When you are a parent, safety becomes a primary concern for you and your family. After all, you have little people who rely on your entirely to keep them safe. There are so many ways in which safety can become an issue when you have children. Sometimes doing something can be a safety concern and sometimes it is not doing something that can pose a problem.
As a parent it is a minefield to try to work out what the problems might be and even then, how to resolve them. This handy guide is to help you navigate all of the different information out there, that can get so confusing. We tackle some of the biggest issues and give a little advice about them.
Most importantly they all have achievable solutions that you can easily do. Being safe may be a matter of perspective but when it comes to little ones, you cannot leave anything to chance. That does not mean the solution always has to be hard though! Most times it is about being sensible rather than needing specialist equipment.
Things Can Change or Loosen Over Time
There are so many things we take for granted, that we imagine are already safe. Sometimes it is important to question things more closely. Oftentimes it is just a check to verify all is well. Certainly, when it comes to buying products that involve children, they have to meet quality standards.
However, things can change or loosen over time. For example, pacifiers can become loose after many washes, so it is worth checking these on a regular basis. Just like a cup getting chipped and harboring germs, the same can be said of baby bottles. Most of the time though, once you have made a safety adjustment, you can be relatively reassured that issue is fixed. Like with the pacifiers, you may need to do checks but these may be regular or occasional and it will entirely depend on the item you are using.
Make Your House Safe
Home. Your sanctuary. The place you come back to, that you can rely on every day. However, this is the place that you and your kids will find the most safety challenges. This is not because you are a bad person and you don’t do things in a safe way! It is simply because it is where you all spend the most time. Whether there is just you and baby in the household or two parents with five kids, no home is geared just to kids and therefore there will be some automatic hazards.
For example, unless you live on the ground floor, there are likely to be some stairs in your child’s life. These are so appealing to little kids and babies to fly up and down, but they are steep and hard should they have a fall. Baby gates are an affordable way to keep them off the stairs and even out of rooms that are not safe. Choose pressure mounted to avoid damage to walls or screw in versions for a tight fit.
Let Them Sleep Safe
There are a few items that are mainly concerning babies rather than bigger kids. Research has shown it is safest to place babies on their backs to sleep. When thinking about putting baby to sleep try to minimize entirely what is in their cot with them. After all, although both younger and older babies can pick things up, they don’t have the ability to decide it is a danger to them and move it to somewhere safe.
Therefore, items like toys and bottles should not be within their cot. Equally, thick covers, pillows and bumpers can all be a hazard to babies, so keep these for when they are older. Blankets are fine for babies and can be tucked in firmly to stop the blanket going over their head, or you may prefer to use sleeping bags. Also avoid putting their cot next to a radiator as they are not able to regulate their body temperate and cannot move away if they get too hot.
Baby Monitors: A Great Tool for Safety
Baby monitors are such a popular item with parents and it is now the norm to have one. There are so many different types and choosing one that fits in with your needs as a parent is so important. Do you want to hear them, see them or have a sensor for their movements? Or all of the above? Is it OK with a cord or does it need to be rechargeable?
It often depends on the size of your space, whether you have other children and how much money you want to spend. In the end, there is a product out there that will meet your needs. Windows are an important consideration both for older babies and kids. Best to avoid putting cots and beds near windows.
However, if this is not possible then a window lock that reduces the opening capacity will be so important. Babies, toddlers and young kids are all slight and an open window can be a true hazard. Equally if you have blinds, ensure the looped cord is short or kept fully out of reach as they tend to hang at the perfect height for little necks.
Stay Safe: Danger Is Everywhere!
To kids, anything could be a food or drink. When they are little they don’t know the difference between a laundry liquid tablet and a sweet for example. Keep anything hazardous either out of reach or in a locked cupboard. That goes for cleaning materials as well as medicines. Perhaps putting a child lock on one cupboard would keep all of these together and out of harm’s way.
Also, don’t forget your handbag if you have medicines in there too. Your furniture can also pose an issue. What might have been OK before you had kids might be a danger now. Can your bookcase be pulled over if your baby climbs up it. What about that closet, if your toddler opens all the drawers? Attaching them to the wall will guarantee safety and with both metal and woven strips on the market, you can choose the piece that best suits your furnishings.
Hide Electric Components For Safety
Think about your sockets. They might be small but so are little fingers and outlet plug covers hide them perfectly. They are such great items and easy to use. Wires and cords can be tricky for anyone. So easy to trip over, especially for little feet. Perhaps place them under rugs or around the sides of the room. Cable ties can help keep them in a bunch too.
Check Their Rooms
Have you thought about your kid’s bedroom? A lot of kids love bunk beds and high sleepers but they come with a few issues. They are easy to fall from, but these can be avoided by letting your kid know in advance what could happen and telling them what they need to do to be safe. Slips from bunk bed ladders are accidental, but they can be avoided with anti-slip treads. Show them how to use the ladder safely and this should avoid any little problems!
The Kitchen Trap
The kitchen involves quite a lot of potential problems. One of the easiest ways to avoid them all is to pop a baby gate on the kitchen. However this isn’t always possible. If not, then you might want to install a lip on the stove to prevent little hands reaching up to the hot pans. You can also get an oven lock to stop them opening it when it is hot.
