baby-proofing is on my mind again.
My top tip is: wait until your child is moving and see what they go for. Think about it, be prepared, but hold off turning your house into Fort Knox. When my daughter was about 8 months old we baby-proofed the house - locks on every cupboard, gates on every step, guards on all the appliances, a fireguard that encompassed half the living room. We stopped short of padding the walls... And then it turned out that she was quite cautious, couldn't open cupboards and wasn't interested in the stereo or the video.
So I've been through the toyboxes and removed all the really tiny bits, and put a good lid on the playmobil box. The bleach is up high. We've got a gate ready to go across the top of the stairs but we're not bothering with the bottom - by the time they learn to climb up, they can cope. I have some cupboard locks - I wonder if we'll get away without them? I can already see that I'm going to need to put all the socket covers back in though.
I do find that when we go to a friend's house, my children always find all the things that their children never thought of. And vice versa. Baby-proofing is an individual thing I think.
Whatever you do, don't babyproof your house and then relax. Because they will find something you didn't think of. Top tip 2: if it goes quiet, check what they're up to.
You need to start thinking about baby proofing your home from the moment your baby can start moving about independently. One of the best ways to do this is to get on the floor yourself and see the world your baby sees.
All of a sudden a whole new world to explore has opened to your baby and they will be desperate to touch and grab hold of anything and everything they can get their hands on.
Any precious ornaments vases or anything like that that are at floor level you should immediately remove all they will end up broken.
At this moment you will need a fireguard, stairgate and ensure you don't iron while you're baby is on the move, the first thing they will do is pull the cord and the iron with it.
even simple things like pens being left about on the floor or tiny objects that they could choke on. Move the dog bowl or cat litter tray!!! and make sure you get those electric socket covers too.
We've recently been forced to enter the world of baby-proofing when our daughter became mobile and discovered that cupboard doors open and plugholes are just right for putting your finger into. And it seems that even if you're sure you've completely safeguarded your home against every possible eventuality involving baby, she'll always find the one thing you didn't think to baby-proof!
As soon as baby starts to become mobile, even if they're not yet fully crawling, you need to think about baby-proofing your home. The best thing to do is get down on your hands and knees and see things from their viewpoint. Yes, I know you're going to look silly crawling around the house, but work with me on this one, it really is better than walking around looking down on things.
I refer below to baby, but it also includes toddlers and children up to the age of about five.
~~ THINGS TO CONSIDER ~~
* Plugholes *
Babies and electricity just don't mix, simple as. Yet babies don't understand that. They see a plughole as three little holes that they can put their fingers into. And those holes are at just the right height, so one of the first things you should consider doing is buying socket covers. They take seconds to fit, all you need to do is push it into the socket like you would a plug. To remove them, most are made so that you can slot the back of another socket cover in and twist to remove it.
Mothercare sell a pack of 12 covers for £3.99. Boots have a pack of 4 for £3.00.
* Video & DVD players *
Video and DVD guards prevent credit cards, biscuits and such like being stuffed into your player/recorder.
Buy a DVD shield from Mothercare for £6.99.
Buy a multi-purpose lock to stick onto the TV cabinet from Boots for £4.00.
* Washing Machines & Dryers *
I remember reading once about a small child that had climbed into a tumble dryer, closed the door behind it and suffocated. I doubt it's one of the more common accidents around the home, but nonetheless is something that needs to be guarded against. I always keep my washer/dryer door closed so my daughter can't open it (the open button is too tough for her to press). If your door is easy to open, consider buying a multi-purpose lock that sticks on. Mothercare have one for £3.99.
* Cords & Ties *
Make sure all cords are totally out of reach. Use a cord winder (£5.99 from Mothercare) to keep window blind cords out of the way.
Never leave a bag or anything with ties or straps on or in a baby's cot.
* Tables *
Babies are always falling over, especially when they first become mobile. Sharp table corners prove a particular hazard, but can easily be made safe using corner protectors. I bought two sets, one from Mothercare and one from Boots. The Mothercare ones protrude a bit from the table, but have stuck down really well. The ones from Boots fit snuggly around the corners but after a couple of days had been pulled off by my daughter. I ended up using Bostik to stick them down, so they're unlikely to come off again in a hurry. This doesn't matter as I plan to keep them on once she's grown up as I have a lot less bruises on my legs these days!
Boots corner cushions are £2.00 for pack of 4.
* Cupboards & Drawers *
Fit cupboard catches to any cupboard or drawer that contains hazardous materials/liquids, or anything that you don't want baby to get their hands on. You will need to drill small holes and screw to attach them, and they can be fiddly to open, but are worth the hassle. The ones I have from Mothercare can be deactivated when baby has gone to bed if you wish.
A 12 pack of drawer and cupboard catches is £5.99 at Mothercare. £3 for pack of 6 from Boots.
