Baby, Toddler
4th Nov 2020

Baby proofing: the act of preparing your home for your new bundle of joy. But, did you know that once your bub starts to crawl (around the 6-10 months mark), you’ll need to baby proof once more – this time with locks, latches and safety gates?

The first time your little one crawls is undoubtedly an exciting milestone for any parent, indicating their healthy development and the first little glimpse of independence.

With their newfound mobility and inherent curiosity comes the need to review your home’s safety and you might like to consider these five steps to get you started.

Keep Drawers and Cupboards Locked and Latched

You might not have given much consideration to the contents of your drawers and cupboards beyond convenience. But, with a little one on the move it’s important to keep certain household objects out of reach.

Obviously, the areas that you choose to keep locked or secured with a child-proof latch are at your choosing. However, some areas you may want to pay special attention to while baby proofing include:

  • Kitchens: to keep utensils, crockery and cutlery as well as food or cleaning products out of your child’s reach
  • Bathrooms: to secure grooming, shower, and cleaning products.
  • Bedrooms: particularly bedside drawers, dressers and cupboards

Safety latches can help prevent little hands from gaining access to common household items like medicines, cleaners, matches or even sharp cooking utensils.

When shopping, look for safety latches that are simple enough for you to use while also being sturdy enough to withstand a determined, inquisitive child! There is an array of options on the market, so keep an eye out for those that are easy enough for you to navigate as the parent, but still tricky enough that your little one won’t be able to unlock them.

Top tip: Keep products with child-resistant packaging or lids out of reach in a locked cupboard for peace of mind.

Keep Stairs and Some Rooms Off-Limits

Safety gates are a common tool in many parent’s baby proofing arsenal. Due to their versatility, they can be used to keep your curious tot away from hazards such as stairs as well as out of rooms you may not want them crawling into (think garages, the laundry, and even your bedroom).

When purchasing a gate, look for one that can’t be dislodged by your child but that you find easy enough to open and shut. For the top of stairs, use gates that screw to the wall and meet current safety standards.

Choose The Right High Chair

Although your little one may not be crawling around when confined to their highchair, as their weight and movement increase it may be time to reconsider their high chair.

The ACCC recommends looking for a sturdy, wide-base. This is important to help with stability as the highchair may become top-heavy due to your little one’s weight.

A five-point harness is another safety feature to look out for as the shoulder straps keep your child’s torso from falling forward and may help prevent them from wriggling out altogether. You can read more of the ACCC’s recommendations here.

Other things to consider when assembling your child’s highchair include:

  • Place the highchair away from areas where your child may be able to reach for dangerous or breakable items
  • Ensure the highchair is away from any hard surfaces your child can push against, as this may cause the chair to become unsteady or potentially tip over.
  • Store the highchair out of reach and sight when it’s not in use, so your little one doesn’t attempt to scale the chair. For hook-on chairs, clamp them securely onto a table that won’t tip over with ease.

Keep Electrical Plugs and Outlets Out of Reach

As your little one begins to crawl or take their first steps, they may become more inquisitive with what’s around the home. Wall sockets and electrical appliances are important areas to cover during your baby proofing sweep.

Turn off electrical outlets when not in use and put safety plugs or outlet covers over them to keep curious fingers out of harm’s way. If you haven’t got any on hand, you can block your little one’s access to the outlet by covering it completely with a piece of furniture, like a couch or bookshelf.

Similarly, keep electrical cords safely concealed behind furniture or use a cord hiding device, such as a cable cover or cable management box.

Ensure other household items like toasters, hairdryers and kettles are unplugged when not in use and out of reach from prying hands.

Conduct a Toy Audit

Pay attention to the labels of toys indicating the appropriate age for use, and when unboxing the toy remember to throw away all packaging before handing it over to your child to play. When doing so, check for loose or removable parts that may present a choking hazard.

If toys become damaged, repair them before returning them to your little one or, if you feel it’s appropriate, throw them away.

Child proofing your home is yet another necessary step in curating a safe and loving environment for your little one to grow up in. While it’s perfectly normal for your child to explore and play at home, trying to maintain an environment that won’t cause them harm may help your peace of mind that they are less likely to become injured.

Have you found this information useful? If so, you may enjoy the following:

This Is Why Play Is Important For Your Child’s Healthy Development 

What Is The Nesting Instinct And Why Is It Important

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