Childproofing is important for many reasons but one of the most important is that it helps reduce the anxiety and stress around keeping little ones safe in the home. Dreambaby®’s tag line is actually ‘Growing Safely’ – what this means is that we want little ones to grow in an environment that is safe but which still allows them to develop. That’s what childproofing does – it allows kids to explore which is absolutely the way they learn – but it also gives parents peace of mind that they have reduced risk or harm to their child. Peace of mind underpins all mums’ personal wellbeing as we know – if we are in the right mental state then that underpins our entire welfare and allows the best chance for successful self-care.
What are the most important steps you can take to childproof?
Right from the beginning invest in blind cord wind-ups. They keep blind cords out of the reach of babies in their cots and from older siblings in general. Over-long cords can be very hazardous and lead to strangulation. But remember to keep cots and beds away from windows and window fittings whenever possible.
Once children become mobile, there are the obvious steps – block off power points with outlet plugs and move sharp objects, knives and poisons including medicines up and out of reach. Watch out for the sharp corners on tables. Get down on all fours and look up at the world from the point of view of a crawling child. It’s amazing the hidden dangers you will immediately identify.
What would you consider to be a potential safety hazard in and around the home?
I don’t want to scare you but there are many hazards throughout the home.
However, with preparation, a lot can be improved on safety wise. Move regular medications usually kept in the bathroom or beside your bed up and out of reach of a child, and preferably locked away. Keep children out of cabinets and drawers by properly securing them with child locks and latches. Prevent doors slamming on little fingers by securing them using a door stop or under door gripper.
What should we look out for?
We need to look out for the obvious and the hidden dangers. Remember children learn and discover the world by experiencing things and unfortunately that can sometimes mean getting hold of a knife from the drawer, or unplugging the computer, or pulling on that tablecloth – so be aware at all times. Preparation, moving things out of reach, locking things away, using a gate, keeping children within site, and only allowing your child to be supervised by a trustworthy and loving adult are all important precautions.
What about falling furniture?
Children can be crushed from falling furniture. Nowadays furniture is designed with all the features at the front for aesthetic reason but the backs are very flimsy. It’s simple physics that they topple. Always secure heavy furniture with straps or anchors. And make sure you install them correctly. You need to follow the instructions and always secure them to a solid part of the furniture and a solid part of the wall. And don’t forget about free-standing flat screen TVs – always secure them with straps. I actually did a recent interview on this topic for Studio 10 if you want to know more check it out on our home page: http://www.dreambaby.com.au
Is clutter a safety hazard?
Absolutely! It’s also a big stresser. Research has definitely proved that if we live in a cluttered environment it takes from our wellbeing. This is more and more of an issue as parents are increasingly bringing up their families in apartments to be closer to the city and jobs but clutter builds up in smaller spaces. Clutter is also a safety issue of course. Children can chew and swallow toy parts that are left lying around or trap their fingers in strollers so storage is key. Invest in a StrollAway* for a start. This is like a bike hanger for prams so you get your pram/stroller off the floor (the StrollAway fits most doors including cupboard doors) and out of harm’s way when not in use. It also reduces the stress of worrying about getting your pram stolen if you leave it outside! Toy chains are another useful item – you can hang your toys out of reach when not in use – they can also add to the decor of a nursery that way. Did you know that good aesthetics adds to a sense of calm and wellbeing?
About the Author
Carolyn Ziegler is the Co-Founder and Product Development Director of Dreambaby®, the child safety and care brand. You can learn more about her and her offerings by checking out her website: www.dreambaby.com.au