Toddlers are anything but timid. They’re fast, energetic, determined and love to explore new territory. They are curious about textures, colours and sound and as a result, keen to taste and feel every single object that appears interesting. To them, learning is an exciting, 24/7 activity which requires little or no interruption so they’ll always attempt to sneak away from the prying eyes of their parents.
From the perspective of these little scouts, the home is an adventure playground containing fascinating materials to play with, and swing from. But for most parents, accidents do happen and the horrific ones usually take place in the home. Therefore, no one can afford to take chances and leave certain stones unturned. However, we tend to focus on the major hazards, forgetting that the inconspicuous dangers are sometimes the most lethal.
Having had and heard a few horrific experiences, I started paying more attention to unseemingly little things that could catch my toddler’s attention. I came down to his level and noticed quite a lot of code red zones in the house and so made some effort to childproof my home. Funny enough, most alterations weren’t expensive or excessive. Simple and few adjustments here and there proved successful. Hence, here are some helpful measures.
1. Keep household products high up.
As we know, household products like washing liquids and air fresheners can be extremely harmful if swallowed or come into contact with the eyes. Avoid keeping them in lower cupboards and lock them high up. Also after each use, ensure the nozzle is always returned to the ‘off’ position. This will prevent the contents from being accidentally squirted by the child.
2. Store away plastic bags.
Little children love to play with anything they can lay their tiny hands on and for reasons best known to them, plastic bags seem to make brilliant helmets. Please store away plastic bags of any size or type as they could place them over their heads and suffocate.
3. Neatly tie in cables or curtain tie-backs.
This is one of the most common accidents in the home. Little kids enjoy playing with cables or loosening curtain tie-backs and tying them around their necks. This could strangle them. Cables could be assembled using an organiser which would make it less difficult for toddlers to fiddle with. Curtain tie-backs or window blind cords can be removed or hooked well out of reach.
4. Keep appliances and kitchen wares out of reach.
It’s quite handy having your various kitchen appliances on the table top so that you can reach for them when cooking but move them further away from the edge of tables and counters. Also endeavour to do same with other utensils especially the sharp ones like knives, tin cutters, cork screws. If you keep a stool in the kitchen, please remember to store it away. Children are smarter than you think and could use it as a pedestal.
5. Turn pot/pan handles inwards.
During cooking, remember to turn the handle of the pot/pan inwards and after you finish, please move the pot towards the back burner. This will make it less easy for children to pull or drag the pot towards themselves. Since most of our time is spent in the kitchen, they are more inquisitive about what goes on there.
6. Keep certain furniture away from windows and balconies.
Children are clever and love to climb. With time, they will figure out how to climb over chairs and tables and be intrigued by the ones closer to windows and balcony. Try to remove those pieces that could facilitate easier access.
7. Safely dispose of medication and other sources of potential poison.
We are likely to have more than one bottle of paracetamol or other pain relief medication in the home. You should keep them in a cabinet, preferably in the kitchen but well out of reach and avoid disposing of expired or leftover medicine or old batteries in the dustbin. Toddlers tend to meddle through the trash.
8. Guard against sharp and pointed edges.
Put protective coverings on sharp and pointed edges of furniture and stairs. If you live in a home with stairs, your best bet is installing safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs and making sure they are always locked properly.