Keeping your home safe for your baby and child

Butterfly38 By Butterfly38, 12th Jul 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1wl3x32d/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>New Mums

Parenting is hard, especially when your a first time parent learning new skills. Babies don't come with free instructions. So here is a little advice from a mum who had no skills and had to learn as she went along.

My background on parenting.

I have 5 lovely children who I love with all my heart, however even with professional help, parenting was a very difficult task. I didn't have many skills, and my DIY skills are not the best. I was never, and I am still not a 'super expert' on parenting. However my own expertise was learned as I went along. Professionals were helpful, but there were many other things I learned that professionals never taught me!

Start early!

Start learning early! I made one big mistake with my first child, that is I waited till I fell pregnant to teach myself to make my home safe for my children. That was a big mistake, because my house was unsafe and not well equipped to accomodate children. It is very difficult to make your home safe, one a baby starts crawling. They tend to get their hands on everything, particularly things you think they couldn't find! As they get older they become crafty. I put all of my electrical equipment and sharps in a high cupboard that I thought my then 5 year old could not reach! I got a shock, because she learned to climb a chair and get onto the unit to reach it. One of my children also managed to slide open the plastic safety catches given to me by a children's provider on my wide opening window. He nearly fell out, and I knew then that it wasn't enough, and I had to look for alternative ways. So here are my tips.

Corded Blinds.

Corded blinds are a safety risk to young children. However over the recent years following a safety campaign to make them safer, they now come with a safety device that you fit on the blind to make them safer. However, I looked at a safety device that came with my own blind. It was basically a plastic cap you fit to the cord that is meant to stop young children from getting tangled in them.

The problem I detected is, if you have a crafty young child who can climb, they could still reach the cord and possibly pull hard so the device comes of. I deal with it by using the attachment, but I also use a clip and I clip my cord behind high up behind the roller so that children can not access the cord to pull it.

It IS important to make your cords safe, as children can strangle themselves and get their fingers stuck, even if the beads are meant to come apart, as sometimes there are flaws with the design and the beads often get stuck.

On another note, you do not need to have a corded blind. There are many blinds that have a hook at the top, which you pull down with a pole, which are safer. However, make sure you lock the pole away safe, so that your child can not find it and use it as a weapon or hurt her/himself with it

Curtains.

Curtains can be hazardous too. Young children tend to twist themselves into them or swing of them. This causes two hazards, a child can get stuck in the curtain causing suffocation, or pull the curtain down with the pole and attachments. Children can choke on the small attatchments that come with curtain fixings, and they can hurt themselves with the pole.

Use curtains that come just above a radiator or do not sweep the floor and tie them back. Don't use material tie backs as many children visiting my house have twisted these round their fingers causing them to get sore. And before you say it, it is a parents job to supervise their children, however many of us need eyes in the back of our heads, so it is possible to miss things when supervising children, which is why safety is important! I use clip tie backs to tie my curtains. These attach to the wall and clip the curtains into place. There is no real way to deal with falling curtain poles, but gluing them into their holders with no nails is a good idea. I did this, and now my friends children are frustrated because the pole does not come down!

Sharp Furniture

Children and babies do bumb into things alot, and they can hurt themselves on sharp furniture. Safety corners are no good, because young children and babies can pull these of and swallow them. I felt my corners and door edges on my furniture. Make sure the felt is safe and doesn't come of on your hands. cut it to fit your edges and corners, then superglue it into place. This will soften the blow, should your children bumb into furniture. Another alternative is to sand down the edges until they are rounded and soft, and don't use glass tables as children tend to bang down on these and they can hurt themselves even on toughened glass.

Sockets

These are a nightmare in my house! Socket covers don't work as children can pull them out. There is no easy way to deal with this, however children can put things in them and cause themselves danger by plugging and unplugging electricals into them. I hide my easy to reach sockets with heavy furniture so that children and babies can not get to them. The ones higher up, I use covers on, because I find children have more difficulty reaching those, and you can't for example hide a kettle socket with furniture!

medicines and cleaning fluid

Nearly all parents I know, complain that these are hard to make safe. Be aware that if you store them in a high cupboard, a child may find a way to reach them. Also a child can open a first aid box. Put them in a cupboard with a padlock, and keep the key with you. Chemicals and medicines are dangerous to a childs health. They could drink a cleaning fluid and make themselves ill, or overdose on a tablet which they may think is a sweet. Both these are enough to kill a child, so it is extremely important to keep them well out of reach of any child, including teenagers who may use them to feed a drug habit which you may or may not know they have developed.

Vac/sweep your floors and check them reguarly.

It is very easy to drop a drawing pin or a nail on the floor, and if you can't find it, a child might. Regular vacumming/sweeping can help with this, as any little chokable things tend to come up when vacced or swept. I do this every day just to be safe. Even if you keep your nails and drawing pins safe, it is very easy to drop them and not notice. They can get stuck in corners, down furniture, and in many other hard to reach places that you might not see, but a child might. Children can choke and cut themselves on small things, so it is very important to be cautious.