There are cabinet locks and fridge locks too. It is very much about your own space and your own child and what is going to be needed. Most people have a kettle which is hot to the touch as well as having a hot liquid inside. Push them right back on the work surface if your little one has access to the kitchen and only boil the amount of hot water you need- a good tip for the environment too! That is up to your needs and common sense.
A front-loading washer lock can save your wet laundry going onto the floor as much as stopping your little one climbing in! Unfortunately it cannot stop them pressing all of the buttons a thousand times!
Include The Bathroom As Well
Now the bathroom may seem quite benign, but it has at least as many issues as the kitchen. It is easy to turn on most taps and a child can hurt themselves in a very small amount of water. Make sure they are never alone in the bathroom, especially in the bath.
This counts for the beach too- it only takes a few seconds for them to wander over into the water, where the floor is often uneven. Keep water shallow and use a bath thermometer to test the water temperature. If you don’t have one, dip the crook of your arm in the water. If it’s too warm to be comfortable then it’s definitely too hot for baby.
Also, place toiletries out of reach. They often smell fruity like a drink, and can make a huge mess under running water. Watch out for wet patches on the floor as it is easy to slip over and the hard exterior of the toilet is a great height for sensitive little heads unfortunately.
Not Every Place Is As Safe As Your Home
If you are going away or even going to the house of a friend it is important to remember that everything will be different. Where they put their cleaning products, how they have their wires and cables, where they put cups down. Your little one will try to take advantage of this, so check and check again.
Remember how it was for you before you had a child. Or even if they have a child, theirs might have no interest in the washer while yours loves it. The US is a country considerate of child safety, but not every country is the same. You may find on a holiday abroad that other countries place less emphasis on this.
It is up to you as a parent to make sure you are happy and if you are not, then take some precautions. Especially when you’re away, but at home too, fire safety can be an issue. Candles, matches, the iron, hair straighteners or cooking can all be a hazard so ensure your smoke alarms are in place and working.
In the garden, make sure any machinery such as a mower are kept locked away and never plugged in when finished with. The same goes for sharp cutters both big and small. Even the hose can be a trip hazard, so keep it carefully coiled and out of sight.
Swings and slides need to be kept clean and free from debris. Once assembled they may need checking for any loose parts that need tightening. If the instructions say that adult supervision is needed, then give it.
Trampolines cause a lot of childhood breakages. Ensure it has sides to stop them falling off and that the springs are covered. Read the manual and follow the instructions, so if it says only two children allowed on at one time, it is for a safety reason and is worth following.
Do Not Forget Your Vehicles
Off in the car? Many child car seats are not fitted properly. Of course this isn’t a problem until there is an accident, so it is always worth a check to ensure it is correct. Always choose the right size needed for your child and that they fit comfortably in it- especially their height. If we are thinking about younger ones then you should be able to fit two fingers under their car seat straps- no more and no less.
In addition, avoid big thick coats as not only can they overheat but the coat can compress during an accident meaning that their straps are in fact very loose and give additional room for movement. It might be quite easy to keep them safe in the car, but keeping them entertained is a whole different story!
Protection Is Key To Safety
When you are out and about there are a few different things you might want to consider. First with strollers. In time, the brakes can become loose and the wheels can slacken too. Check these and tighten them regularly. You don’t want to be relying on them only to have them stop working when you really need them.
Make sure you use the seat belt to avoid your little one trying to get up and out, and the same goes for high chairs. It looks small but it is a long way down if they fall. The bigger kids are more likely to be out with bikes, skates and skateboards. Don’t ever let them forget their helmet. An accident involving a car is very likely to end up with a dangerous head injury that may well be avoided with a helmet. Go for the knee and elbow protection pads too.
Most importantly make sure your child knows every aspect of road safety. That includes when it is safe to cross and when it is safe to be on the road, and problems will be minimized.
Think About The Natural Dangers Too!
Finally, it is time to think about the way that nature can have an effect on your little one’s safety. First and foremost the sunshine. So beautiful and lovely to play in and enjoy, but it can be so dangerous. Little ones have such thin skin that is super sensitive. Ensure that they have plenty of sun lotion on even if it doesn’t look so sunny outside. If they are going in water, ensure it is a waterproof version or they get it topped up regularly.
Give them regular breaks and drinks to avoid them getting dehydrated. Add a hat and perhaps some sunglasses to their look to offer them a greater amount of protection. UV swimsuits also offer a great boost to these. When they get bites, scrapes and scratches it pays to have a first aid kit around to dress any wound and cover them to avoid infection. A mini version of this is good to take out and that may well be more adhesive bandages and a bottle of water to clean out wounds than triangular bandages, but that is fine!
Kids And Baby Also Need To Take Risks: Always Measure Them
When you have little ones, there are so many potential problems that could occur. They could be in your home, on the street or on holiday. With so many possible issues, it is tempting to take your kid and just wrap them up in bubble wrap. However, to grow they need to play and take risks and that is all OK. The key to their safety is thinking in advance about the possible problems that could occur and then working out ways to mitigate against them and avoid the possibility of them happening.
Being considerate will go an awfully long way in protecting your child in ways that aren’t a burden on either of you. When an unexpected problem crops up then it is time to action it and move on. The fact is that you care so much for your little one and making things as safe as possible will give you true peace of mind. Then it is definitely time to give yourself a big pat on the back for everything you do for them. You are wonderful.
If you want your love ones to feels even safer, check out the Cute rascals Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Type Of Baby Blanket.