We’ve put together this checklist, helping you prepare for each stage of development, with tips on how to change your strategies as young children grow.
What you can do…
Before your baby arrives
It’s easy to panic when you’re waiting for the big day of baby’s arrival, but there are plenty of things you can do to make you feel prepared.
- Pick up a baby first-aid kit. You can find these pre-prepared in most pharmacies; make sure you include a list of emergency phone numbers, including that of your family doctor.
- Check the safety alarms in your home, including security and smoke detectors. It’s worth also picking up a carbon monoxide detector. These are useful to have anyway and should be checked regularly, but doing this will also help to ease some pre-parenthood jitters!
- Childproof all cabinets containing glass, chemicals or other sharp objects. Babies may start grabbing and exploring faster than you expect, so preventative measures are essential.
- Put non-slip pads under rugs in all rooms, and cover sharp edges with bumpers. This will be useful when your child starts walking, but also in the early days when you walk around with your baby a lot.
- Set your water temperature manually to around 38 °C. This will prevent accidental scalding, and make it easier to stay vigilant when running baths.
Before they learn to crawl
When babies start to crawl, they’ll try playing with anything they can get their hands on. They’ll also start pulling themselves up, so it’s time to ensure everything is out of reach!
- Install gates at the top and bottom of the stairs, to prevent babies from climbing and falling.
- Use doorstops and holders to prevent doors from closing on little fingers.
- Keep cables hidden under furniture, or use a hide-a-cord device to store excess wires in.
- Secure the oven door with an appliance latch, to prevent it from being pulled open while switched on – the door may fall on your child or burns can occur.
- It sounds silly, but one of the best ways to check your home is to get down on your hands and knees and take a crawl around your home. You’re more likely to spot hidden dangers when you have the right perspective!
Before they learn to walk
- It’s important to have safety measure in place before toddlers start walking – you’ll still come across surprises, but it’s good to be prepared!
- Make sure your stair gates are still safe and sturdy – what was once a barrier may now be a climbing frame for your toddler!
- Find a high-up spot for electronics and small battery-operated items such as remote controls – children are prone to putting such treasures in their mouths at this age.
- Set up one “child-safe” cupboard full of soft, toddler-friendly items – this will distract children from the cupboards you don’t want them to get into!
- Remove looped cords on curtains and blinds. Children can pull on them and fall, or get tangled up if they are low enough.
- Look out for trip hazards, and ensure that any climbable furniture is situated close to walls rather than windows to prevent unpleasant falls.