Whether you’ve just found out you’re expecting, are in your last trimester or have just had your baby, if you haven’t developed your baby proofing plan it’s time to get to it! Baby proofing your home is a crucial step in preparing for your new bundle of joy, and if you live in a rental property it can present some obstacles in the form of restrictions on what you can and can’t do.
Keeping your new baby safe and healthy in your home (that can sometimes be cluttered or scattered with the older kid’s toys) can be a little daunting at first. Once your baby starts crawling, in the blink of an eye they’re not just giving you that cheeky smile whilst rolling over on their tummy. Instead, that cheeky smile is soon out the door, into cupboards, performing heart-stopping free-climbing exploits and grabbing anything and everything in their path. So, the secret to keeping them safe – and getting your bond back – is being prepared.
To help out, we’ve prepared a list of considerations to help you formulate a plan best suited to your needs so you can rest easy when your little one starts to be on the move.
- Something everyone should do regardless of whether you have a baby or not is to secure your furniture. No one wants an accident involving something heavy like a bookshelf tumbling over. If you live in a rental and you’re concerned about things like screwing holes in the wall, have a chat to your landlord and explore your rights as a tenant. Your child’s safety is a high priority and reasonable modifications should be fine. Also cover any sharp edges and corners on furniture and items like coffee tables in the rooms that they will frequent the most.
- Block off exits, dangerous doorways and stairways. This can be done by strategically placing a baby gate that uses tension to hold it in place, making it safe and offering adjustable sizings to fit most doors and hallways. You should always use some felt to create a barrier between the wall and the baby gate to reduce the chances of damaging the walls. Caution should be applied if you have stairs, as a gate held in place with screws into the walls will be less susceptible to being pushed over, but again, permission may be needed from your landlord.
- Make sure you lock up all the cupboards and drawers that contain anything risky like small items, sharp objects and especially cleaners and medications. Chemicals, pills and the like should be kept out of reach in high places and never be left out for kids to touch or pick up. Child-proof locks come in a variety of forms, are easy to install and do not damage the cabinetry.
- Electronics and cords should be tucked away and out of reach. Plug outlets need to be baby proofed by putting covers on all of the exposed sockets – this is a cheap and effective way to prevent any potential electrical accidents.
- Re-organise your interior decorating theme, especially if you like to have plants in the lounge room or fragile décor. Babies will put everything in their mouth and grab every little thing in reach. Simply putting them in a higher location will work.
- As we all know, babies can be a hazard unto themselves. Never leave your baby unattended on a change table or in a high place such as a bed. To prevent falling hazards, make sure your change table has straps and never leave your baby alone.
Another great way to assess your home is to get down on all fours and address any of the hazards that you come across.
Remember that every house and situation is different, so what might work for you may not be appropriate for others and vice versa. However, with a small amount of effort and some strategic thinking you can make your rental property safe and sound for the little people of the house without making too many drastic changes.