So you’ve got a baby on the way — congratulations!
Whether you’re riding the bumpy wave of the first trimester or just a month away from welcoming your little one to the world, there’s no time like now to prepare your home for baby. You’re already faced with so many big decisions in this time, like choosing a name, so we’ve made it simpler than ever to start baby proofing your home from ceiling to floor.
Guest post – Steve Hutchings, Electric Express
Whether it’s an apartment or a house you call home, here are some effective baby proofing hacks to get started.
The 5 simple steps to making your apartment ‘baby proof’
1. Baby gates – your new best mates
Ask any parent — the days of your beautiful baby sitting idle will fly by, and before you know it, your little one’s turned into a crawling, walking, and eventually, climbing critter.
Baby gates will become your best friend! They’re not just for curbing your kid’s career as an escape artist. It’s crucial for protecting them, by keeping them and their curious hands far away places where potentially hazardous items like cleaning products and medicine live — such as the kitchen, staircases, cupboards, the garage, the laundry and the bathroom.
2. Watch out for the windows
We all love a healthy breeze, especially during the summer months. However, the good ol’ flyscreen just doesn’t make the cut for complete protection. Over 50 children in Australia each year suffer serious injuries from falls, related to balconies, windows and fly screens.
Fortunately, there are new laws meaning:
“Owners corporations in NSW must have window safety devices installed on all above ground windows by 13 March 2018.” — NSW Fair Trading
It’s more important than ever to know your rights, in particular when it comes to rental properties. Though it’s common to face limitations in the way you’re allowed to modify your home, where appropriate and thorough discussion with your landlord — the law grants you certain rights to implement safety measures.
For the greatest safety measures, ensure your children are always supervised, and consider installing new products for all of your windows. Install new fly screens that are certified to prevent falls or bars that are no greater than 12.5 cm apart.
With a baby on the way, it may be time to hold your horses when it comes to certain furniture and electronics — you don’t want them falling in your home! IKEA launched a safety campaign around falling furniture, after a string of fatalities related to flatpacked drawers toppling over. Cupboards and bookcases can cause serious problems, should they be insufficiently secured to the wall, along with large TVs that are on low tables within reach of children.
The first step to a safer home is dusting off that rusty old tool box and fixing your furniture to the wall where necessary. Wall mounting your TV is also a great option, since it’s out of reach of many kids and won’t topple over.
In the case of restrictions in what you can modify, it’s crucial to explore your rights and begin a conversation with your landlord. Reasonable modifications for the children’s safety is of high importance and is protected by the law. Of course, a simple way to minimise risk of falling furniture altogether is by purchasing low set and wider furniture that won’t topple as easily.
4. Plastics, not always your pal
At the end of the day, not all plastic is made equal. In fact, some of the most common plastics around the home contain lurking nasties — and it’s not just the takeaway containers you should be eyeing up. Styrofoam coffee cups, clear plastic cutlery and even certain bibs may contain less-than-favourable chemicals, so it’s good to familiarise yourself with which plastic codes are safe to use, especially around children.
For example, the safer choices for your family include plastics coded 1, 2, 4 or 5. In comparison, the following codes may cause harm following reuse or excessive use.
- Code 3 – PVC
- Code 6 – Polystyrene
- Code 7 – BPA, Polycarbonate, bioplastic, acrylic and other
Make sure to check and swap out those plastics as soon as you can! Silicone and glass remain too reliable and safe options.
5. Go into “lockdown”
Curiosity, it’s one of the cutest traits of your kids as they discover the world — and you get to join them for the ride! On the other hand, curiosity can put your little one in trouble, should their wandering hands discover any cleaning products or other hazardous household items left lying around.
Placing child proof locks on all your cupboards within reach of your baby is a good start to protecting them. Anything from sharp gardening equipment to your medicine cabinet can become a labyrinth. Don’t forget to hideaway your electronics while you’re cleaning — just in case your baby’s got a serious case of the munchies and wants to nibble on everything in sight (which is all the time!). Remember to store away your electronic devices, like iPads and chargers, tidy away those loose cables and add plastic plug covers to all your electric sockets.
Bringing your baby into the world is a weird, wild, and wonderful time, full of new experiences and a whole heap of questions. What are your tips and experiences for every parent to be?