Story by Dakota Murphey
Photography by Unsplash
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If the stalk is on the way, it is important that you take the time to think about every room in the house and how to make it safe
Remember that when you are pregnant, having a child who can walk around and make their own decisions can feel like a long time away. But it will come around much sooner than you think, and with a baby in the house you might not be especially motivated to be carrying out home improvement works. That’s why it’s a much better idea to make changes with forethought well before the baby arrives.
Here are some important changes that you can make to your home in order to prepare it for having independent children allowing their curiosity to guide them.
In the kitchen
Obviously it is best to ensure that children are never allowed in the kitchen unsupervised. But you can’t always guarantee that you will be able to overcome a curious child’s intent to discover new things, so it’s right to keep practical steps to take a high risk area like the kitchen as free from potential hazards as possible.
You might keep cleaning products and other chemicals in the kitchen so ensure that they are kept in a locked cupboard or out of reach. Additionally anything sharp – knives, food processor blades, scissors – should be kept in high cabinets or drawers with latches. The same goes for plastic bags, glasses and anything else that can be dangerous for children.
Children have disproportionately large heads compared to the rest of their body which means that they are top heavy. This puts them at risk with toilets, as they can lean over and fall into the bowl. Small children can drown in just one inch of water so this can be extremely hazardous for them. It’s a good idea, then, to install a toilet lock to keep the lid down.
If you store any medicines in the bathroom you should be aware of this and place them somewhere out of read of children.
Get the garage ready
You might not assume that your child will find their way into the garage, but remember that young children are natural explorers – as soon as the can move around they will be looking for new environments to navigate. That means if you have a garage attached to your home, it needs to be as child-proof as the rest of the house. Garages can be full of hazards for children, so it is important to keep them both inaccessible and out of reach.
The first thing to note is that doors leading to the garage should be kept locked when not in use – this might involve adding a lock to the door, but it will be worth it. Also make sure if you have a garage door that it has a sensor to stop the door from closing on top of someone. While this is good practice generally, it is especially important with a child in the house.
Around the house
There are actually a surprising number of things to think about around the rest of the house – to your eyes they might not seem dangerous, but they can be for children. One of the most obvious is a gate for the stairs, and these can be easily installed. But also remember that every house is different and you may need to check across yours thorough for dangers.
Any furniture with corners or sharp edges may need to be repositioned. Additionally remember that cords for blinds can be a strangulation hazard, so they should be replaced with versions that do not have loops. It can also help to ensure that furniture is never positioned in a way that allows children to climb to high positions from which they can fall.
Finally, remember that it may now be necessary to anchor furniture in place. Tall or heavy pieces of furniture such as bookcases and chests of drawers can be surprisingly easily topped by children putting their weight against them to attempt to get up. This can pull the furniture down on top of them. Securing them to wall removes this possibility.
First published date: 15 February 2018