6 precautionary measures every new parent should take
As a new parent, the safety of your child will understandably be a top priority. Having little ones is a life-altering event. You might even start off with extreme paranoia about how childproof the world is. But you can easily take a logical approach to making their immediate environment safe and secure. It doesn’t need to be stressful – you’ve just got to be aware of how risks evolve as your child becomes more mobile.
If you can get ahead and take precautionary measures for safety in the home, you’ll feel more at ease when your new-born arrives. To help, we’ve gathered six steps you can take to make your home a safer place for a growing child.
1. Secure furniture
Children become increasingly inquisitive before they’re aware of surrounding hazards. As such, Vouchercloud says you’ll have to view each piece of furniture with suspicion. For example, your child will eventually see your bookcase as a heavily disguised ladder. Any piece of furniture that could be pulled over must be secured. You can use several varieties of straps and brackets to do the job, just remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
2. Consider radiator covers
The RoSPA explains it can cost as much as £250,000 to treat one severe bath water scald. But this figure doesn’t reflect the child’s suffering, or long-term costs of prolonged treatment and rehabilitation. When running a bath, always turn the cold water on first and learn to test the water temperature with your elbow. But burns and scalds can be caused by a number of things. For example, a hot drink can still scald a child 15 minutes after being made. In fact, when out and about be on your guard too. I once visited a community centre for a mother and baby event and was amazed that an organiser left a hot cup of tea so close to where the children were playing. There is a big tradition of taking babies to see your team-mates in your workplace and that is another area where burns can happen as there is so much scope for potential burns accidents in the workplace.
Radiators are also a concern. You should run your domestic hot water system at 46°C, but even this could create radiators that are too hot for children to touch. You could choose to cover radiators with towels as a temporary measure (e.g. towel radiators while your child is in the bath), or consider investing in permanent covers to put your mind at ease.
3. Buy a baby sleeping bag
Pillows and duvets aren’t safe for young children, as they pose a suffocation risk. Until they’re able to move their own weight easily, sleeping sacks are one of the best options. It’s essentially a wearable blanket that’s safe for babies to sleep in. What’s more, unlike a blanket, babies can’t wriggle out of sleep sacks – so you won’t be woken up to crying only to find your child has come out from under the warmth of a blanket. Check out the best options available here.
4. Adapt your habits in the kitchen
There are loads of safety practices you can put in place before your child is born. One of the most important is to start behaving differently in the kitchen. Hot pans and drinks are a common source of danger – so start using hobs at the back of your cooker and get in the habit of keeping hot drinks within your sight, and never near the ledge of a surface. You’re preparing for when your little one will be able to get up and reach further.
5. Look for hard edges
Look at your home through the eyes of a small child. Get on your hands and knees if you have to. Search for hard edges at their height which could easily pose a risk when they start crawling. The earlier you get these tasks done, the more comfortable you’ll feel when they start exploring.
As babies start to get more confident and develop their skills at manoeuvring, you won’t always be there to catch them if they have a tumble. But you can make sure there’s nothing sharp by protecting corners with sticky edge cushions. Again, the kitchen is one of the riskiest places – so start there.
6. Position the cot carefully
You’ve painted the nursery and carefully chosen safe accessories and toys. But where’s the safest place to put the cot?In Baby Centre’s five steps to creating a nursery, they recommend creating a safe zone around the cot by positioning it away from windows, heaters, lamps, wall decorations and cords, as well as placing any other furniture that your baby could clamber on to at a safe distance. Also be sure to check the following:
• The mattress fits in the cot snugly
• The distance between each bar is no more than 6.5cm
• The cot conforms to BS EN 716-2:2008
The temperature in a nursery should be between 16 degrees C and 20 degrees C for a baby to sleep comfortably.
What steps have you taken to improve the safety of your home for young children? Share your tips and recommendations with us.