Getting Your Home And Car Baby Safety Ready
Whether you’re expecting your first baby or preparing to relive the joys of motherhood all over again, the birth of your child is an incredible experience that fundamentally changes your perspective on the world around you. From the instant you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, your psychology undergoes a fundamental shift. While prior to motherhood, our thoughts tend to preoccupied with money, work and office gossip, from the moment your baby is born your every thought becomes dedicated to ensuring that your baby is safe and happy. As parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our children have the opportunity to grow up in an environment that’s conducive to their development and learning in a world that is friendly, safe and secure.
Those facing the prospect of parenthood for the first time may well experience some anxiety when it comes to the difficult balance between ensuring the safety of their children and becoming a helicopter parent. The occasional slip, fall and tumble resulting in scraped knees, sprained ankles and various other boo boos is an essential part of your child’s development as they learn their physical abilities and limitations. That said, there are are hazards all around the home that parents will need to eliminate to reduce the risk of more serious injury. The paraphernalia of the modern home and all the gadgets and nicknacks that were once essential lifestyle aids are seen through the eyes of new parents as an obstacle course that they must help their children navigate. It’s natural to suddenly feel as though your home has been turned against you, and the objects that used to bring you comfort and fulfillment suddenly seem fraught with potential danger.
Some parents have the luxury of upping sticks and moving home to somewhere more intrinsically child safe with fewer potential perils but for most of us it’s more a matter of making the best of what we have. Fortunately, an entire industry has arisen around parents’ need to the health, safety and happiness of their children at home. The sheer scope of the myriad products on the market can be bamboozling to new parents and while it may be tempting to buy a lot of safety products you may not even need ‘just in case’, the smarter bet is to make a note of the potential hazards within your home and purchase accordingly.
Trips and falls
As much as we love them, babies and toddlers aren’t renowned for their grace, dexterity and care when moving. In fact many new parents may become dismayed at just how quickly and recklessly their babies propel themselves along the ground on all fours as soon as they are able to crawl. As potentially unnerving as it may be for parents, a healthy curiosity and sense of exploration should be encouraged as children get more mobile. Of course, the combination of curiosity and lack of hazard perception shifts the onus onto the parent.
In this light, preventing trips and falls around the home is a great first step in getting your home baby ready. Falls account for over 40% of accidents in the home so they’re a threat that should absolutely be taken seriously, but fortunately they’re relatively simple to prevent. Since a crawling baby can seem to escape your notice at lightning speed it’s important that you allow yourself the peace of mind of knowing that they can scoot around in safety.
In many homes, the first port of call will be the staircase. There’s no greater fall hazard for curious babies unaccustomed to such concepts as steep drops and 90 degree angles. Baby gates should be installed at to the top of the stairs and three steps up from the bottom to prevent any access. As babies grow into toddlers and start exploring the home on two feet, you should make sure that your stairways are well lit and kept free trip hazards like the inevitable stray toys and Legos (seriously nobody should have to experience stepping on one of those). Frayed or buckled carpeting should be replaced or repaired as soon as possible as this may also be a major trip hazard. Balustrades should be secure enough to provide support for children who can traverse the stairs with a little support (under parental supervision). Many small children often mistake balustrades for monkey bars so measures should be put in place to prevent climbing.
Your baby’s crib is the one place where you should expect to leave them unattended for long periods of time. Needless to say, a safe crib is vital for your child’s safety and your peace of mind (you need sleep too). Though you may be on a budget, used cribs are not advisable as they can become worn and rickety over time, seriously compromising their safety. Some simple tips for crib safety include:
- Bare is best! Don’t layer sheets or duvets over baby as these can become entangled and therefore dangerous. Make sure bedding is wearable.
- Don’t hang pictures or shelves over the crib as these may fall on it and do serious damage.
- Cats are wonderful household pets but they should be kept away from the crib at night with a net. Cats can be drawn to the baby’s warmth and while they may just want to snuggle, they present danger of suffocation for your baby.
- Keep the mattress as low as possible to prevent baby from being able to climb out as he or she gets taller.
Kitchen and bathroom hazards
Where there’s hot water, heat or fire, there’s danger of burns and scalds for delicate young skin. New parents will quickly learn the value of vigilance and the importance of reversing old habits. For example, many of us have spent years keeping half drunk coffee or tea on the corner of the coffee table within easy reach. Unfortunately, it’s also within easy reach of tiny curious hands. Hot drinks can scald young children’s skin up to 15 minutes after they’ve been made so it’s especially important to be mindful of where you put them within this time period.
Pan handles can also be alluring to an infant’s curiosity mind (and hands) so be sure to turn them inwards away from their reach when cooking. Small cooking fires can create enormous danger for babies so be sure to use a flame retardant blanket before they escalate.
When drawing a bath it’s worth getting into the habit of running the cold water first then adding hot water incrementally, checking on it regularly and testing it with your elbow to get an understanding of how it would feel for a baby’s skin.
And don’t forget the car
Domestic statistics paint an unsettling picture of how safe American children are on the road. In 2015 alone 666 children aged 12 years and under were killed in car accidents and just short of 132,000 were injured. Many of these tragedies could have been avoided or at least minimized with proper safety precautions.
According to government data, installing an appropriate car seat reduces the risk of infant death by 71% and toddler death (aged 1-4) by 54%. Hence, your primary concern when it comes to car safety is choosing the right car seat. With a market saturated with choices it can be difficult to know where to look. Fortunately, you can find a Buying Guide for baby seats on https://babyseats.reviews. Since child car safety is a growth market, manufacturers are clambering over each other to bring safer, more comfortable and (thankfully) easier to install car seats every year.
Aside from your car seat, you should make sure that your brake discs and pads are changed regularly (roughly every 20-30,000 miles) and your tires are checked for punctures, cracks and damage to the sidewall as well as tread checks.