Once you bring your child home for the first time, the job of childproofing the home begins. When the little one is still confined to the cot and your arms, there is a nice grace period within which to start kitting out the home with everything you need to make it kid proof. By the time they start crawling and walking, it will not be long before they are toddling about at quite an alarming speed!
But this is the point in a child’s development when they trulybegin to explore their physical environment, and it’s best to let them do that as much as possible. If the safety of your home for a curious toddler is something that concerns you though, then childproofing is the way to set your mind at ease.
There are many potential dangers throughout the home which call for specific child-proof fixes. You’ve probably heard of some of the more visible ones – gates at the top of stairs and dummy plugs covering up sockets – but it goes much further than this. The home is the place where you will raise your child in their earliest years, but it is also the pace where you cook, clean, dine, and wash, and all those activities require appliances and equipment that are potentially dangerous for toddlers.
Exploring and Learning
Nevertheless, there is no need to overdo it. In fact, it is pretty important that you don’t. The ability of a child to explore, relatively uninhibited, their immediate surroundings is vital for development. You should see child-proofing your home not as a way to restrict this, but actually as a way of making it possible. After all, your child can only explore the stairs if there is no chance of falling down them!
And the same thing that makes childproofing your home necessary is what allows your child to explore and learn – curiosity. After a certain age – and once able to move around on their own – you can expect your child to go poking their fingers into everything they can, to stick all manner of objects in their mouth, and to go checking out every unexplored corner of the home. This should all be encouraged – in an environment of safety.
Accidents Will Happen
Of course, though, you cannot prevent all accidents from happening. This is not only inevitable, but simply part of that same development process just discussed. A child not only learns by exploring their environment, but they also learn by having accidents.
The key to childproofing your home effectively is to understand that this curiosity is boundless and will lead your child everywhere. But that same curiosity and sense of perception is sharpened by the negative experiences which achild’s exploration can lead to. By learning where not to poke their fingers and what not to put in their mouth, the child develops the skills of discernment necessary for life. Therefore, while you should bear in mind the child’s boundless curiosity when childproofing your home, this should also have you take care not to make things too sheltered and safe.
Exploration is trial and error, and you need to encourage thiswhile removing the potential for any serious harm.
How to Childproof Your Home
Everyone’s home is different, and everyone’s child is different too. Furthermore, your child will require different levels of childproofing as they grow and learn. Accordingly, there is a lot of variation in how to actually go about childproofing your home. Certainly, the advice of not overdoing it applies, and there’s no need to go overboard with protective covers or first aid kits and supplies.
Better instead to consider each aspect of your home where childproofing is a way and consider whether you really need it or not. Here follows a brief checklist:
It is great to let your child explore the home, but there should be whole rooms and areas where they simply do not go. This allows you to keep dangerous devices and objects in these rooms while making the rest of the home more child friendly.
And this is all a matter of doors, specifically securing them and preventing your child from pushing them over. Door knob covers are a great idea. These make it difficult for a child to grip and open a door with the knob. All that’s left to do after installing them is ensuring the doors close securely – and remembering to close them!
Many of the items that pose a real danger to your child are the small things they can lift and insert into their mouth. These things are either choking hazards or dangerous substancesthey should not ingest.
You can solve this problem in one stroke by storing these items in cabinets and investing in cabinet locks to keep them closed. With cabinets and locks, you can immediately remove one of the biggest hazards of the home without making that much of a change to your child’s environment.
Cooking is something you will need to do regularly; it issomething that has real potential to harm your child. Also, the kitchen isn’t really one of the rooms you can keep locked allthe time and never have your child enter. Consequently,particular care is advised in this part of the home – perhaps more so than any other.
Most of the danger comes from the stove, so the simple solution is stove guards. These will prevent injury to your child from cooking food, which can often entice with its smell.
Stairs and Windows
The danger here is pretty obvious. It is the risk of falling. The logical solution then is to make it impossible for the child to trespass into a position where this could happen. Stair and window guards will not restrict your movement round the home at all, being easy to open and close – but only for adults.
Electrical Socket Guards
Electric plug sockets unfortunately comprise of the sort of small holes children just delight in probing when they’re exploring around the home. A simple and cheap solution is to invest in plug guards and ensure no reachable plug socket is left uncovered. Take care to remember to reinsert them when you remove an appliance, too.
Child–proofing your home isn’t just about making your home safe, it’s also a way for you to encourage your child to develop through exploration of their environment – without putting your nerves on end!