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How do I baby-proof my home?

How do I baby-proof my home?



I HAVE a five-month-old baby who is beginning to move when I put him on the floor, so I think it may be time to start baby/child proofing my home. Where do I begin?

CHILDREN by nature are curious and they need and want to explore the world. Nine out of 10 unintentional injuries can be prevented by thinking safe and acting safe. Fifty per cent of injuries occur in the home, with the highest amount of injuries happening in the one-three age bracket.

Creating a safe environment for your child can seem like a difficult chore but when you consider statistics regarding child injury it is clear that it is an essential task associated with parenting.

Anticipate the developmental stages of your child. It is a good idea to start now before your child really takes off. I always tell parents when they are about to undertake this task, sit on the floor and observe dangers from your child's level. This will allow you to envisage items that may attract attention from your child.

Kitchen area

Curious toddlers have a fixation with opening and closing ovens and dishwater doors. These appliances pose danger to your child as they often contain sharp instruments such as knives or breakables like glassware.

Refrigerators may contain items that pose choking hazards. Hobs and pot handles create a risk of burning or scalding.


Install locks on all appliances that open and close.

Use a hob guard to protect against burns.

Fix knob covers to prevent curious hands from turning on knobs.

Get into the habit of using the back rings.

Turn pot handles inwards when cooking.

Kitchen presses and drawers contain many safety risks including chemicals, medications, sharp items and bits and bobs that may pose a risk to choking.


Install press and drawer locks and keep chemicals like detergents and cleaning agents in an overhead press.

Place medicines and poisons in a locked cabinet.

Keep electrical appliances unplugged and out of reach.

Use outlet covers to keep your baby from sticking her fingers into electrical sockets.

Avoid using tablecloths or runners as children love to pull items.


Children under one year of age can drown in bathtubs, buckets or toilets. Scalds and burns are also common injuries in the bathroom.


Set your water temperature to no higher than 49C.

Turn on cold water first, and turn it off last when filling the bath or sink.

Test the temperature of the water with your elbow.

Never leave any child unsupervised in the bath even for one second.

Use a toilet seat lock for the toilet and use a non-slip mat in the bath.

Keep all sharp items (razors etc) in locked cupboards in the bathroom and keep all cosmetics/ bleaches on shelves out of reach of toddlers


Be mindful that many plants are poisonous. Potting materials can pose a choking risk.


Keep all plants out of reach and make sure they are labelled. Do not use rocks or marbles in potting materials.

dining and living areas

Coffee tables and other tables have sharp corners. Babies often pull themselves from sitting to standing using the coffee table. Fireplaces have sharp corners and pose the threat of burning or choking from small objects in the hearth. Freestanding units including televisions are a serious threat to children's safety.


Use table cushions for all sharp corners including breakfast counters and islands.

Keep tables away from window ledges.

Use a spark guard at all times.

Ensure that a fire guard is securely installed around the fireplace and fitted to the wall.


Many falls occur on stairs. Curious toddlers, when crawling, stumble on the stairs and may find they can ascend but have no idea how to come back down.


Install a safety gate at the top and bottom of the stairs. Ensure they are fixed securely.

Keep stairs free of clutter that could cause a fall not only for your baby, but for you as well.

Always supervise young children as they learn to climb stairs.

Check banisters regularly to ensure they are not loose and that small heads cannot fit between the bars.

handbags, purses, keys

Handbags and purses contain a range of hazards, often including medication, coins and sharp objects. Keys often have small parts that can come off and create a choking risk.


Keep bags, purses and keys out of reach of all children. Also be mindful when visiting houses with children that you keep these items out of their reach.


Thick carpets hide objects that can cause choking. The corners of kitchen floors and under presses are often havens for choking hazards like peas or pet food.


Get down on the floor and check it regularly for small items. Keep floor swept and clean up spills immediately as they occur. Keep pet food and bowls out of children's reach.


It is recommended that babies remain in their parents' room until the child is six months. Cots that are not assembled correctly pose a huge safety risk. Chords from blinds can be very dangerous.


Ensure cots are assembled correctly. You should be able to slide just one finger between the mattress and the side rails and headboard.

Remove pillows and soft toys from cot.

Do not place a cot near a window and make sure blind cords are out of reach.

Make sure night lights do not touch fabric curtains or bedspreads.

Make sure there are no strings on toys or soothers.

Place door jam locker on all doors.

Allow child to play with age-appropriate toys that have a CE mark.

car safety

All children should be properly restrained while travelling in a car. There are four different car-safety seats in use presently: baby seat, child seat, booster seat and booster cushion. The type used depends on your child's weight and height.


Ensure the car seat used conforms to the United Nations safety regulations and check safety standard E number.

Make sure the car seat is fitted according to manufacturer's instructions.

Do not use second-hand car seats as you may not be sure if they are damaged.

Never leave a child unattended in a car and always remove the keys and lock the vehicle.




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