When you buy your first home you walk through the threshold and say ‘home sweet home!’. When you have a newborn baby to bring home, you want to say ‘home safe home!’.
Accidental injury is one of the top killers of children in the U.S. In fact household injuries are one of the top three reasons children under three visit the emergency room each year. By taking the proper safety measures almost all these injuries can be prevented.
Safety Hazards Study
A researchers report by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) stated new parents identified less than half of the safety standards in a simulated home environment. In fact the majority of the parents believed their children were less vulnerable to injury than other children.
This study shows if you think you have adequately child proofed your home, chances are you have not. If you think that your child is less likely to get injured than another, you are probably the one whose over confidence may lead to your place not being as safe as it could be.
It Starts With You
Ask yourself, ‘what would I do if my baby is not breathing, or choking and cannot breathe?’. Granted a newborn is unlikely to choke outside of breast feeding. But once you start putting solid food in your babies mouth, or the baby is coordinated to put food in its mouth, all bets are off.
If your baby has something blocking its airways, there are definitely things you should do, and things you shouldn’t. If your baby isn’t breathing, can you perform infant CPR until help arrives? If you can’t, you should be concerned.
The best thing you can do to educate yourself is take a CPR course like the ones offered by the Red Cross. At a minimum there are an abundance of great resources in various places like our article Stop Baby Choking! How to guide.
If you don’t have this knowledge this, could be the most valuable skill you can acquire in your life.
The Air in Your House
Every house can catch on fire, so every house has, or should have a fire detector. But do you have an alarm that goes of in the presence of the ‘Silent Killer?’.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. You can’t smell it, you can’t taste it, and you can’t hear it. Neither you nor your animals can tell when they are breathing it, but it can be fatal.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a by-product of combustion, and you may have common household items which cause it. Gas stoves, fireplaces and heating systems, portable generators, charcoal grills and even a running car in an enclosed garage can expose you to this poisonous gas.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 400 Americans a year die from accidental (CO) poisoning every year. There are more than 20,000 emergency room visits, and over 4,000 hospitalizations.
If you have any of these household items, a carbon monoxide detector should be protecting your house.
Babies will start to crawl at eight months on average, that means some will be mobile earlier. Then babies will start pulling their bodies up on to anything around, then comes walking and running.
Now throw in a healthy dose of curiosity, babies and toddlers will strive to grasp anything they can see. My baby would crawl over five things he could have to get the one thing he wasn’t able to have.
Since these little ones learn every day, you can’t assume they won’t be able to reach something today that they couldn’t the day before. Remember the majority of parents believe their children weren’t as likely to be injured…
A Safe Space
Cordoning off an area where a baby has enough area to play without being able to escape can give great peace of mind. An area with nothing within baby arms reach, and no chance of injury.
You can make-shift an area of the house. Gated play areas and portable play pens some other options as well.
Our area was made up of furniture, a baby gate, a small piece of luggage and pillows. It was a 10 x 5 foot safe space. Of course be creative, it doesn’t have a masterpiece, just an area where you can get up and go to the kitchen or the bathroom and not worry.
Preparing the house
Ideally your house has been child proofed from the beginning, eventually nothing contains a toddler. Here are some areas you want to focus on.
- Sharp corners – Coffee tables and or glass tops, TV stands, kitchen cupboards
and drawers to name a few can have sharp corners. You can get foam
corner and edge covers for protection.
- Anything that can be
pulled down – TVs, stands and shelves, basically anything that is light enough to be pulled but heavy enough to crush is a big problem. TVs can be mounted to the wall. Stands and shelves can be anchored to the wall.
Ornaments on shelves and picture frames can be dangerous with sharp
corners and glass to break. Lamps with cords hanging down are dangerous
- Window blind cords – Children can strangle themselves so cutting the loops or investing in cordless blinds are a good idea.
- Gates – areas like the kitchen may be too difficult to child proof so it is wise to gate it off entirely. There are a varieties and sizes of gates that can handle any area you need to secure. Fire place gates.
- Grip n twist sink and tub faucet, and door knob covers, plastic latches for drawers and cabinets and plastic electric covers are essential.
- Plastic covers for banisters and railings on patios to prevent babies going through.
- Finger pinch protectors for doors.
- If you have a pool make sure it’s gated off with a pool gate alarm.
- Locks for toilet seats, ovens and doors.
These are some but not all the potentially dangerous areas you can prevent injury. It’s not easy to defend your house against a baby who acts on impulse and doesn’t have the sense to learn from their mistakes,
Sadly you may take every precaution and your baby will find the thing you didn’t think of. But that’s a baby, you will be constantly surprised at the things you never thought they could do.
By following these steps you will definitely avoid some emergency room trips or even worse.
Thanks for reading leave any questions below, or is your add some safety step feel free to share.