* Cooker *
Pan handles should never be left overhanging the cooker hob. Little hands can reach up, pull the pan off the cooker and end up scalded. You can buy a special hob guard that shields the front of the hob, Mothercare sell them for £14.99.
Check how hot the front of the cooker gets when the oven is on. If it's hot enough to burn, make sure baby is kept away from the cooker when it's on. Better still, teach them from the word go that cooker is hot and off limits at all times.
Boots sell the Clevamama Oven Door Guard for £22.99.
* Hot Liquids
A hot drink, such as a cup of tea or coffee, can scald a baby up to 20 minutes after it's made. Never leave a hot drink within reach of baby.
* Stairs *
Safety gates are perhaps the most expensive of baby-proofing purchases. You'll need at least one if you have stairs, to fit at the bottom to stop baby climbing up the stairs. It's preferable to fit one at the top also if baby is able to move around upstairs.
There are many different types & makes available. Ranging from a simple pressure fit gate (can be bought from around £14.99) up to a roller-blind style gate that retracts when open (around £65). If like me you're prone to clumsiness and don't want a bottom bar to trip over, you may want to opt for a wall-mounted gate rather than a pressure fit gate. These fit to the wall using screw fixings (I paid about £19 each for my two gates).
Gates can also be fitted in doorways to keep baby in a particular room or prevent them from entering one.
* Doors *
One of the most common accidents involving babies in the home has to be trapped fingers. Doors can slam or be pulled/pushed shut, and little ones don't understand that they need to move little fingers out of the way, resulting in squished fingers. A very simple solution to this problem is a door stop that can either be stuck to or fitted around the top of a door so it can't close fully.
Mothercare sell an adhesive door stop for £3.99. Boots door slam protector is £4.00.
* Glass & Windows *
As a young child I was very accident prone (and still am) and once somehow went through the bottom glass panel in our back door. The door came off much worse than I did, by some miracle I escaped without a scratch.
Check to see if any low windows or French/Patio doors are fitted with safety glass. If not you can buy a protective film that covers the glass, so even if it shatters the broken pieces are held together.
Buy a 61 x 183cm roll of safety film from Mothercare for £17.99. It can also be used on glass tables.
Windows that baby can reach or climb up to can be secured using a window catch - £4.99 at Mothercare.
* Fire *
I think I was about 3 when I fell on the fire at my Grandma's house, and still have the scar on my wrist to prove it - now do you believe me when I say I've always been accident prone?
If you have a fire, whether it be open, gas or electric, a fireguard can prevent against such potentially serious accidents.
BabyDan fireguard £59.99 from Boots. Cushiony Fireplace Guard is £24.99 at Boots.
* Furniture *
Again, another thing I remember reading about was a very sad report in a newspaper about a small child who had pulled a chest of drawers over onto themselves and been crushed to death. It's not one of the things that immediately comes to mind when considering safety in the house, but it is one of the most dangerous. I tend to think that if it's taller than it is wide, it's capable of tipping or being pulled over (although that's not necessarily always the case).
Mothercare sell a furniture strap for £3.99 that screws into the back of the item of furniture and then into the wall behind, thus securing said item.
* Bathroom *
Fit a non-slip bathmat to prevent baby slipping at bathtime.
You can buy toilet locks (£3 from Boots) which stick on. This will stop baby dropping your mobile phone down there.
* Garden *
Babies and water can prove lethal. A small child can drown in just a couple of cm of water. If you have a pond or water feature in your garden, ensure it is covered over and inaccessible, preferably with a hard cover which rainwater can't accumulate on. Don't leave any buckets or anything which rainwater can collect in lying around the garden.
Check that any weedkillers, or pest control methods you use are child-friendly.
* Everything Else *
You may want to fit a lock onto the fridge and freezer to prevent junior from emptying the contents all over the kitchen floor. Use a special fridge lock (£3.99 at Mothercare) or a multi-purpose lock.
Turn your thermostat down to below 54 C (130 F) to prevent any scalds from the hot water tap.
Fit smoke alarms on each floor. Carbon monoxide detectors are also a good idea.
Keep small items out of reach. I did read somewhere that baby can choke on anything small enough to fit inside a toilet roll tube. Personally I feel this is a bit over-cautious as quite a few small toy items that are sold for this age group will fit inside the tube, so I prefer to use my own judgement.
Mothercare sell a home safety starter pack for £9.99, which contains: 4 clear corner cushions, 1 door slam stopper, 4 white socket covers, 4 white drawer/cupboard catches, 1 multi purpose lock.
Boots do a starter pack for £10 which includes: 6 x Boots plug socket covers, 4 x Boots corner cushions, 3 x Boots cupboard locks, 3 x Boots drawer locks, 1 x Boots door slam protector, 1 x Boots toilet lock, 1 x Boots short multipurpose lock, 1 x Boots long multipurpose lock.
When you look at the list of things it can all quickily add up, but I believe it's a small price to pay for your child's safety.
This turned out to be a pretty long review, so thanks for reading if you made it this far!