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Having a baby? Childproof your home
Kanchan Maslekar
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August 14, 2006

When a baby is on the way, we plan for cribs, clothes, toys and so on. Safety is something we often ignore. Childproofing your home is always good idea. It is also a good excuse to redecorate.

First, talk to experienced parents and start making a checklist of what you need. Remember that childproofing is not an alternative to strict adult supervision though, and that no device is completely childproof. Also, make sure you review your safety measures every three months to ensure your child has not outgrown or outsmarted any of them.

Doors and balconies

As soon as the baby starts crawling, doors become the first choice for exploration. Use safety netting to help prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks and landings, says Vinayak Nachare, an interior decorator. Your balcony or terrace wall must be sufficiently high. Make sure there are no chairs, tables, buckets or dustbins in the balcony. It is also worth investing in grills. "I also advice parents with young children to replace window blind cords (with loops) with safety tassels, as the former can be dangerous," adds Vinayak.

Cabinets

Keep all cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, bathrooms and other rooms locked using safety latches and locks. This blocks access to medicines, household cleaners, knives and other sharp objects. Store potentially dangerous substances in upper-level cabinets. These include sharp knifes, scissors, alcoholic beverages, household cleaning formulas, laundry supplies, medication, paint, kerosene, gasoline, charcoal, lighter fluid, bug spray, pesticides, and fertilisers.

Staircases

It is a good idea to install safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases. At the same time, make sure the latches are not complicated and can be easily manoeuvred by an adult in case of emergency. Remove all clutter or toys near the stairs to prevent tripping. Install handrails along the entire length of stairs. Encourage your child to hold the railing or wall while climbing up and down the staircase.

Furniture

It should be sturdy and not tumble. Also, try to ensure there are no jagged or sharp edges. Use cushions wherever possible.

Electrical appliances

Wiring in homes must be properly insulated. A child can hurt himself or herself if cords are left dangling on the floor. Cover every electrical outlet in your home with a child-resistant outlet cover (the plastic plugs are easy to pry out). Teething babies often chew on wires, so try to fit all wiring into protective plastic tubing, or tie them together and tuck them out of reach. Position audio-video equipment so children cannot pull televisions or stereos. Position televisions, stereos, microwaves and other equipment against walls, so small hands don't have access to the back surfaces or cords. Also install outlet covers and plates on outlets to prevent electrocution.

Kitchen

All tablecloths should be secured to the table, so your child cannot pull anything. Place hot foods and liquids away from the edges of counters and tables. Move any sharp, tiny or poisonous objects to a drawer with a safety latch. Keep your fine crockery and china under lock and key. Neha Khanapurkar, a homemaker, recalls how her 4-year old daughter tugged at the toaster wire, bringing the toaster down. Luckily the switch was off, and missed her feet by a whisker. Now, Neha keeps all her appliances unplugged when not in use and all electrical cords coiled up.

Neha also has a trashcan with a lid, because children love to explore the bin. She also suggests that you keep your kid entertained when you are in the kitchen. "Have a 'safe' cupboard for child to explore while you are cooking. Fill it with wooden spoons, plastic cups and other harmless items. They can also cook like mama, without getting into trouble," she adds.

To prevent unauthorised exploring, keep chairs and step stools outside the kitchen. Use a safety gate to keep children out of kitchen when you aren't there.

Bathrooms

Keep the bathroom door is shut so your child does not enter the toilet unattended. Keep toilet seat cover closed to prevent accidents. Keep hair dryers, curling irons, electric shavers and other electric devices unplugged and out of reach. Don't plug in anything near the bathtub. Install safety latches on cupboards, keep medications, toiletries and cleaning supplies out of reach. Store medication in original containers, this will help you identify the medicine in case your child swallows anything. In case you have a bathroom lock that your child can reach easily, remove it to prevent accidental locking.

Cribs

Make sure the mattress fits snugly, leaving no open spaces between the mattress and edge of the crib. Check all screws and bolts regularly to prevent the crib from collapsing. Though pillows, cushions and stuffed animal look very cute, avoid them; they could suffocate a baby. Always place a cushion or rug under the crib, cradle or changing table, which will act as a cushion in case of a fall. Make sure cribs, playpens and other furniture is not placed near windows, dangling cords, wall hangings or sharp objects.

Toy care

It is advisable to separate the older child's games from the younger one's, as many of these toys contain small parts that can be swallowed by toddlers. Inculcating the habit of put their toys away after use also helps. Also look out for broken toys, which could harm your child. As soon as the baby starts moving around, make sure you keep coins, small toys, nail scissors and balloons out of reach.

Quick tips

~ Use a cordless phone to enable you to keep a watch on your child.

~ Keep a list of emergency phone numbers -- child's doctor, your office numbers, neighbours or nearby relatives -- at hand.

~ Keep a first aid box with all emergency medication.                

~ Place houseplants out of children's reach; know the names of all plants in case a child eats one of them.

~ Keep remote controls, CDs and videos out of reach. This also applies to breakables like crockery or table lamps.

Set a good example. For instance, do not stand on a rocking chair to drive a nail or fasten a curtain. Your child is watching you and may try it later. Talk to the baby about safe behaviour and explain the likely dangers in the house.

Do you have any great ideas for childproofing your home? Share your tips, suggestions and experiences.




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Number of User Comments: 1




Sub: child proof et al

Hey the best way to bring up kids is follow your instincts of safety,security,and possibly do as our parents have done for us...spend quality time,recite ...


Posted by partha biswas




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