If you have a baby on the way, then it's time to make sure that your home holds up against his or her growth spurts and curious mind. Experts share that you should child-proof your house a few months before your due date, since you'll likely have your hands full once you bring your baby home.
Child-proofing your home is not an easy feat — between costs and latching every cabinet with a lock, it's important not to cut corners so that you can ensure the utmost protection for your child in your home. To help you get a head start on creating a safer space for your baby, we discuss 7 easy ways you can babyproof your home.
Baby Proof Your Baby Bed
As your baby becomes more comfortable with their legs, they'll begin to test boundaries like climbing over their crib rails. Since they can start as early as 15 to 18 months, it's important to ensure that the crib's railing is height appropriate for their age so they can't easily climb over it. When buying a crib, you can look at adjustable types which allow you to customise the railing placement. While you can expect to pay an average price of S$192 for a baby crib, some of the big-brand cribs can cost as high as S$1,666.
Another thing to keep an eye on as your baby gets older is your over-head baby mobile, which might actually cause more harm than good. Once your baby learns to stand, your baby mobile becomes more of a choking hazard than a sleep aid. With this in mind, make sure to remove any small toys or decorations from the nursery when you notice your baby growing into their legs.
Lock and Secure Windows and Doors
As a parent, it's natural to worry about your child's safety when it comes to the outside world. However, even places like your living room or bathroom could cause harm to your child if not properly secured. By child-proofing doors, cabinets, and windows, you can cross off many potential harms like drowning or poisoning from your list of worries.
As your baby begins to walk, they'll become curious about more areas of the house and learn to turn knobs and open doors at will. With this in mind, you should baby-proof the door knobs of bathrooms and laundry rooms to ensure your baby doesn't get access to any tubs, detergents or buckets of water. A door knob cover can lock a door knob in place with a child safety feature, so that your baby can't open a door without your help. A pack of 2 to 3 covers costs approximately S$9.14 from shops in Singapore.
Similarly, you can use child-proof latches to secure your kitchen cabinets and other doors in your home. A 2-3 pack of cabinet locks is priced at an average cost of S$11.85. With this security, you can ensure that your baby doesn't get into areas that hold toxic cleaning supplies or other types of hazardous products.
Lastly, you'll want to secure your windows with child-proof latches so that your baby can't open it, with the risk of falling out. This is especially true if you are on higher floors in your building. A pack of 1-2 window latches runs at about S$4.64, which will go a long way in ensuring that your baby stays safe in your home.
Anchor Heavy Items In Your House
Before your baby comes home, you'll want to take stock of all the heavy items in your house, like a lamp, TV, or dresser. These everyday furniture items pose a new risk, especially once your baby begins to walk and open drawers or reach for items in high places. To prevent a major accident, you can anchor heavy items in your house to the wall or the surface it's sitting on.
1-2 packs of furniture straps go for about S$11.96 online from retailers like Shopee. With these straps, you can secure a dresser in your baby nursery to the wall, so that it has no chance of falling onto your baby. Similarly, you can use a metal wall anchor or strap to fix your TV to the wall. If you have an item like a vase that can't be anchored, then it might be a good idea to find a new place for it while your baby is in its learning stage.
Watch Out For Electricity
Another rule of child-proofing your home is to keep electronics and electrical outlets out of reach from your baby. This means you'll need to organise your wires, keep vases with water away from electrical applications, and most importantly, cover your outlets. To avoid electrocution, you should use outlet covers to create a barrier between your curious baby and an electric socket. You can buy a 2-4 pack of socket covers for about S$4.23 from eCommerce sites.
Gate Off Areas For Baby Safe Spaces
A gate can help you child-proof your home in a few ways. First, a tension-mounted gate can be propped up at the top and bottom of your staircase to prevent your baby from accidentally falling down. These gates go for an average cost of S$117.53, but you can find some simple gates as low as S$17.90 from online stores.
Second, you can use adjustable gates to create a safe space for your baby where they can play, crawl, or sleep while you take some time to complete other tasks. These play yards run 83% higher than your average tension or wall-mounted gate at around S$215. However, your final cost will come down to material of the gates to size of the play area that you wish to wall off for your baby.
Cover Sharp Corners and Hard Edges
When it comes to baby-proofing, something as small as your table corners is important to cover. To prevent any head injuries, you should soften the sharp corner and hard edges of furniture in your home, starting with your tables.
Thankfully, there is a surplus of corner guards and edge tape for purchase. With corner guards, you can blunt any hit on your baby's head when they are learning the ins and out of your home. A 1-4 pack of corner guards goes for about S$13.46, though it's important to ensure measurements fit your intended furniture before buying. Similarly, edge tape made of a foam material can help soften a blow if your baby were to accidentally hit their head against a side table. You can buy a roll of furniture tape for about S$14.79 online.
Consult With Multiple Baby Safety Guides
There are many ways to baby-proof your home outside of this list and it's important to note that you should double down on your child-proofing tactics as your baby gets bigger. We recommend that you do your due diligence far in advance so that you are ready to welcome your baby into a safe environment. Here's some final tips that you can keep in mind when child-proofing your home.
1. Switch out window looped cords with claw or wand cords to prevent accidental asphyxiation. You can also buy safety cord wraps for your window's cords, which keeps them out of harm's way of your child.
2. Test small objects in the house with a toilet paper tube — if the item can fit, then your baby can choke on it. If the item fails this test, make sure to keep it out of spaces that your baby will be in.
3. Be careful with tablecloths on your table. Your baby could pull them, which would result in all the tabletop contents falling over, potentially hurting your child.
Even with a baby-proof home, accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. As your baby gets older, they will test the world outside of your comfort zone, which may lead to bumps, bruises, or more. With this in mind, you could consider a personal accident insurance plan to protect your child against accidents or poisoning. With the right plan, you can rest your anxieties knowing that your baby is covered, whether they meet an accident outside or within your home.