Having a baby is a wonderful and life-changing experience; nothing can completely prepare you for it. However, with a bit of planning, you can make those first few days at home much easier, if you make your house or flat a safe and welcoming environment for your newborn.
But where and when to begin?
It’s worth starting off early, before you or your partner are too tired and achy to dedicate your evenings and weekends to DIY. This will make you feel in control and prepared in the lead up to the big day, as well as making you both feel closer.
It’s best to tackle either a room or a hazard at a time, and baby-proof the house systematically. Then, you can focus on the extras. This way, you’ll be sure not to miss anything out.
Here is some practical advice on how to prepare your home for your baby’s arrival.
Most parents decide to sleep in the same room as their baby, so they can easily hear them cry and get up during the night. Wherever you plan to have your baby sleep, you need to make sure the room is a safe and peaceful place.
You must be comfortable leaving your baby in his or her crib while sleeping or napping, even when you’re not in the room, so make sure the one you buy is safe and robust.. It’s also best to avoid hanging any paintings, shelves or frames on the wall by the crib – it’s not worth the risk of them falling.
Store away or eliminate the cords on your blinds or curtains – these are strangling hazards.
Serious accidents can happen in the kitchen, so it’s important to make it baby-safe. To start with, keep all cleaning products on high cupboards to prevent your baby from getting to them. An alternative to this is to use latches. These are also good for stopping your kid from opening drawers.
If you plan to keep your baby in the kitchen with you when cooking, rather than in a play yard, invest in a floor-level seat. Don’t leave him or her in a high chair – these are easily tipped over and can cause bad falls.
You might also want to consider securing or storing away your rubbish bins. These can look rather interesting to babies and toddlers and, if heavy, they can be a hazard.
The living room
In order to be able to relax in your living room, you’ll want to make this space as risk-free as possible. You might want to invest in a play yard where your baby can play safely while you cuddle up on the sofa after a long, tiring day.
In the winter, it’s a good idea to cover your radiators in order to avoid burns; whilst the TV is best kept on low furniture, pushed back as far as possible.
If you have a fireplace, you’ll need to install a fireguard to be kept in place at all times, so that your baby doesn’t get near the burning fire or the ashes.
As a general rule, you should never leave your baby alone in the bathroom. However, it’s best to keep this room baby-safe too.
You’ll want to buy some latches for the cupboards and drawers and keep all cosmetics and shampoos off sink and bathtub ledges – some of these can be poisonous.
It is also advisable to install a toilet lock to keep the loo closed at all times – you never know when your baby will learn how to climb.
Windows and stairs
Windows and stairs are rather dangerous places for babies and toddlers. You’ll need to make these secure by installing guards on both.
For stairs, you’ll have to mount baby gates both at the top and at the bottom of the steps in order to avoid falls. Make sure these are bolted into the wall at the top of the stairs to prevent your child from falling down the steps, together with the gate itself.
For windows, you’ll want to secure a solid guard (not an insect screen) with screws to prevent your child from falling through the open window. Or if you’d prefer, you could install stops that keep window from opening.
Plants and vases
Anything delicate or heavy that you have placed at floor-level should be stored away once your baby comes home. This includes heavy plants and glass vases. Don’t forget to put all toxic plants you may own out of the way, on high shelves.
You’ll also want to start mounting corner and edge guards across all rooms for when your child starts crawling.
Although thinking about all these preparations might seem a little daunting now, if you tackle them gradually throughout the pregnancy, you will have a much less stressful parenting experience when the big day finally comes. All this planning will be priceless, as you’ll feel confident your baby is in a safe and cozy place.
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Posted on: September 12, 2016