Safety Gates

A word on using safety gates. In the early 1990's, I fitted a safety gate at the top and bottom of my stairs. In the end, I took the top one down. My child learned to climb over the gate and he fell down the stairs causing him some nasty bruising. Now, you may ask how will that keep my child safe? What I did was fit the top one across his bedroom door and I made sure it opened and had an alarm on it for fire safety reasons. I then fitted one at the bottom of my stairs. It is much safe for a child to attempt to climb over a stairgate at the bottom, than it is the top, where they can fall down all the stairs and severely hurt themselves. Safety gates are a way of protecting your child from getting up the stairs, but please be mindful that a toddler can attempt to climb over them and fall.

Outside doors

Both my outside doors have twist locks on them, which the council say are for fire safety reasons. Contrary to what professionals and the public believe, young children can learn to untwist these and get out by themselves. My then 2year old did, and it was dark. he almost got hit by a motorbike because of that. We did attempt to get the council to change them, but they said no, because of fire safety regulations.

While I understand their point, it is important to protect young children from getting out side. They may get out unnoticed, which is not necessarily always the parents fault. It is due to the fact that sometimes it can be hard to always watch a young child, especially if for example you have older children who can indeed teach the child to open the door.

I resolved it by putting a bolt out of reach at the top of my doors. This is safer than a padlock, because whereas a padlock requires a key. A bolt slides, so you can get out in the event of a fire or emergency.

Make sure you have a safety gate on your kitchen.

Safety gates are useful for a kitchen, they can stop young children from getting in their while you are cooking. Leave the door open and keep the gate across the middle, so your child can watch, and again make sure you can open the gate from the middle so you can get in and out easily, and make sure it is alarmed so that you can be warned if your child can get in there.

Cooker gaurds./kettles/wires

If in the event a young child enters your kitchen use a cooker gaurd so that your child doesn't burn themselves by attempting to touch the oven or rings when the cooker is on. This is an extra precaution to use, so that if your child enters the kitchen he/she doesn't get burned. Keep kettles and wires from microwaves and toasters from dangling. A young child can easily pull on these, and get burned or scalded. I attached a clip to my wall above my cooker, kettle and microwave so that I could store my wire well away from the kids. Make sure it is a clip that clips fully round the wire tightly, and secures the plugs so that your child cannot pull them of the wall

when cleaning laminate/vinyl flooring

When you mop laminate or vinyl flooring, be aware that even 'non-slip' can become slippy. I sweep, then wash mine and go over it with a separate sweeping brush to dry my floor fast. That way, children don't slip and it also prevents dirty footmarks from being left on my nice clean floor!

Bathroom

Razors can often be reached easily in the bathroom, as can bubblebaths, soaps and many things. Remember children often look down and play in the tiolet too. I put a plastic clip bit on my toilet, and made sure anyone who used it, put the seat down and shut the lid with fastened in place by the clip. Babies and young children can fall headfirst into the toilet, and one of my children attempted to flush his brothers head down the toilet, which is funny to the parent, but can be a danger to the child, so it is very important to make it safe. Use a bathmat in the bath. Young children and adults can slip and slide in the bath, so make it safe!

If your bathroom is laminated, please use a non slip block or rubber backed mat so your children do not slip. My bathroom is very small and laminated, it often gets dangerously wet when we use the bath, so we have to use a nonslip mat or block to make it safe, otherwise both children and adults can slip

phone and cable wires

In my house, the phone socket and main cable attatchments are in awkward to reach places. This means that I have to stretch my cables and wires across doors and round the room, which means there is a risk of children tripping over them. Clip them round the skirting boards and up and over door frames. That way they are pinned down and no accidents happen. Like us, if you have a tele on the wall, then clip the wire to the wall, or around the tele if it is long enough, and make certain your tele cannot be pulled down in anyway

A last note

I hope my advice in this article is helpful to parents and new parents. Even professionals don't always notice the hidden dangers to our children. I wish you all the luck in making your home safe for your children.

Tags

Daily Life, New Mums, Parenting

Meet the author

author avatar Butterfly38
I have recovered from several illnesses and I will be writing about the effects of these and parenting with mental illness. There will be many other topics that interest me too.

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Comments

author avatar peachpurple
13th Jul 2015 (#)

Very detail and helpful points. I used to take care of these points when my kids were toddlers. Now they are school age kids

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author avatar Butterfly38
13th Jul 2015 (#)

All my children are school age too. However, we often forget that even school age children can put themselves in danger around the house, so 'safety' is a very strict topic for us in our house.

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author avatar Carol Roach
18th Jul 2015 (#)

this indeed a great article.

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