When you designed your custom home, having a family might have been in the back of your mind as you chose your layout and the number of bedrooms. Once you actually bring baby home, you start looking at your home’s interior from a whole different angle. There is no substitute for constant supervision when it comes to babies and toddlers. But here are a few tips for keeping young children safe at home.
Advantages of Open Concept
If your home has an open concept layout, you’ll have a much easier time keeping an eye on young children while you are in the kitchen or dining area. Open concept spaces give children room to roam, which is a huge bonus once they can manage steps on their own. While the kids are in the crawling phase or just learning to stand and walk, portable play yards and other indoor gates or fencing can be used to establish an indoor play area and to barricade steps. There are also lots of sturdy gate options that can be attached to walls, opened by adults when needed, and easily removed when the kids are older.
Keeping kids away from anything sharp, hot, or poisonous is an important, and pretty obvious, tip once little ones start moving and climbing. If your kitchen doesn’t have out-of-reach cabinet space or a pantry with high shelves, you’ll need to either remove cleaning products or install safety latches on the cabinet door hardware. Get in the habit of cooking on your stove’s rear burners, and make sure pot handles aren’t turned toward the front of your cooktop where a child could reach up and grab them. Keep your dishwasher closed and latched when not in use, and place knives and forks sharp side down when loading.
Living Area Safety
If it’s fireplace season, put up a gate or barricade to keep young children away from a wood fire or hot surfaces, and never leave them unattended in a room with a fire going. Add corner guards to sharp coffee tables and other furniture your child could fall into. Make sure window treatments don’t have cords dangling within a toddler’s reach, and move furniture away from windows or places you don’t want children to reach. Attach bookshelves and televisions firmly to the wall so they can’t topple over. Consider wrapping, taping, or otherwise corralling any cords from lamps and electronics so they aren’t tempting for a crawling baby to grab.
Keep Calm and Think Small
At first, it can be overwhelming to think about all of the potential hazards that the average home poses for an exploring and curious toddler. But it gets easier, just by watching your child grow and getting an idea of their personality. If your baby tends to put everything in his or her mouth, then you’ll have to take extra precautions when leaving even a purse or briefcase around that might be holding pens, batteries, coins, or other choking hazards for them to find.
It’s a good idea to start childproofing your home room by room even before they start crawling or walking. Get in the habit of putting appliances, toiletries and other hazards away so they are out of sight and reach. Spending time playing with and reading to your baby or toddler will keep them engaged and in good hands!