When a baby, being the healthy inquisitive child you have always wanted him or her to be, starts experimenting, problems arise in every household. The first crawl takes him or her straight to the electric plug. The minute you plunge to create distance between baby’s fingers and plug, she heads for the glass shelf with your great grandmother’s collection of porcelain thimbles. Before you even register her intent and catching you in mid-scream, she decides not to pull that over her head, as she notices the gleaming light of the PC tower beneath your desk. Obviously, she heads to check that out.
In three minutes flat you have discovered that your entire living room needs a serious reshuffle to make it not just safe for baby, but also a space where you can rest in peace of mind. Some guidelines of what babies usually dive for when they start crawling and walking might assist you as you re-assemble furniture:
Electric wires and computer cables
These long serpentine things may be dull black or white coloured and a mere necessity for you, but for a baby they are something to dig their teeth into, pull at and twirl round their neck. Raise the wires and cables well above floor level and well out of reach. PC towers must be placed where baby can’t reach.
Electric plugs and sockets
Holes in the wall (not of the money making kind), these are neatly placed to let babies poke a finger in and perhaps try two or more just to check what fits. Great for electrocutions, these contraptions should be shielded with appropriate socket covers that fit firmly in. Don’t try to hide them behind armchairs… Babies have a neat way of finding hidden objects – it just adds to the challenge.
Remove breakables from baby’s line of vision. Some parents decide to brave it all, insisting that baby will have to get used to the big vase in the corridor or the flower pot with the decade-old begonia. It is likely that baby will pull the vase over the cat and prune the begonia to its death. Worse still, the vase may end on baby’s head and the begonia may end up in her stomach.
So, just play safe. The vase can come back out of hiding when baby has more sense, and the begonia can bask happily if you place it above baby’s eye and reach level.
Gates at staircases
Fit gates at the bottom and top of staircases for obvious reasons. Do not make do with makeshift contraptions and then show baby how to shove them to the side. Babies watch you closer than you think.
Cupboards and dangerous products
Babies are curious creatures, so closed cupboards will not dissuade them from opening to discover the mysteries within. Unless you can lock bottom cupboard doors in bathrooms and kitchens especially, it would be very wise to remove dangerous items from them.
Food, toiletries, perfumes, medicinals, washing/polishing/cleaning products, paints… All such items should be stored in cupboards which infants cannot get to. The most likely accident would be for baby to ingest a dangerous chemical or medicine or to damage skin or eyes with corrosive chemicals. Even your teenager’s nail varnish could cause serious complications.
Burning elements and fans
Keep babies away from open fireplaces, wood burning stoves, cooking stoves, radiators, fans and anything with a motor in it. Sounds complicated?
Babies and elevated spaces
And last but not least, never, ever leave a baby unattended when he or she is atop of a bed, a changer, a sofa, an armchair or any elevated space.
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