How to Baby-Proof Inside and Outside Your Home

While appropriate supervision is core to ensuring your child’s safety, it should be complemented by baby-proofing measures around the home and outdoor areas. Babies start crawling at eight months old on average, so it’s never too early to think about baby-proofing, whether you’ve just welcomed a new baby or your baby is starting to crawl or move around the house.

Baby-proofing against falls

Falls are the most common cause of injuries and admissions to hospital, so any baby-proofing strategy should address areas such as windows, stairs, and balconies.

Cribs

Always keep the drop side of the crib up and locked when you’re not close to the crib. Always use baby furniture and equipment that comply with the relevant Australian Standard.

Windows

Windows can be dangerous areas for children. Keep your windows locked and use window guards so older kids can’t unlock windows.

Railings and gates

Install railings, gates, and guards at entry points to balconies, stairs, and other similar areas, but always supervise your child around these areas even after your guards are installed. You’ll probably end up with a few railings and gates around your home, and it’s important to choose the right ones for protecting your baby. Some experts advise not to use pressure gates at the top of stairs as these can be easily pushed over.

Railings in spaces such as decks and balconies should not have gaps more than 6.5 centimetres apart, and plexiglass is recommended for the insides of gates and railings, especially if these have horizontal bars that children can easily climb on. Keep furniture away from railings and gates so your child can’t use your table or shelves to get a foothold on your gate.

Burn hazards

Be alerts to possible burn and scalding hazards, whether it’s a fireplace, a heater, your stove, or the bath. Other than keeping your child away from hot liquids and your stove and oven, you can install stove guards that prevent pans from being pulled over by a curious child. Always use a fireguard if you have a fireplace that’s in use.

Choking hazards

From bedding and toys to plastic bags and packaging, there are numerous potential choking hazards in the average home. Protect your child by properly disposing of or storing these items when not in use. Wrap curtain and blind cords in wall-secured hooks, well out of the reach of your child.

Electric cords and small appliances can be choking as well as electrocution hazards. Keep these well secured with cord organisers and get into the habit of unplugging and putting away appliances after use where possible. Never leave cords hanging from tables and benches.

Poisoning hazards

Keep medications, cleaning solutions, and any chemicals out of reach of children. Keep these stored in a high cupboard or cabinet and keep the cabinet locked. Remember that everyday items such as mothballs, vitamins, and toiletries can be poisonous hazards for small children. Other possible risks include houseplants such as philodendrons. Use rubbish bins with child-proof lids.

Toys, furniture, doors, and other risks

Use doorstops to keep little fingers safe from shutting doors, and keep knives out of reach with locked drawers or childproof drawer latches. Use edge guards on sharp table corners and other sharp edges around the house. Make sure shelves and cabinets are secured against the wall and won’t topple. Check your child’s toys regularly to ensure there’s no risk of choking or strangulation from loose buttons, ribbons, or other pieces.

It’s also important that your home’s screen doors are designed to be safe for young children – have a latch on the door out of their reach, and ensure you use the best quality product to ensure the screen doesn’t separate from the frame.

For the best screen door to suit your needs, contact the expert team at Artilux today for a quality product that will keep your family safe.

Outdoor spaces

Many parents focus on interior spaces, but it’s just as important to keep your garden and other outdoor areas safe with supervision andchildproofing measures if your child spends any time outside.

  • Soft landings – Make sure your play areas have soft ground cover such as grass, fake grass, and padded foam rather than unpadded gravel, concrete, and brick.
  • Plants – Remove toxic and dangerous plants such as poisonous mushrooms and oleander, prickly plants, and fruiting plants with pits (choking hazard). In their place plant some edible vegetables and fruiting plants that encourage your children to explore in safety.
  • Chemicals – Check that any fertilisers, insecticides, and chemicals used in your garden are safe for children and non-toxic.
  • Water – Swimming pools should be gated to satisfy local regulations, and any water features such as fountains should be bordered with secure and sufficient barriers. Never leave children unattended around water.
  • Sharp edges – Cushion sharp corners on outdoor furniture with padding and choose your outdoor furniture with active, curious children in mind.
  • Play equipment – Secure wobbling play equipment such as swings and slides with proper anchorage. These items should be checked after rain to make sure they’re still sturdy in the wet soil.
  • Garden hose – Garden hoses can be a burning hazard when exposed to sunlight on hot days. Keep your child away from hot hoses and, before use, run the water until it’s cool.

Small precautions to keep your child safe

Childproofing your indoor and outdoor spaces will minimise risks to your child, but supervision is just as important. Child-proofing is an ongoing process, so remember to keep reviewing your interior and outdoor spaces on an ongoing basis so you can quickly act to address any new risks.