How to childproof your home
Tips to keep your little one safe
It’s crucial to think about the safety of your home – whether you’re about to give birth or just getting used to the idea of having a baby. We’ve all heard of ‘baby proofing. But what exactly does this mean?
You don’t have to put blankets and pillows everywhere in case your baby falls. Childproofing your home is one way to ensure that your little one can move and play in a safe environment.
We don’t know this baby personally – but look how cute!
Experts recommend preparing your home about three months before the baby arrives. And if the baby starts to crawl, you basically have to do it all over again.
It may feel like it will take years for your little one to start moving on their own, but trust us, you’ll be really glad you made sure your home is safe in time.
Fire extinguishers, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Now is the time if you haven’t installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors yet.
Make sure there is at least one smoke detector on each floor. Install them in every bedroom, and if you have a basement, don’t forget to put one there too.
And what about carbon monoxide detectors? According to the Consumers’ Association, you should hang one in the room where your central heating boiler is located, in the bedrooms, and possibly in the living room and study.
Smoke detectors are generally suspended from the ceiling, while carbon monoxide detectors should be placed at knee height. Carbon monoxide mixes with the air in the house and does not rise.
It can also be used as modern art.
Fire is terrible for any home, but it is especially concerning when children are involved. Even a quickly extinguished fire can cause an awful lot of damage, not to mention how unhealthy the smoke is for your newborn’s tiny lungs. It is smart to buy a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it.
Fun fact: if you have a smoke detector or fire extinguisher, many insurers will give you a discount on your home contents att insurance.
You can also buy smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors these days. You will then receive a message via an app on your mobile if the danger has been detected. This way, you can act faster, and you are always aware of what is going on at your home – you will also receive these notifications when you are not at home.
Update your home
Most homes built before 1970 have lead paint on the walls, door frames, stairwells, and baseboards. If you live in a house or apartment building in the early or mid-90s, you should check that lead paint has indeed been used in your home. You can have the paint tested, and if it tests positive, you can have the paint removed.
The lead in the paint can be harmful not only to yourself but also to your baby. Exposure can cause serious medical conditions.
Old fireplaces can also be dangerous. So get a fire-resistant fence or close the place for a few years until the kids are big enough.
Hot radiators are also risky for little hands. You can put something in front of the heating (the sofa or a gate). But if you have some patience and time, you can also consider building or buying a custom radiator housing.
Vertical heating pipes can also get red hot and are therefore very dangerous. The best way to hide the heating pipes is with a wooden profile. This is safe and also looks neat.
Cover sockets and wires
Electricity accidents happen more often than you might think. Once your little rascal has learned to grasp with his hands, he/she will love to put anything and everything into the tiny holes in the outlet.
Protect the sockets in places that your child often comes or can easily reach, such as close to the floor and in, for example, the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms. Most sockets can be covered with a child-resistant wall socket. This covers the opening of the socket so that little fingers cannot get in.
Small children also find cables very interesting. You can stick it firmly to the floor with tape. Gorilla Tape is very strong and is available in different colors (also transparent!). You can also buy a cord cover that hides the plug and part of the cord so they can’t be pulled from the outlet.
Once your curious crawling baby discovers that cabinets and doors open and close, there’s no stopping it.
Lemonade’s Head of New Channels, Jared Kutner, has happy advice:
“Assume everything your baby can reach becomes a toy. Keep your valuables out of reach (preferably on a wall-mounted piece of furniture that cannot fall over). My wife learned this when her engagement ring was lost, which led to an hour of extreme panic.”
And of course, it is not only valuables that are attractive to the little ones. They are interested, well, just about everything. The 15-month-old baby of Lemonade’s Product Line Manager Roy Confino discovered the toilet, put his arms in the bowl up to his elbow, and completely disassembled the toilet cleaner under the toilet rim.
Caught in the act
The solution is to buy locks – from toilet lid locks to magnetic lock systems for cabinets and child-resistant light switches.
Adina Eckstein, COO of Lemonade, has an innovative solution to counter children’s natural instincts to explore and destroy.
“We bought a lot of craft kits for the children to simulate demolition. For example, they demolish their own toys instead of our house.”
Secure heavy objects
Once the baby starts crawling around on its own, you should actually get on all fours and take a good look around what you see from his/her point of view.
Anything that can fall is a potential hazard to the baby, so start by securing the TV to the wall. You can also buy anti-tilt straps that anchor heavy objects such as bookshelves to the wall.
And if you’re already lying on the floor and pretending to be a baby, immediately pay attention to sharp corners and edges of, for example, the coffee table and your TV cabinet. You can easily protect these with some corner protectors.
Don’t skip the garden.
We often worry so much about the inside of our house that we overlook the garden or balcony altogether. Some things pose a clear risk (such as a fountain or inflatable pool, for example), but other dangers are less obvious.
If you like to play in the garden or on the balcony, think about creating places where your child can make a soft landing. There may already be grass in the yard, but if not, some green grass is a good idea to soften the fall. You can also put down a puzzle mat for your baby to roll and crawl on.
Watch out, little toddler
Do you have a green garden? We’d love to see that! But look closely (or have an expert take a look) to make sure there are no poisonous mushrooms, poisonous plants, or thorny plants within reach.
Of course, all these preventive measures can help minimize accidents outdoors, but a watchful eye is always necessary.
Install security bars for windows
Unfortunately, it happens more often than we would like. Children are falling out of the window. Fortunately, this is very easy to prevent. The easiest way is to buy window locks. In newer houses or apartments, child-resistant locks are usually already built-in, but if not, they are easy to install.
Window locks are not the only way to secure your windows. There are several options:
- Window bars. The window bars serve as security for your child and as a deterrent to potential thieves. Win-win!
- A gap holder. This holder ensures that the window cannot open more than 10 cm. The window can still open all the way, but this requires a preliminary operation that is too complicated for little ones.
Prepare your pet!
Babies can be quite a shock to your four-legged friend. Even the sweetest pet can react strangely to a new baby. You will spend a lot more time with the new baby, and this can make your pet feel a little neglected. Sometimes even before the baby is born.
Start exposing your pet(s) to babies and children before the baby is born. Also, let them get used to the new stuff and smells. Take your cat or dog into the nursery, and let them smell the baby lotion and the blankets. Experts even recommend taking the empty stroller with you when you walk the dog!
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
When it comes to child safety, literally no one does it perfectly 100% of the time. Accidents do happen. This does not mean you are a failure.
Ultimately, however, childproofing your home is a smart way to alleviate some of those major concerns. So you can worry about the little things, like the strange colors of your baby’s stools.