How to make your home baby and toddler friendly

How to make your home baby and toddler friendly

Last updated: 28/07/2022

When you become a parent, you suddenly realise how many potential dangers there are in your home. From sharp edges to hard floors, to plugs and wires. 

The risks only seem to grow as your little one becomes more mobile, crawling around and exploring their new surroundings, with their hands and their mouth.

So from before they are born, continuing into their early years, you’ll need to spend some time making sure their home environment is as safe as possible. 

Here are some tips to get you started. 

Take a baby’s eye view

Go round your home, room to room, looking for hazards. But do so from a baby’s perspective, close to the floor. What might be a harmless everyday object to you could pose a risk to your child. 

Here are some of the parts of your home you’ll need to babyproof, particularly as they start getting more mobile:  

Windows

If a window is easily accessible, then fit it with a safety catch, lock or window restrictor.

Also, keep furniture like beds and sofas - or anything they could use as a step - away from windows to prevent older children from climbing and reaching windows. 

Doors

You’re probably going to spend the next five years fretting about your child catching their fingers in doors. It can happen so easily.

At home at least you can take steps to avoid it, such as using finger guards or door stoppers to prevent doors from shutting completely.

Also, check whether windows, glass doors and glass-top tables are made with safety glass. If not, add safety film onto them, as this prevents them shattering into dangerous pieces of glass.

Think about other types of doors in your home too: you can fit safety catches to your washing machine door and onto the doors of cupboards that contain dangerous items, like cleaning products.

Furniture

If you have heavy, freestanding furniture that could topple over, then attach it to the wall, using brackets, if possible.

Also, look around for any nasty sharp edges on low-level furniture, like tables. You can simply put corner guards on them.

Stairs

Each week, over 40 children under five are admitted to hospital after falling down stairs. Parents only need to look away for a moment for something bad to happen, so, once your little one is mobile, put safety gates at the top and the bottom of the stairs to prevent them climbing stairs or falling down them.

Plugs and wires

Electricity is another common low level hazard. Be on the lookout for plugs and wires that might be within your baby or toddler’s reach.

Plugs should be covered with a lockable cover that fits right over the housing of the power outlet. This is different from one of the pieces of plastic that looks like a plug that you push into the holes of the socket itself – such covers can come loose or be easily removed by children. 

Don’t forget to deal with any electrical wires too. Sometimes you can simply block access to them with heavy furniture like a bookshelf (although ensure it’s stable). Or you can protect and hide them in child-safe cable tubes or secure them high up out of reach. 

Fires and heaters

Fit a baby-safe fireguard or screen around your fireplace, radiators or other heaters to protect them from burns. 

Bath

A rubber bath mat will help prevent your baby from slipping in the bath. Obviously, it’s no substitute for constant close supervision at bath time.

Move dangerous items out of reach

Babies love putting things in their mouths - it’s part of how they learn about the world. 

So one of your biggest jobs as a newly-appointed home safety guru is to make sure they can’t get their hands on objects that could do them harm if swallowed. 

That usually means simply moving certain items out of reach, or locking them away. These objects can be wide and varied, but among them are button batteries, which can be especially dangerous if swallowed. Another common hazard are nappy sacks, which can cause suffocation and should be kept well out of reach.

It’s not just small items that pose a risk though. For example, nearly 1 in 10 parents of under-fives admit their child has suffered a serious burn from hair straighteners or curling tongs. So be on the lookout and keep such items packed away.

Child-proofing your home is an ongoing task

As you look around your home from a baby’s or toddler’s perspective, you’ll no doubt spot more ways to make it safer and help reduce the risk of accidents, especially as they get older and more mobile.

Child-proofing your home won’t transform it into an entirely injury-free environment. But it should help reduce the chances of your little one coming to harm.

Click on the sections below to explore what you need to know at each stage of your home buying journey:

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