Words: Stephenie Chan | Editor: Zoe Mason
From when babies start to crawl around, they are likely to harm themselves. It is important for us to be aware of the potential dangers around our own home and to remove them as far as we possible can – tabletops and cupboards are no longer beyond reach for the little explorers!
1. Make bath-time a safe time!
- The water temperature in a bath for a baby should be around 35-37 degrees Celsius – do an elbow test or use a thermometer to ensure this
- Hot water is capable of causing a serious scald in just five seconds – Run cold water into the bath first, then gradually add in hot water
- Put a non-slip mat in the bath
- Fill the bath just enough to reach your baby’s legs
- Never leave your baby unattended at any time
2. Take all necessary measures to prevent choking, strangulation and suffocation
- It can only take 20 seconds for a toddler to suffocate – tie up dangling cords from curtains and blinds
- Do not use clothing with drawstrings
- Store any plastic bags away to avoid suffocation
- Check every accessible area to get rid of any small objects that they could put in their mouths and choke on, especially in their bed while they are sleeping
3. Prevent falls
- Never leave your baby alone on high up surfaces, such as beds
- Take away any large toys that they can climb on to get out of their cot
- Install window guards on windows, while making sure that you are able to open them quickly in cases of emergency
- Babies’ movements can be sudden – change their nappies on the floor
- Hold on tight to the handrails while walking down the stairs with your baby
4. Preventing Poisoning
- Never put household chemicals into unmarked or old food containers
- Keep handbags out of their reach, as they can possibly hold harmful substances!
- Lock up the potential toxic items such as cleaning agents
- Remove flowers or plants that are poisonous from the garden and make sure they do not put plants into their mouths
5. Day-to-Day Practices
- Keep a well-equipped infant first-aid kit in the house
- Young children do not have a reflex to pull away from anything that is burning them – put away electrical appliances, especially irons and kettles that can potentially cause burns
- Use a secure fireguard if you have an open fireplace
- Your hot drinks can scald your baby in 15 mins – do not leave or drink any around them!
- Keep anything sharp or fragile such as knives and scissors well out of their reach
- Use rubbish bins with childproof lids
- Keep your hair straighteners away; straighteners retain heat and can still burn 15 mins after you switch them off!
These are only a guideline to provide an idea of ways to baby-proof your home – while there are a lot more to add to the list, there is frankly no such thing as a totally baby-proof environment.
While doing all of the preventions, it is also important to teach your baby about dangers by using warning words and actions and eventually they will learn not to run into troubles themselves!