Childproofing your home

Until you had children, you’d probably never thought twice about that trailing lead, loose window latch, or sharp edges around your fireplace. Well, why should you? However, with a baby on the way, or steadfastly wobbling toddler now cruising your home the chances are you’ve begun to reassess your confidence in its safety. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents more than two million children a year have an accident within their own home, with children under the age of five more likely to incur injuries than their older peers and siblings. While accidents can, and will happen during your little one’s childhood, there are numerous things that you could be doing to childproof your home.

Childproofing your home could be easier than you’d imagined.

Remove clutter and maximize space

Trips, slips, and falls are among the most common accidents experienced by adults and children within the home – and yet they’re relatively easy to prevent if you know where to start. Clutter poses a particularly big risk to parents, as you navigate from room to room around dropped toys, piles of clothes, and a slippery book or two. One of the easiest ways to childproof your home is to ensure it’s always kept clean and tidy, with items stored out of sight when not in use. There are some fantastic storage solutions for such an occasion, which will allow you to reclaim space and your home’s potential.

Look for dangers hidden in plain sight

From trailing wires and exposed cables to steep stairs, burning hobs, curtain ties, and open windows, your home is a veritable playground of hazards. Perhaps you’ve become so used to these kinds of occurrences that you simply don’t see them anymore. It’s time to view your home through the eyes of your child; what stands out as being particularly interesting? Wires and cables should be kept out of sight, and out of mind, while safety gates will prevent your child falling down the stairs or accessing hazardous rooms. Plantation shutters provide a particularly attractive alternative to curtains; enabling parents to air their homes without the risks presented by an open window, and shutters control temperature and light flow without the need for pulleys or curtain ties.

Catch up with DIY tasks

It’s incredibly easy to allow jobs to go undone. You’re perhaps used to living with that broken doorframe, a loose stretch of carpet, or an exposed electrical socket. However, those kinds of DIY nightmares can become deadly when approached by a small child in search of an adventure. Whatever you’ve meant to get done in recent months, or even years, but have neglected to do, you should now make a concerted effort to rectify. 

Secure furniture, wherever possible

There have been far too many instances of bookshelves, chests of drawers, and sideboards toppling over for them to be ignored; most are now provided with fastening mechanisms to secure them to walls. Assess your home, seeking out the items of furniture that pose a risk. What could you do to prevent those kinds of accidents? Corner and edge bumpers, and doorstops will help to secure heavier, and pointier items of furniture, too. 

Install safety latches, locks, and gates

Don’t ignore the risks posed by hazardous substances; cleaning chemicals are among the worst offenders when it comes to accidental ingestion and cases of poisoning within the home. Endeavour to keep cleaning products, decorating and DIY accessories, and medicines as far away from children as possible, using locked cabinets, high shelves, and external storage facilities as much as possible. Security latches and cupboard locks will provide an extra level of protection against such items; educate your child about the potential risks of such substances as soon as it’s appropriate.

Don’t forget outside

Before too long your little ones will be venturing beyond your back door and out into the garden – particularly as the warmer, summer months approach. Is your garden secure, and free from hazards? If you’ve got a dog, ensure that his or her toileting habits are monitored and dealt with. These last few weeks before we welcome the spring are a great time to double check fences and gates, childproof your pond or water feature, and ensure dangers such as rockeries, loose ground, and wobbly walls are tackled. 

Keep your wits about you

Perhaps the best advice that I can give you is to keep your wits about you; as your baby grows, grasps, and develops he or she is likely to discover a whole new set of hazards for every milestone. Crawling, cruising, and walking present new challenges, too, so remain vigilant. That ornament that may once have been out of sight and reach is now looking inviting to curious fingers.

Regardless of how carefully you watch your child he or she is likely to get into a scrape or two along the way. It’s just how this parenting thing goes, unfortunately. However, some accidents are preventable if we’d just take the time to stop, assess an environment or situation, and take action. Indeed, by childproofing your home and remaining vigilant as your child grows and develops you can work towards ensuring your child’s safety at every turn and milestone. This parenting malarkey is tough at times, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.