Childproofing your home

Becoming a parent makes you suddenly very aware of everyday hazards – but there are things you can do to prepare your home and help keep your baby out of harm’s way.

Preparing your home before your baby arrives

These are some essentials to tick off the list before you bring your baby home for the first time.

Smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector

You’ll want to be immediately alerted if there’s smoke or carbon monoxide in your home. Fire and overexposure to carbon monoxide can kill. It might be a good idea to install a smoke alarm in every room where there’s risk of fire. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector in all rooms containing solid fuel gas, or paraffin heaters. You can buy separate smoke and carbon monoxide alarms or ones that will alert you to either threat. Remember to regularly check that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working.

Baby monitor

This will make it easier for you to hear your baby crying if you’re in another room. There’s a lot of choice when it comes to baby monitors, and a wide price range too. You can spend less than £20 for a basic audio monitor, or more than £300 on a state-of-the-art video monitor with several cameras.

Making your baby’s sleeping environment safe

According to the NHS, your baby should always sleep in the same room as you for the first six months. There are a few baby sleep guidelines to follow, to keep your little one as safe as possible, such as always placing your baby on their back to sleep, and keeping their head uncovered from the bedding.

Also be aware of any other possible dangers with where your baby is sleeping, either during the first six months in the same room as you, or later on when they’re in a different room. For instance: Keep the cot away from blind cords, wires, and plugs. Keep medicines and toiletries out of their reach.

Remove any mobiles or hanging toys that are within reach if your baby sits or stands up. Secure furniture to the wall if there’s a risk that it could topple over if climbed or pulled on. Don’t put a hot water bottle or electric blanket in with your baby, even if it’s extremely cold. Don’t use a tie or ribbon to attach your baby’s dummy to their clothes, or leave your babywearing clothes or bibs with tie fastenings.

What to think about when your baby starts crawling

As your baby starts to move around more independently, there are additional hazards you’ll want to mitigate against. Here’s our shortlist of some popular options for childproofing the home.

Stair gate

Your child may be the next famous explorer, but you may want to control where they can and can’t venture alone around your home, at least for the first few months – especially if you’re worried about them walking up and downstairs by themselves. This is where a stair gate comes in handy. Even if you don’t have more than one floor, you could use a stair gate to prevent your little one from waltzing into the kitchen alone, where serious injuries can occur.

Bath mat

For young children, the bath can feel like a fun play area. But, with our safety hats on, it’s important to remember that water can increase the risk of accidents. A simple rubber bath mat will help prevent your baby from slipping in the bath. You might want to add a bath mat to the base of the bath when your baby starts sitting up and is able to pull themselves up without your support. No matter how sturdily your baby appears to sit in the bath, always remember to never leave them unattended in the tub, even for a minute, as accidents can happen incredibly quickly.

Glass safety film

Thinking about your windows, doors with glass panels, and glass-top tables – are they made of safety glass? If not, you can cover them with safety film. This is designed to contain loose jagged shards should the glass break, so could prevent serious injury.

Window locks

This might be one to think about if your little one can easily access any windows around your home. Windows should be fitted with safety locks to restrict them from opening less than 6.5cm. Babies and young children could be seriously injured or killed if they fall from a high window.