Being a parent is a wonderful life journey. Each stage is filled with many happy moments and an equal amount of challenges. As we grow and learn with our children, we also discover their amazing abilities to get into nooks and corners, do things we would least expect them to do, and stumble and learn as they go. But some lessons are harder to learn than others. Lessons related to safety are especially hard to teach.
At every stage, parenting involves keeping our children safe. You need a watchful eye in the playground, a careful hand at home, and a prayer when they are away from sight. There are several things that are beyond our control… we can’t control the weather but we can help our children gain immunity with the right foods. Similarly, there are many objects lying about in our homes that we don’t think of as child hazards, until we get down on all fours and see the world from their point of view.
Though you can trust your child to discover a new mischief each day, baby proofing your home can give you much needed peace of mind. Here are some tips to childproof your home:
For children, the entire house is their playground. Whether you live in a three bedroom flat or a country style house with a sprawling garden, children between the age of 2 and 5 spend their time trying to discover new toys around the house. It could be a new pen, kitchen utensils, their father’s shoes or even vegetables. Though it is difficult to keep them engaged all day, you can try creating a child safe ‘play corner’ in your home. Cordoned off with a soft plastic fencing and a soft carpet or mat for them to sit and play, you can fill the area with their toys
For mothers who are taking care of their child alone during the day, the play corner also becomes a moment’s sanctuary where they can leave their child while they hurry back from the bathroom—home safety and child proofing in one go.
Tip: Keep a bunch of toys tucked away from sight. When you want your child to spend time in the play corner, simply bring out the old toys and take a moment’s break while they rejoice in rediscovering their lost treasures! Rotate all toys in this fashion.
If you have a little Picasso in the making in your home, the entire house becomes their canvas. The moment they have a crayon in hand, the little ones start painting every corner of your home except for the drawing paper you gave them!
To keep them from doing this without limiting their creativity, you can try using chalkboard paint. Erasable, washable and durable, this paint is a neat parent’s dream come true! These days, chalkboard paints come in a variety of colours and can be used in any part of your child’s room. Just make sure that the painted area is low and large enough for the tiny tots to reach, as they grow. You’ll need to keep a clean damp cloth or paper towel handy to wipe the drawings off. Get inspired by this fun room designed by Design Interior Olga Mudryakova, interior architects from Russia.
Tip: Use chalkboard paint in the kitchen to display your day’s menu, and messages and reminders when you are not around!
Regular home furniture poses several child hazards. Particularly, sharp corners can cause serious injuries. Coffee tables, drawer racks, and planters all come in a height that can hurt a child who is learning to walk. If these items are light, the child could even pull it over themselves when they fall!
Unless you want to buy new furniture, the best thing to do is have the existing furniture fitted with corner cushions. These are easy-to-install, non-toxic, flame resistant, and lend a neat finished look. If you are not so concerned with appearances and want a quick baby-proofing fix, you can also tape towel pieces to each corner.
Tip: Stick the tape well so that your child doesn’t discover the corner of the tape he or she can pull out.
TVs are designed to draw attention and as far as little ones go, they can open up a whole new world for them. TVs can provide a moment’s respite to tired parents while they keep a watchful eye on their child. To childproof your TV start by removing all objects and decorative items from your TV stand. Mount the television on your wall or anchor it securely with screws.
Next, create room for your remote on a rack above your television’s height and away from baby food droppings and saliva. Straighten up the cords near the television and keep them at a height away from your child’s reach.
Tip: You never know when your little one will have a growth spurt and the location you thought was just out of his reach may suddenly become accessible. So keep your child safe and choose your anchor locations a little higher than you think.
Carpets are a great way to keep your child cushioned from the numerous falls he or she may experience around your home. But carpets also tend to pose a hazard, catching a child’s feet on the edge and tripping them over. If you really want a carpet, it is better to go for a full area rug that will keep the floor smooth and edges out of the way.
Tip: Go for a dark coloured rug as it will inevitably get stained by food or paint!
Children are attracted to bright colours and so it is easy to fill your kid’s room with vibrant shades. All furniture in your child’s room should have smooth corners. If you have a bunk bed, it should have extra reinforcement around the edges so that your child doesn’t fall while sleeping. Add a door slam guard, electrical outlet covers, rubber foam mats, high wall lights and shelves to keep your child safe as they grow.
Childproofing is an art for each parent, though following a common set of rules can make the task a little easier. After you adopt the above steps, take a minute to set your medicine cabinet straight and keep all your first aid kits handy. And get ready to have the time of your life!
For more inspirations, take a look at this ideabook – 10 ways to make your kitchen child friendly.