Did you know that September marks baby safety month? If you’re an expecting parent, you’ve probably still got lots of work to do to prepare for their safe arrival.
Your children are only small for a little while, but during that time, they can get in to a lot of trouble if you haven’t taken the right steps to childproof the home.
Times have really changed since I raised my three kids, but now that I have grandkids, I’ve been getting up to date with the latest and greatest ways to childproof.
Here are some things I want you to keep in mind when you’re expecting.
Reducing hazards through the home
For now, your baby might not be able to crawl, but once they start, there’s no telling what kind of trouble they’ll get in to.
You’ll want to remove as many choking and tripping hazards as possible. Any blinds that have long cords to operate should be replaced. I love windows that have blinds built in to them — they work on magnets, and thus, no cords to provide a choking hazard.
When they start to move, place non-slip pad under your rugs, and make sure you’ve got safety latches on your cupboards, drawers, and toilets.
What’s the state of your home’s paint? If you’ve got a ton of peeling and flaking walls, you’ll want to add a new coat to prevent any smaller members of the family accidentally ingesting something they shouldn’t.
While you’re repainting, consider choosing a brand that features no trace amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Overtime, breathing in high amounts of VOCs can make us feel sick. Most building materials will off-gas VOCs overtime; usually the cheaper materials will contain higher amounts of VOCs. So if you’re redoing a room to build a nursery for your new arrival, be aware of this fact and opt for materials that off-gas less VOCs, and build in enough of a timeline before the baby arrives, so any VOCs that are present have time to off-gas before they breathe in those harmful fumes.
You may even want to consider having the quality of your indoor air tested for contaminants like mould and mildew — and a separate test for radon!
Stopping the shock
Turn your back for just a second, and you never know what you’ll find a baby has got themselves into. So the name of the game for a baby’s safety, is to remove any obstacles that could potentially cause harm.
Tiny fingers have a way of finding themselves all sorts of places — and one obstacle you can’t remove from a home is the electrical receptacles. To reduce the risk of electrical shock, you’ll want to ensure you have tamper-resistant receptacles installed throughout the home.
These units include a shutter which prevents foreign objects being inserted like small toys or paper clips that a young child may try to insert into the receptacle. With tamper-resistant receptacles, for there to be an electric current flowing, you need two objects to be inserted into the plug at the same time.
In many regions across the country, new code requires tamper-resistant receptacles, but if you’re in an older home, you’ll want to double check to see if you need to make some upgrades. Switching out a receptacle isn’t an expensive job (the hardware itself is only about $8 per receptacle), and some particularly handy homeowners could even do it themselves if it’s a simple enough switch. Hiring a pro to do the replacement should only cost a few hundred dollars to do the job from start to finish.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to go the extra mile just to be safe. If you can, block as many outlets as you can with furniture, or make use of safety plugs to keep open receptacles safe from little fingers.
When it’s a matter of safety, you can never be too careful. Before the baby arrives, make sure you’ve taken the time to protect them from the hazards your home could possess. There are no shortcuts when it comes to safety — so make it right for your newest arrival.