Diary of a Dad: Week 17 - Baby-proofing the Houseby Adam Riches
There comes a time in all parent’s lives where they realise that they need to be able to move with ninja-like instincts. Agility, speed and finesse are all required, as well as a keen sense of reflex...if you don’t possess these skills and your baby has started to move, you may, like me, have to start thinking about baby-proofing the house.
Now, I think you can go over the top if you're not careful, and in honesty, my mantra in life has always been that they’ll do it once and they’ll learn, but there are times where you kind of need to take responsibility. I mean, even the most relaxed parents need to at least consider some of the potential areas that could pose a threat. So here goes.
The obvious and in most cases, the most dangerous part of your house to a newly moving baby is the stairs. It goes without saying that a tumble down a flight of stairs can be serious, so some kind of stair protection is a good idea. Most stair gates come in push-fit or hard fitting (screw straight to the wall) and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Most are adjustable in terms of width so you can make it fit your staircase. We got a mega stair gate that’s transparent, so it doesn’t look so imposing when it’s open, but let’s be honest, anything that stops them falling down the stairs is good.
There are a couple of things to consider...firstly, if you are going to put your gate at the bottom of the stairs (to stop them climbing up and falling down) or at the top (to stop them falling down.) We found that the boys weren't hugely bothered about stairs, but the stair gate just meant we had peace of mind.
You know those annoying clip things that come with flat-pack furniture that it always says to fit last? The metal things? Yea? They are so you can fix furniture to the wall so it doesn’t fall on your child. I totally ignored these until I realised how easily a child can pull over a fulls set of drawers or a wardrobe (it’s really easily FYI - if you haven’t seen the video of the kids pulling the chest of drawers over, YouTube it.) Fixing your furniture to the walls may seem extreme, but joking aside, you are talking about some serious weight and falling furniture isn’t something you can stop.
Locks on cupboards are a must...mainly because it’s ultra annoying when every cupboard gets emptied out and because the cupboard doors are unsuitable balancing aids and it ends in tears. Also, cupboards that have anything harmful in are the first port of call for babies. It’s like a sixth sense for danger, cupboards containing bleach, chemicals and alcohol are always identified first.
You can get some nifty magnet locks so you don’t have to have garish clips or those annoying half-open ones that nip your fingers, but you can equally just put anything that is harmful up high if you’re not wanting them to fall into the hands of an eager baby.
Sockets are surprisingly safe. I know people freak out about them, but we are lucky in the U.K (not about much, but about our plug sockets) in that our sockets require the top pin to be pushed in pretty far before the bottom pins engage. With that said, it’s good to get into good habits and switch unused sockets off and keen exposed wires to a minimum. Socket blocking plugs are available of course if you are looking for an added layer of protection.
You can’t live in a padded house and I won’t lie, your child is going to have some accidents which may or may not result in bumps and scrapes. These are all part of learning and although as parents we need to keep our children safe, we obviously can’t baby proof everything. Don’t stress, don’t go over the top and get refining those ninja skills.