There are lots of products on the market to make your home safe for babies. Many of these items you do not need to consider until your baby is moving around, but one thing that we recommend for immediate use is a bath thermometer, which gauges your water and will indicate if it is too hot. Never leave baby alone in a bath, even for a second.
In general you will want to start battening down the hatches after your baby is six months old. Even before that they may be pulling up or crawling. They require 24-hour surveillance!!
When it comes time, teach your child their full name, address and telephone number and how to call for help using your emergency contact list (kept at a level they can access).
The following list of safety precautions is by no means exhaustive, but a good place to start:
- Maintain smoke detectors regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions
- Cover your electrical outlets and make sure all electrical outlets are grounded
- Do not use multiple cord octopus plugs because they may overheat
- Secure loose electrical cords
- Keep all appliance cords out of reach
- Clearly label switches on the electrical panel and keep panel easily accessible in case of an emergency, have right size, spare fuses on hand
- Put all household cleaners, medicines and vitamins out of reach/locked away
- Check all products for warning symbols and store them appropriately
- Make sure your blinds have safety catches
- Put covers on your door handles for out-of-bounds rooms
- Anchor all carpets
- All choking hazards (food and toys) should be kept out of reach
- Lower your crib mattress and keep the crib sides up and secure
- Do not put soft mattresses, pillows, comforters, stuffed toys or bumper pads in cribs
- Move crib away from the window
- Diaper changing products kept out of reach
- Night-lights should be placed in high sockets and away from bedding or other materials
- Bedroom doors should be closed when the family is sleeping – doors are important barriers to fire
- All family members sit quietly while eating to prevent choking
- Always cut food into child size pieces
- Cooking areas should be kept free from clutter to avoid igniting potholders or other kitchen items
- Chairs and step stools should be kept away from counters and the stove
- Mask off a ‘safe zone’ for hot areas so children know to stay away
- Glasses and bottles should be replaced with plastic
- Saucepan handles should face the back of the stove, out of children’s reach
- Matches should be stored away from the reach and sight of children
- Keep an approved all-purpose chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen
- Plastic bags should be stored in a high place; all protective plastic covers on new products should be tied in knots before disposal
- Try to keep toys collected during the day to prevent tripping accidents
- Fireplaces and wood stoves have fixed barriers around them
- Furniture should be soft and away from the windows
- Review all house and exterior plants to ensure that they are not poisonous – a number of them are. Keep out of reach.
- Glass should be replaced with safety glass
- Have properly fitted child gates installed wherever stairs are exposed
- Check the temperature of your water heater and keep it at a lower range
- Secure your toilet lids
- There should be non-slip mats in the bathroom and in the bath
- Ask pharmacists to put prescriptions in containers with safety lids
- Take medicine in private because children mirror adult behaviour
- Make sure what is in a bottle is labeled correctly
- Never leave baby alone in a bath
- Promptly dispose of hazardous goods in the appropriate manner (contact your local government for more information)
- Use seat belts and safety harnesses at all times
- Put protective barriers on balconies to prevent children from slipping through bars, watch children constantly if they are on a balcony
- Put child proof latches on all windows and balcony doors
- Remove latches from old freezers and refrigerators
- Store garbage and recycling neatly and dispose of it frequently
- Garden sheds, garages and workshops should be locked up
- Store flammable liquids in their original sealed containers outside of the house
For more information on safety in the home, contact the Safety Council of Canada.
Lansky, Vicki. Baby Proofing Basics.
Murkoff, H., A. Eisenberg and S. Hathaway. What to Expect the First Year.