Toddler Proofing Guide or… Things To Do Before Your Baby Crawls! (babies crawl at eight months on average, which means for many it happens earlier!)
My quick disclaimer is that these are the things I found useful and needed to do, I am not a health and safety expert, these are just my advice based on my experiences.
Around the home
Fit and test Smoke detectors
Fit and test Carbon monoxide detectors if you have gas appliances.
Install Window catches and move furniture away from windows as toddlers start to learn to climb!
If you have blinds make sure that they are cordless.
Install Safety gates/ stair gates at the top and bottom of the stairs and use them until your toddler can navigate them confidently Socket covers
Fit Cupboard catches- there are many different types, try them out and see which ones work for you in each room.
Fire guard- I found that my son grasped the concept of ‘hot’ quite early, the fireguard was there mainly to prevent toys from landing in the fire and obviously was a necessary precaution against the worst.
Get a First aid kit and book – or better yet take an infant first aid course.
Have a Medical thermometer.
Put Padding on sharp corners – since toddlers are prone to falls. Especially on a hearth, you can buy sticky padding for the edges and corners.
Artificial fireplaces often have small rocks that are tempting for toddlers to eat so they should be put away.
Fire stocking tools should also be put away.
Keep all hot drinks out of reach – create a designated spot for your tea in each room so you don’t have to think about where it will be safe in the moment.
Keep all medicines, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, scissors, nail files etc locked away or out of reach- toddlers like to explore by putting things in their mouths so this is very important!
Keep all small objects like coins, beads or jewellery out of reach too for the same reason.
Candles and matches should also be out of reach.
Photo frames should be out of reach or wall mounted so that they don’t fall and shatter over your child.
Make sure your Tv is mounted so that it doesn’t fall on your toddler as he mounts the tv stand! If you can’t mount the tv, anchor the tv stand to the wall using velcro straps and eye hooks screwed into the wall.
Power strips should be kept hidden, if you can’t hide it, then get a power strip cover.
Round, square, cylindrical or oval objects smaller than 1 inch in diameter should be kept away from children under 5years of age as they are a chocking hazard.
Make sure all battery covers are secure on all toys, remotes etc as batteries are dangerous.
If you have Glass tables make sure they have tempered glass that won’t shatter.
Buy a device that keeps doors from closing so that your child’s fingers don’t get trapped, or pop a towel over the top of the door.
Hide electrical cords behind furniture.
Never leave your baby alone in any place that they can fall from such as beds, highchairs or changing tables.
If you have railings with a gap of 6.5cm or wider then use something like plexiglass to block them.
Plan a fire escape route.
Secure freestanding furniture that can topple.
Put stickers on big expanses of glass such as sliding doors.
Be wary of toxic house plants and move them out of reach.
Bear in mind that you may need to use a variety of different types of locks and solutions around your house so that they fit and work with your space and lifestyle. I know that those fancy magnetic locks would drive me mad if I had them on my kitchen cupboards as you need the key to open them each time. Remember to let your child play and explore safely… don’t keep everything out of their reach, toys and art supplies should be reachable for instance.
Out and about
Harnesses and reins might be necessary to let your child enjoy exploring safely. I made lots of use of the reins as my son stopped using his pram quite early and wanted to wander off and walk everywhere.
Check your handbag doesn’t have any medicine or coins or other small things a toddler would put into their mouth.
Don’t carry your baby and hot food or drinks at the same time.
Buy a Non slip bath mat.
Consider rubber spout protectors so that your child cannot bump themselves on the taps and spout.
Keep all cleaning products, toiletries and medicines out of reach.
Don’t line the bin with a plastic bag as your toddler might play with this and suffocate.
Mop up any water spills after bath time so that your toddler doesn’t slip and bang his head. Toddlers are too young to break their fall using their arms.
Keep the toilet seat down and buy a latch and remind visitors to use it as toddlers are just the right height to fall into the toilet.
Keep hairdryers unplugged so that your little one can’t turn it on.
An argument can be made for physically locking away all vitamin tablets and medications to be on the safe side.
When you are filling the bath, run enough warm water to cover your babies legs, no deeper. Never leave a baby unsupervised in the bath.
Safety film over garden patio doors to shatterproof it
Cover garden ponds with a metal grills.
Put pans to the back of the hob with the handles turned in when cooking.
Fit Child safety locks on cupboards and drawers- leave one cupboard at least that they can get into and play with the contents… I left the pans and Tuppaware available for playing and even painted the doors of that cupboard with magnetic blackboard paint so he could draw and play and bash pans while I cooked. It generally worked a treat.
It’s a good idea to make the kitchen off limits when you are not there.
Check your dishwasher has a lock setting – leave knives pointing down, only put the detergent in just before turning the machine on. If it doesn’t have a lock setting then you may want to buy an appliance lock.
People pull their hob nobs off when they are not using the hob, though you can get hob guards. My solution to this when I had my kitchen done was to get an induction hob with a lock feature. Induction hobs don’t get hot unless they are on and in contact with a large enough magnetic surface, the hobs themselves generally don’t get hot enough to burn you. I was scared of our gas hobs before that, and I think a hob guard sounds like a good idea.
Ovens are also problematic! Try not to hang oven gloves from the handle as they act as a great means for a toddler to open the door. You can get an appliance lock to prevent this. I bought an oven that has a child lock so it cannot accidentally be turned on.
Try and keep counter tops clear of appliances and knife blocks as toddlers can reach them.
If your toddler can open the fridge, remember to move medicines, grapes, wine bottles and any other dangers to where they can’t be reached.
Remember not to hold your baby while cooking at the hob.
Store the highchair out of reach when not in use so that baby can’t try to climb on it.
The minute your child can sit up, it’s time to lower the cot.
Don’t have stuffed animals in bed as they are a suffocation hazard until your toddler is very mobile.
Be sure not to leave crayons out as these can be snapped in two and choked on.
Fix all furniture to the walls so that it cannot fall on your toddler as they try to climb up.
I hope you find these tips helpful and not totally daunting! How do you toddler proof your house? How to you get the cooking done? I’d love to hear from you in the comments…