Baby-proofing your house

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By the time your baby learns to crawl, your house should be absolutely baby-proof to prevent accidents. But while you should secure your home with as many layers of safety as possible, remember that your baby is only safe if she is within your arm’s-length reach.

Imagine and look at the world from your child’s perspective and act accordingly. Be proactive and work on the assumption that you can simply never be too careful or too cautious.

Check out your home on your hands and knees to see the dangers that lurk and tick off the following:

  • Are there safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs?
  • Are all the floor-level electrical sockets covered?
  • Are all doors and windows lockable?
  • Are all possible poisons such as medicines, vitamins, cleaning materials, cigarettes, toiletries and other toxic substances out of reach or locked away?
  • Have you moved poisonous or prickly plants out of reach – or got rid of them? Common poisonous South African plants include Syringa, Erythrina (lucky bean), Castor oil plant, Chincherinchee, Foxglove, Stinkblaar/Jimson weed, Larkspur (Delphinium), Oleander, Acokanthera and many fungi, especially mushrooms and toadstools.
  • Are there child-proof catches on the fridge, toilets and kitchen cupboards?
  • Are sharp knives and scissors stored in a safely locked drawer or up out of reach?
  • Are flexes and cords such as those on lamps, kettles and irons well out of reach? Anything dangling down could be pulled down on top of your baby’s head. Make sure pot handles are turned inwards too, so baby can’t pull them off the stove.
  • Don’t carry your child and a hot drink at the same time. Keep hot drinks and other objects well away from the edges of tables.
  • Keep hairdryers, toasters and other appliances unplugged and out of reach.
  • Never, ever leave your toddler alone in (or near) the bath or near a pool, a toilet or a container of water – including buckets. A child can drown in only a few centimetres of water.
  • Make sure you have layers of safety around dangerous areas, especially the pool, which should have a fence, net and alarms. Ensure that your baby doesn’t play on the driveway behind cars.
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