Home accident rates are highest among children under five years old than any other age group, the Australian Bureaus of Statistics reports. The good news is these accidents are preventable with the right precautions. Babyproofing your home is essential for keeping your child safe and happy — and the best time to do it is before baby’s arrival. Making your home a safe place early-on will give you peace of mind and time to research handy items at the best price. However, you don’t need to spend much money here. In fact, most methods of reducing the risk of accident and injury in your home are very inexpensive or even free.
Declutter and Tidy
Decluttering your home makes it easier to spot any potential safety hazards and maintain a safe environment. Get down on the floor to look for choking hazards from your child’s point of view. Get rid of any small, loose items (pins, money, marbles, game pieces, nails, and buttons) that your child may swallow. You’ll also need to find new homes for items that can be easily damaged by roaming little ones.
If you have electrical cords or wires on the ground, wrap them up and tidy them away. Adventurous children could get ahold of them and accidentally pull down the TV or DVD player they’re plugged into. Similarly, hair dryers and other electronic tools should be unplugged and stored out of reach. As for window blinds, cordless designs are ideal. Otherwise, use cord wind-ups (priced less than $10) to prevent dangling strings and minimize the risk of strangulation.
Kids explore by climbing, so it’s important to anchor freestanding furniture like shelving units, bookcases, TV’s, and dressers with safety straps. These inexpensive items are designed to hold large pieces of furniture firmly in place so there’s no risk of them toppling down. Mirrors and pictures should also be secured to walls with either mounting brackets or security hangers.
Make your home safe for curious babies by safety-proofing low-level cabinets. Move harmful household products like cleaning solution and medication to high-up places where children can’t reach them. Alternatively, attach safety latches to your cabinet doors, so they can’t be opened. Moreover, invest in a toilet lock (again, less than $10) to keep the seat down; toilet bowl water is a drowning hazard. Make sure your lock fits the shape and size of your toilet.
Get Rid of Sharp Corners
Take a look around your home and you’ll start to see just how many sharp corners and edges there are. Coffee tables, side tables, and even sofas have hard corners which are potential safety hazards. Cover these edges with baby-proof padding or, alternatively, use an old towel: cut it up, ball up the pieces, and tape them where needed.
Finally, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure about babyproofing your home, you can always get help. There are even professional baby-proofing consultants you can hire for this very job. They’ll look around your home, identify potential hazards, and inform you of adequate safety solutions within budget.