Baby-proofing made easy

2 min read

First-time parents, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Your household will be free from a danger-free zone when your little one is on the move.

First-time parents need to be alert but not alarmed, says child safety expert and Dreambaby® product development director, Carolyn Ziegler.

Many first time parents don't know what to look out for when it comes to childproofing the home, what advice can you give them?

From the start, invest in blind cord wind-ups. These keep blind cords out of the reach of babies in their cots. It’s an unpleasant thought but they can get caught around children’s necks. Once children become mobile, block off power points with outlet plugs and move sharp objects, knives and poisons (including medicines) out of reach. Also, watch out for 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 dangers you’ll immediately identify.

What are some of the more obvious safety hazards in and around the home?

There are quite a few. Move medications out of reach and preferably lock them away. Keep children out of cabinets and drawers by properly securing them with child locks, and prevent doors slamming on fragile little fingers by securing them using a door stop or under-door gripper.

Are there any toxins around the home that are easy to overlook as a health hazard to children?

Plenty, including some plants in the garden and most household cleaners. Many people don’t realise the residue left by everyday cleaning chemicals, particularly while still wet, can be dangerous. Likewise, the dishwasher drawer can be toxic even after the load is finished.

What about pets?

If your pet hasn’t quite warmed to the new family member, gates that provide barriers between pet and child are also essential. Pet doors are also risk as children can get stuck in them, but they do come in different sizes, and many can now be locked so that nothing can pass through.

How can windows be secured without losing access and compromising on aesthetic appeal?

A lot of window locks are designed to blend with interiors now. There is a range of window safety solutions that work both externally and internally so do your research.

If the lounge room is the child's play area do you recommend not having a coffee table?

Choose a round-cornered table that is really solidly made and never glass. Also watch food and hot drinks you place there as they can be a hazard of their own.

What in your opinion, is the most unsafe environment in the average home?

I’ve encountered lots of unsafe environments! But laundries, kitchens and bathrooms are the areas that spring to mind the most. Block them off with gates, and move everything sharp or poisonous out of reach, block access to, and lock cabinets and drawers, and make sure taps can’t be turned on. Also be aware of areas such as the pool and front doors to the home that lead to driveways and roads.

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This information is current as at 15/08/2016.

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