Whether you are expecting a little bundle of joy or have recently welcomed home a new addition to the family, you have probably already found you are looking at the world through a different lens. What you see now is different from what you saw as a young man or woman without responsibility…now you see the danger around every corner.
That is because children have a knack of getting into everyone that they are not supposed to, even if you think it is out of reach, they will find away. As your little one develops and learns how to crawl, pull themselves up on the furniture and eventually walk, your living space will likely have to be adapted to suit.
Just because the home is baby-friendly, doesn’t necessarily make it toddler-friendly. As your child grows and learns new skills, new dangers will present themselves that you could easily have overlooked. Don’t feel ashamed about that, because it is something that many new parents go through.
The Living Room
The living room is where the little one will be spending most of their waking hours at home, so this must be one of the safest and best-protected rooms in the property. That means investing in safety gates prohibiting access to any staircase in the home, the kitchen and any other entry and exit point you would rather not have them crawling in and out of. Don’t simply believe that you will be on hand to stop them because, as much as you might believe you can, you can’t have your eye on them 24/7.
As your child becomes more adventurous and doesn’t sit in the same place for a prolonged (or indeed any) period of time, you will want to invest in creating a safe place where they can play. A playpen, where you can arrange gates so as your little one has an area of the room where you can leave them to play (under supervision, of course) is a must. This should be away from any low-height furniture such as drawers, coffee tables and any other units you might have.
Playing in the Garden
When the sun is out, you will want to take the little one outside in the garden (assuming you have one). This means ensuring that your outdoor space is child-friendly, which can be even more difficult than controlling your indoor environment. That is because there are other elements to consider, such as the wildlife that might leave nasty surprises on the floor where your child crawls. It is also possible for debris to be blown into your garden which can cause injury if not dealt with.
As parents, you will want to consider some child-friendly garden ideas where you can bring a little one out safely. This might include doing away with any concrete slabs, which little one could bang their head-on, and replacing with a soft artificial grass surface, making room for a sandbox, swing and other playground equipment, as well as securing your privacy with a six-foot-high fence.
Regardless of whether you have pets or not, always give the garden a once-over to check for signs of any animal has done its business in your garden. If you do invest in a sandbox, make sure that this is covered with a waterproof material because not only do you want to avoid large amounts of water in the sand, neither do you want to dig up any hidden cat poop. Without any cover, your child’s sandbox is a cat’s public litterbox.
There should be no safer place in the home than the bedroom. Not just from a practical point of view, but also from an emotional one as this is the one place in the home that is yours. Even at such a young age, children feel a sense of comfort in the surroundings of their bedroom and, as they get older and form their own ideas and tastes, you should allow them to have input on how their space is decorated.
Until that time, however, you need to focus on safety points. Firstly, it is recommended that a baby sleeps in the same room as its parents for the first six months of its life, so you have a little bit of time to get this room up to scratch. Once they outgrow the Moses basket and sleep in their cot, you need to be aware that when they start to pull themselves up, it won’t be long until they experiment with climbing.
Safeguard against the child from 1) being able to climb out of the cot (many cots come with adjustable heights, lowering the height of the mattress) and 2) ensuring the bedroom is safe and they cannot get out of it should they manage to climb out of the cot. This means ensuring that everything is stored up on shelves, not at the height where the child could reach them and that there is a safety gate across the doorframe.
Toys, Toys, Toys
If you are a parent of a little one, your home has probably already been taken over by toys to the point that you can barely see the carpet. If this scene sounds familiar, you will want to invest in dedicated storage for all those toys, even from an early age. As well as teaching your child a valuable lesson of putting their toys away when they are finished playing with them, having toys scattered across the floor is a safety hazard for both you and the child.
Even soft toys can be tripped over resulting in a nasty tumble, which then presents the risk of bumping your head on a solid surface. While children are going to fall and tumble, you can at least lower the risk of that happening by maintaining an organised home (or at least as much of one as having a little one allows you to).
Safety Gates on the Stairs
Last, but certainly not least, if your home includes a staircase it is an absolute must that both the top and bottom are cut off with safety gates. Under no circumstances should there be any risk of the baby falling down the stairs as this can result in serious injury, sometimes fatal.
A gate across the top will stop your baby from falling down the entire flight of stairs, while a gate at the bottom will prohibit them from attempting to climb the stairs without adult supervision should the opportunity present itself. Even if opening and closing gates at the top and bottom of the stairs is an annoyance to you, remember that they are serving the purpose of keeping your child safe and are necessary.
No matter what measures you take, we can almost guarantee that your little bundle of joy will find something else. As parents, just be aware and do everything in your power to keep them safe. Remember, though, that bumps will happen so beat yourself up when that happens…just give them a little bit of love and they will be well on their way.