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An insight into baby proofing


Baby proofing your house is an essential, and you usually need to start thinking of this sooner than you'd like.  So as soon as you are able to put your little one on a playmat, it is time to look around...

...if this isn't sounding familiar, I can promise it will not be long!

So baby proofing the your house, will probably require a few baby proofing products, but depending on how you wish to manage this stage in your child’s life, the lists don’t have to be too long.

Remembering of course, that you’'ve also to socialise your toddler, and other peoples standards and expectations could very well differ from yours...

My Mum always used to state that children of toddling age should be issued with crash helmets. I used to just roll my eyes and think “"oh Mum, honestly!”" ... As a Mum of three these days, I can now whole heartedly see what she means!


baby proofing - where to start?

One of the best bits of advice I can give you, is to lower yourself to your child’s level and look at the world as they see it. What can you see? Where could you poke a finger, bang your head, open things that shouldn’'t be opened by children... these are all hazards, and these are your #1 priority to "baby proof".

Remember too however, that just because you have baby proofed your house, it doesn'’t make it infallible. In fact it reminds me of a story my sister experienced with her eldest son...

Having an open kitchen diner, one of the major hazardous areas for babies / toddlers is the kitchen. As the responsible Mum she is, my sister wanted to put a baby gate preventing her young son access to the most hazardous area of this room.

They bought I believe one of the best baby gates on the market at the time. Even for an adult it was awkward to open (I often shouted for help!). My nephew watched and studied, as Mummy and Daddy put this gate into operation, watched the gate, and learned. Once installed, life resumed as normal.... until the small voice from the kitchen floated into the lounge.

On inspection my sister found her son in the kitchen, behind the child gate so stringently installed. He had not only worked out how the mechanism had worked, but when asked showed Mummy that he needed no equipment other than his little finger, to spring the lock! Money well spent? In this instance maybe not, a differing gate was installed, and he was not able to get back in there.

So do not assume because you've spent cash on getting "the best" item, that you have actually bought the best.  For stair gates, we found that these types served us best...

This stair gate is available from Amazon.com

Over the 12 years that we've needed a stair gate, we have always returned to these sorts.

The latest one we bought had a glow in the dark handle which was great for night time.

Pro's

  1. I like the fact that you can operate this gate one handed.  Very handy when carrying baby.
  2. The more recent designs of this gate have a self closing feature.

Con's

  1. This is relevant for all stair gates - remembering they are there, and you need to step "over" the threshold.  I've stubbed a few toes!!

Baby Proofing - What’s available on the market?

With my first child, I was presented by a friend a miscellaneous bag of ‘baby proofing’ kit. It was like all sorts of weird plastic bits and bobs, which to be honest looked more like choking hazards than helpful supportive ones!

As we walked round room by room, it soon became clear what we needed to look for, so please find the checklists that I used here..

Anti-slip / Anti-tip mechanisms; ideal for bookcases or delicate furniture, that your child sees as a climbing frame!

We have used these in and around our home, the lounge being one of many areas, to anchor 6 ft tall bookcases, a unit of 7 drawers, which is tall and slender, and also my free standing jewellery box.

The children have always been taught "No" to climbing or pulling themselves up on these items, however the anchor provides the peace of mind that when your back is turned for those 5 split seconds, your child will still be safe.


To protect your DVD/CD Player, you can get a Shield. The shields are usually clear plastic, so will still enable you to use the remote controls, but will block your child from pressing it's buttons and putting things into the "letterbox"!


I know that I have been horrified to find bits of toast, finger foods, and even stickle bricks inside! This DVD Guard for Stereos is also available.


So now your DVD player is protected, your child has probably grown, and is making lovely sticky finger prints on your Flat Screen TV!

So to offer your flat screen TV the best protection, you could have it wall mounted. That would possibly be the ultimate in baby proofing them, but if your room, decor, or tastes would rather that the TV remains on a unit then you will need to anchor it by utilising safety straps or anti-slip devices.


Securing Cupboards - You can purchase a ‘latch’ for any doors that are hinged, such as your cabinet, refrigerator, dresser or clothes units. You may be able to purchase as a single latch, or a muliple bundle.


Plug socket covers - Why is it that kids make a beeline for plug sockets? From my reckoning, this is due to the fact that you’ll have spent time with your child teaching them to put shapes into the right sorts of holes; at the end of the day a plug socket will be seen as holes, now what shape will fit in there..? Yes, see my point!

If your child makes a beeline for this sort of entertainment, these should be on your must have list. It's worth remembering to keep a couple of spares in their diaper bag, for when you go visiting, as these are hazards not always considered by everyone!


Stairgates - the ultimate in child safety in my opinion. Things to look for though:

  • Ensure that you measure the gap or doorway, and find a gate that is suitable. By suitable, make sure the gaps at either end aren’t too big (once the gates adjusted) so that they can squeeze through. If you’ve seen one you like, ask the owner, would they recommend?
  • Check the mechanism. Is this something your little one could trigger themselves, and open the gate? This is something my nephew did!
  • Can you open it single handed? Remember you may be carrying your baby, the washing, vaccuum etc, and will therefore have one had occupied. Having a gate that needs two hands to open, will be problematic, which may render you not using it. Now that would be a waste of money, let alone an increase in the risks, that you originally identfied!


reminder

Before spending any money on baby proofing items, do check the furniture or equipment first. Make sure your buying something that you can attach to the piece, and also that there wasn't some sort of safety mechanism provided by the manufacturer.


Having had a look around on the market, you may well consider that there some things are ‘over-kill’ or even find yourself tutting and muttering “honestly” (I’m guilty of this!), but remember each person’s home is as individual as them, and there is no right or wrong answer.

Just make the assessment on being safe and make sure your baby/toddler has an environment suitable to their baby proofing needs.


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