Coping with a new baby is always hard work but it’s much, much easier if you have a safe place to do it in. Every baby manages to find ways of making trouble that its parents have not anticipated – even if they’ve had several before but there are nevertheless things you can do to make your home safer for it to grow and play and learn in. This is much easier to do before your baby is born – so what do you need to consider?
Choose easy-clean surfaces
No matter how careful you are, you baby is going to make a mess. You’ll need to be able to clean up quickly and thoroughly to keep mould and bacteria at bay. Linoleum is a good solution for the kitchen and bathroom, and polished wooden floors can work well if they’re properly sealed, but your baby is going to need soft surfaces to play on and to learn to walk on. Choose a bleach-cleanable carpet, and avoid tufted varieties that can be picked apart and eaten. Repaint your walls and skirting boards with easy-clean, non-toxic paint.
Secure your windows
As they start to move around independently, babies love to explore and climb on things. Unsecured windows can represent a serious danger. It’s best to avoid windows that swing open at the bottom, and sash windows, altogether, as it’s very hard to secure them completely. Make sure bolts are high up, where they can’t be reached. Remove curtains and blinds, which babies can all too easily pull down on top of themselves, and switch to solid window shutters, which also enable you to close the windows off completely at night and keep your baby’s bedroom warmer.
Shape up your storage
Babies come with a lot of accessories: nappies, clothes, cleaning materials, toys, blankets and more. They also need uncluttered spaces to play in because they’ll chew, hide or do their best to smash anything they can get their hands on. With that in mind, you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of secure storage. High shelves are good for books and ornaments you want to keep visible, but built-in cupboards help a lot with keeping other things tidy. Solid chests are also good because they double as safe things to lean against, climb and sit on, as your baby gets bigger.
Fix your furniture
Because of that climbing instinct, some pieces of furniture can be hazardous for your baby. Shelving units, chests of drawers, dressers and wardrobes should be secured to the wall so that they cannot be pulled over. More delicate pieces of furniture may need to be strengthened or moved into storage if they can’t be made safe. Be wary of small tears in soft furnishing, which babies can easily rip further to get at the stuffing inside.
You’ll never make your home completely safe – that’s why it’s important not to leave your baby alone but making changes like this will remove a lot of the risks and reduce a lot of the workload. It will make it easier for you to spend more of the time that you have with your little one on things that are fun.
- This is a collaboration.