How to babyproof your home
According to our latest research, mums and dads in the UK spend a combined total of £492 million every year on getting their house in a suitable state to welcome the patter of tiny feet, with each couple spending an average of £1,600. However, it's not all money that's being put to good use, with three-fifths of the 2,000 parents we spoke to admitting they bought items they didn't need or use. That's understandable considering nobody can consider themselves to be an expert in bringing up a baby before they've actually done it. With this in mind, here are our top tips to help you to babyproof your home.
Identifying the hazards
As you might expect, this can be quite a significant undertaking and involves going from room to room, making a list of the potential dangers your baby could come into contact with. It's good practice to do this as early as possible, as even though your child is not yet crawling, eventually they will be - and the transition will likely catch you unaware if you are not prepared. In the meantime, they will constantly be looking around and wanting to explore everything they can - meaning a cord hanging from your blinds could feasibly be pulled down by wandering hands if they're left nearby, even for a fleeting moment. Cords and drapery can also prove to be a strangulation hazard, so the best move is to either replace them with something that does not offer this threat or ensure they are tied out of harm's way.
There are two types of hazards you should be mindful of. The first is those that can be counted as being part of the room, like furniture, rugs and cupboards, for example. The second group contains hazards that may only be around some of the time, like cans of alcohol or cleaning products.
Of course, it's harder to plan for the second group, but the important thing is that you are both mindful of what a hazard consists of and how it can be eliminated. A large part of the babyproofing process comes from not only what you physically change, but also how you alter your mental approach. While you might feel a little self-conscious doing it, taking a 'crawling tour' of your home could be an eye-opening experience to help you to determine what you need to change. This allows you to gain a different perspective on what is accessible at your baby's level - give it a go!
Updating your home
Your babyproofing should also consist of looking at - and acting upon - what needs updating to bring it up to a safe standard as far as the welfare of your baby is concerned. For example, securing, repairing or replacing unstable furniture is a must to ensure there is a minimal risk of objects falling and causing injury. Similarly, investing in childproof locks to ensure your youngster can't get into cupboards once they do start to become mobile is another necessity.
Potentially life-saving devices that should also be considered are smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors, with 33 per cent and 31 per cent of respondents to our survey opting to install these respectively. Furthermore, four in ten also chose to fit the safety catches in their kitchens, while stair gates were seen as a worthwhile investment for more than half (53 per cent) of new mums and dads.
Houseplants are another element of the home you may wish to move or dispose of altogether, as there is a possibility they will eventually find their way into your baby's mouth. Some species are poisonous as well, so don't automatically disregard any room foliage as a non-hazard.
While every house - and room - is different, the important thing is to give yourself time to adapt. This not only refers to changing your mindset for welcoming a baby and all that comes with it, but also to alter your home so it's a baby-friendly environment. You can rest assured it will be time well-spent.