Babyproofing your home
Preparing your home for the arrival of a new baby involves not only ensuring it's clean, but also that it is "babyproof". Here are some ideas to bear in mind when preparing for your newborn's arrival.
The big picture
Sort out these key areas first as you will have to keep them safe for babies for the next several years:
- Cleaning items. Keep them well out of the way in a high, preferably locked cupboard. Consider switching to natural products as they are generally less toxic (but still keep them locked up).
- Stairs. Install a small, safety gate at the top and bottom of the stairs.
- Set your geyser below 60ºC to avoid accidental burns.
- Power outlets. Purchase the plastic outlet plugs to cover power outlets and secure cords against the skirting.
- Drawers and doors. Make use of safety latches and doorstops to protect your baby from opening drawers or closing his fingers in doors.
- Your stove. Never ever leave a pot handle facing outwards as it can be easily knocked by someone passing the stove. Turn the handles well inwards towards the back of the stove.
- Fireplaces and wood burning stoves. Use a screen to prevent baby from getting anywhere near the flames.
- Pools and water features. Erect a fence and/or install a pool net over any water features including pools and fish ponds. Reme,ber that a baby can drown in only two centimeters of water, so keep buckets of water or dog bowks out of her way.
- In your bathroom. Use a toilet lock to prevent baby from climbing into the water or flushing things down the toilet. Use locks on the taps too.
- Curtain cords. Wrap these around hooks high out of reach and keep them as short as possible. Don't leave them lying on the floor as your baby can get caught in the losse strings.
- Knives and/ or other sharp instruments. Keep these locked in a drawer or install a safety catch that can only be unclipped by an adult.
For those unseen nooks and edges
- Place a rug under your changing table as this will offer some cushion in case of a fall.
- If you plan on using a night light, keep it at least a metre away from the cot and curtains to prevent fire.
- Once your baby can reach up and touch her mobiles or hanging toys, remove them as they pose a danger.
- Pad the sharp edges of tables and desks. If your newborn is sleeping in a cot, ensure that you have a breathable mattress that is fitted properly (i.e. make sure there are no gaps or overlaps) within the cot. The slats should not be more than six centimetres apart to prevent your baby's head from getting stuck between them.
- Make sure that your cot is properly assembled, and never put any stuffed toys, pillows or loose bedding into a newborn's cot as it may suffocate your baby.