10 Tips when baby-proofing your home

Our son is just a couple of weeks away from his first birthday. He’s only recently started crawling and while I was a little sad that he’d started so late, I was also really relieved because it’s given us some time to think about the dangers around our home. Our home is every parents worst nightmare! It’s designed for a couple not a family.  Or maybe for a family that has children old enough to navigate the stairs, the split levels and dangers of the 30m drop from the deck to the garden below! Needless to say our patio doors remain shut a lot of the time but with summer approaching we need to get our backsides into gear and get our home baby proofed. At one time we seriously entertained the idea of moving!

The Save-a-Child First Aid Course run by EduCare (branches nationwide) that we completed earlier this month covered the area of baby-proofing. Our instructor, Liesel Pottas, gave us a useful tip “Get down on all fours and crawl around your house. You’ll see your home from your baby’s perspective.”. Let’s face it, we’re usually down on all fours 80% of the time picking up after the little ones anyway so this should be a breeze!

Here are just a few things to think about when baby-proofing your home that are really specific to South African homes.

Pool-nets and plastic covers – don’t let these fool you into a false sense of security, watch your child at all times around any body of water. Pool-nets & plastic covers (the sheet kind) still have a lot of ‘give’ when placed over a pool which means that even just a little bit of weight could place a child in danger.

babycupboardBatteries and fridge magnets– if your child swallows one and doesn’t choke on it, don’t wait for it to pass through his/her system, no matter what SIZE it is. Batteries contain chemicals which are extremely dangerous, they can also loge themselves sideways and cause an obstruction in the bowel. Seek medical attention immediately! The same goes for fridge magnets.

Toilets / Buckets of water – never leave a little one alone in a bathroom, you’d be surprised to learn that a small child could drown in a toilet bowl as they’re top heavy and often don’t have the muscle strength to force themselves out. Keep the bathroom door closed at all times. And it goes without saying that a child should NEVER be left alone in the bath.

Bathroom Doors – make sure your little one can’t accidentally lock himself in the bathroom. It sounds stupid but this actually happens all the time. I know my little one is always around my feet playing with the door while I run him a bath.

Doors in General – many houses have doors leading from the kitchen to the garage, this should be kept closed at ALL times. You hear horror stories of children following Mom or Dad to the car and them not knowing about it and it ending very tragically.babyplug

Choke Hazards – our instructor, Liesel Pottas at EduCare gave us a good tip; if an item can fit through the hole of toilet paper holder, it’s safe to assume it could get logged in the throat of a small child.

Electrical Items / Cords – keep these out of reach and cover sockets that aren’t being used. Keep children away from items like DVD players and Decoders. Yes, it’s cute when they figure out how to switch it on and off, but not so much when they discover the cords behind these items.

Imaginary Little Friends – if your child comes to tell you that they’ve found little fairies or a magic dinosaur in the garden, check it out. It could be imaginary or it could be a hornet’s nest or something equally dangerous (poisonous snake, spiders etc.). Listen to your child.

Plants – take a walk through your garden and check-out all your plants, if you break the steam or bark from a plant or tree and there is a white milky substance there is a very good chance that the plant is dangerous and should be removed or keep a very close eye on your child if they’re near it.

Riding ‘Shotgun’ – it’s NEVER (as in EVER) a good idea to have your child sitting in the front seat of your car or on your lap if you’re sitting in the passenger seat of a car. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5 minutes from home or 25 minutes, an accident can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone. If the accident doesn’t seriously injure or kill your child then the airbag that will deploy on impact certainly will. Children should ALWAYS sit in the back, either in a car seat or secured with a seatbelt if they’re too old for a car seat.

Keep your children safe this Summer. And remember that the November winner of our competition will also receive a free Save-A-Child First Aid Course and First-Aid kit from EduCare (branches nationwide) with a combined value of R600.

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