Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and significant phases in a person’s life. Having a baby in your life is exciting, overwhelming, worrisome and equally anxiety-ridden. Every moment of every day you are worried about your baby and its safety. Babies are born curious. By the time they are ready to even roll over, they will start exploring their environment. And there is no stopping them once they become toddlers.
Seemingly normal things in your house start to look sinister and dangerous to you once there is a baby in the house. The best way to ward off at least some of the worry is to make sure that your house is safe for your child. If you are an expecting parent, it would be ideal to baby proof your house to safeguard your child from any potential dangers, before the baby comes.
There are many products available in the market, which are specifically designed for baby proofing your house. Plug covers, safety harnesses, edge and corner guards, locks and straps, door and window guards, gates, baby monitors, earmuffs, finger protection dough etc., are just some of the products that you can buy from the market or e-commerce websites. But if you are looking at some household hacks to baby proof your house, here are some tips and tricks that you can try for some do-it-yourself hacks with common household items.
Sharp corners can be a huge hazard for a baby, whether they are just creeping around, crawling, toddling or running around the house. While there are corner guards available in the market, you can baby proof the sharp corners of your furniture by using simple household items that do not cost much. Simply slit a tennis ball and slide it on to the corner. You can also use play dough to cover the sharp edges and corners. Another item that can be used is the pipe insulation tubes. Cut open one end of it and stick it on to the table edges. They fit in perfectly and are soft enough to protect precious heads.
If you put your baby to sleep on the bed or in a crib, there will soon come a time when it would be able to climb down from the bed or crib. You would think a crawling baby would not be able to get down, but soon you will find yourself carrying your toddler back into the bed minutes after you put it to sleep. In such a scenario, there is always a great fear that the baby may slip and bump its head while climbing down from the bed or simply roll over and fall. It is always a good idea to put pillows below the bed so that even if they roll over or they climb down, it reduces the chances of an injury. Bolster pillows also work great with babies who roll around a lot. Just put the bolster pillows around the baby when they are asleep.
Cords or wires, curtains or any such item is an extreme strangulation hazard for babies. They may simply be playing with it, but they would not realize when the situation may turn dire. It is always a good idea to roll up hanging cords or loose wires and tie them up in rubber bands. Placing them at a height is also a good idea as toddlers with nimble fingers and curious brains can easily figure out how to remove the rubber bands.
If your house has stairs or ledges that may cause a baby to fall down, it would be advisable to put up a small safety gate. Ideally do not leave the child unattended around such places but if you have to, then putting up a safety gate is the best solution. Move away tables, chairs or stools that the child can use to climb up to a window or ledge or a balcony. Those little feet can climb up the chairs quickly and lead to dangerous situations. Do not leave anything lying around on the stairs and make sure the passages are well lit and safe.
The different shapes and sizes of hairbands available in the market can be used in various ways to baby proof your house. Cabinet doors, garbage can lid, windows, drawers etc. can be easily fastened to protect those tiny and curious fingers. It is also advisable to move items made of glass or metal or heavy objects and artefacts out of the child’s reach till they are of a certain age.
Electric outlets are extremely hazardous for babies. They are small enough for the curious tots to put their tiny fingers in and these can lead to dangerous situations. Extra strong duct tape is an extremely good hack for an electric outlet. You can simply cover the plug holes with it, putting out the temptation to play with it. These days, you can find beautiful designer duct tapes to work with your room décor.
I have never understood why toddlers find doors so enticing. They simply love closing and opening doors and then repeating the process. This is why fingers getting pinched or toes getting stubbed are such common occurrences. If you have bi-fold doors, this hack with a hanger works perfectly. Simply hook a plastic hanger in an inverted manner on the door knobs. This will prevent the child from closing or opening doors. For refrigerators, you can work a hack with two non-permanent hooks and a rubber band. For single doors, hinges can be dangerous for little fingers. You can use erasers to stick between doors to work as hinge protectors or install door stoppers.
When the babies are crawling, they tend to hurt their knees or toes on the floor, especially if the floor is hard and rough. You can easily prevent this by making a knee protection pad out of socks. Cut the toe-end of the socks and slide it on to the baby’s knee.
If you have open storage units or floor shelves, it would be best to put baby’s toys or coloured plastic bottles to distract the child from reaching on top of the unit. Once they see the toys or bottles, they would be distracted long enough for you to move the child to another place. Make sure these shelves and units have safety harnesses on them so that the child is not able to pull it down on to itself.
If you have sliding windows or doors with glass, it would best to stick some colourful stickers on it to protect the child from bumping its head.
Medicines, hazardous cleaning materials or any such liquid or solid items that can be dangerous to the child if ingested, should be locked inside cupboards. Items like paper clips, scissors, knives, nail clippers, letter openers, staplers and pins, needles and other such sharp things should be kept well out of reach of toddlers. Plastic wraps, covers and bags with zippers should also be kept out of reach. Coins, screws, nuts and bolts, buttons, beads etc. pose a huge choking hazard for babies who are in an exploring phase. These items must be kept out of their reach.
For toddlers who love their bath time, it is more about playing in the water. However, when not under adult supervision, it can lead to dangerous situations. To avoid this, make sure that all your bathrooms and toilets have an outside lock. Make sure taps and faucets are shut tight and any leakage fixed. Make sure the buckets and tubs are empty after use. Most importantly, never leave the child unattended in the bathroom.
For a parent, no amount of safeguarding is enough to protect their child and keep them from worrying, especially when over-enthusiastic toddlers are in their exploring phase. However, a few insignificant changes in your home can highly reduce the risk.