Recently found out you’re expecting a baby? Congratulations! This is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. One of your first jobs as a new parent is to prepare your home for the newest member of your family. This includes setting up a place for baby to sleep, buying clothes, diapers, and blankets, and fully renovating and babyproofing your home to make it safe.
In the first few months of your child’s life, they won’t need that much space and can thrive as long as they’re under your watchful eye. However, once they gain more independence and can scoot, crawl, and pull themselves up, there are many things in your home that could pose a risk to their safety. That’s why babyproofing is so important.
What is Babyproofing?
Babyproofing (and childproofing) is the act of making changes to your home that make it a safer environment for babies and young children. It encompasses everything from putting up baby gates to installing safety devices on existing furniture. Everything, from the window coverings to the cabinet design should be examined with a young child’s safety in mind.
In Canada, roughly 390 children die every year from unintentional injuries, many of them caused in and around the home. Making these safety changes is incredibly important. Accidents can happen in a moment, and you don’t want to have to worry about your child’s safety 24/7 when you’re exhausted and sleep-deprived.
To help you get a better sense of what home renovation tasks you may need to tackle before your baby’s arrival, here is a rundown of the most important child-related safety features for your home.
1. Cord Management
Before you had children, you likely didn’t think too much about cords in your home. Once you start babyproofing, you’ll realize that not only are cords strewn everywhere, they’re all very easily accessible to a child.
It’s critically important to manage cords, including electrical and internet cables, and any cords attached to your window coverings. Investing in cordless window coverings is a great way to eliminate all cords from your windows. Many models can be operated with a button, or even using Bluetooth technology.
2. Window Guards
If you have windows that open, make sure to install window guards. Otherwise, active children without any awareness of danger could climb up and easily fall out. The standard screen that comes with windows will not hold the weight of a child. Most window guards look like bars that snap into place over the open window. There are also child-proof window locks, which are separate pieces of equipment that prevent windows from being opened without your knowledge.
3. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is incredibly important for any home. Most homes come with smoke detectors, but carbon monoxide detectors aren’t always standard. Before you bring your child home, use this as an opportunity to double-check your safety detectors, install new batteries, or even upgrade to a smart model that you can monitor and control from your phone.
4. Anti-Scald Device
Babies and young children have very thin, delicate skin that can burn in a matter of moments. They should never be exposed to water hotter than 100°F/37°C. Before you bring baby home, test your tap water to make sure that it never reaches higher than 100°F/37°C.
Depending on your water heater, you may be able to set it to a maximum safe temperature. If your water heater doesn’t allow these modifications, you can install anti-scald devices on your faucets.
5. Electrical Outlet Safety Covers
Curious crawlers love to explore, and electrical outlets are the perfect size for small babies’ and toddlers’ fingers. If your child is under the age of six, you should have electrical outlet safety covers installed on all wall outlets. You can easily find rigid plastic plug-in options for less than $5 per dozen, or opt for a more discrete and attractive self-closing cover that may take a few more minutes to install.
6. Child-Resistant Door Handles
Child-resistant door handles and door lever locks are the best way to ensure that toddlers and young children are not able to open doors on their own. These devices may be annoying to parents, but they ensure that adventurous children cannot leave the house without you noticing. Most of the locks, levers, and handles can be installed without a drill, and will not damage your doors or walls.
7. Furniture Anchor Points
By the time toddlers start using furniture to pull themselves up, parents should ensure that every movable piece in their home is anchored securely to the wall. Desks, cabinets, bookshelves, and TVs are all the most common culprits for tip-over injuries in young children. If your furniture didn’t come with an anchor, you can purchase generic furniture anchors and use them to securely attach heavy pieces to the wall.
8. Baby Gates
Baby gates are only really necessary once your child starts crawling. However, try and purchase them beforehand, so you won’t have to worry about ordering and installing them while managing an active infant.
Baby gates come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and should be placed at the top and bottom of stairs, and in the doorway of rooms that may contain hazards like the kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom. Depending on the layout of your home, you may also want to install a baby gate in front of an external door, so you can leave it open for airflow without worrying about your child getting out.
Come to Duby’s Home Centre for More Babyproofing Advice
As a family-run business, we know all about the excitement and nerves that come when you add children to the family. Before you start your babyproofing journey, come in to Duby’s Home Centre for advice on what products we’d recommend. From flooring to window coverings, there are lots of ways to make your home safer for your child.