A recent study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) had first time moms of kids between 12 to 36 months taken through a "model home" and asked to point out potential hazards. The parents could identify less than half of them. In fact, they said stuff like, "My kid isn't curious about the toilet/he doesn't play with match boxes. Their score? 40/100.
Household injuries are amongst the top killers of kids beneath the age of 3 in the US and UK. Closer home in India, no such study has been conducted, but our guess is that our children are at as much risk, kids being the same the world over.
No, you don't have to spend a bomb to renovate your space for the child's safety. We recommend these tips for baby-proofing homes with some planning, an eye for detail, and supervision. Get ready for baby-proofing:
1. Unplug all electric gadgets after use. Hair dryers, electric curlers, iron, steam iron, induction tops. Use safety caps on plugs that are not being used.
2. Round off sharp edges of furniture. You could have a carpenter make your table tops with rounded edges, or stick edge protectors and baby corners. Keep the rocking chair away, lest little fingers and toes get in the way.
3. Give age appropriate toys. Babies should not be given crayons or pencils, no matter how prodigious your cherub may be. They are known to break the crayons and pop them into their mouths. Toddlers can be handed fat round crayons for their art and supervise the li'l Picassos all through their art session.
4. Nail the dressing table, chest of drawers or bookcases, to the wall. Falling furniture is one of the numero uno causes of hurt.
5. Gate the kitchen if you have babies or toddler at home. Also, the entrance to the stairs if you’re living in a duplex.
6. Keep the bathroom door latched. Do not keep buckets filled with water if you have a child in the house, there is always a chance of curious kids tumbling over into buckets. Don’t keep the geyser switched on, if your child runs the shower, she may get scalded. According to WebMD, it takes just 3 seconds for a child to sustain third degree burns from water that is 140 degree F.
7. Don’t leave knives, forks or small appliances within reach. Alright, this is going to take the most discipline. But toddlers can reach out and unwittingly pull down whatever they lay their hands on—your set of knives, the marble chakla, the heavy mortar-pestle, sharp edged tawa, the electric kettle!! Ensure hot utensils have been allowed to cool down and pushed back out of reach. With a mischievous 3-year-old, this writer cannot overstress on this one.
8. Banish statuettes, porcelain dolls, animal figurines, artistic but breakable pottery or flower vaze. Pull them out only when you need them for your party.
7. Keep photo frames up and away. Put glass frames well out of reach, mount them on the wall, or replace them with plastic. Child safety locks can come a long way!
8. Keep candles and matches out of a reach. Yes, toddlers can light a match and start a fire. Worse, if they choose to eat a candle, they could choke on the wax. Your pretty candle holders can wait until your baby grows up.
9. Keep the medicine chest under lock and key: It's only a job half done to put the drugs away in a box that's out of reach.
10. Keep the oven and microwave in an elevated cabinet: And never, ever with a dish towel or baking glove handy while you're taking a loo break or answering the phone. Be sure to remove all food as soon as it's baked or warmed. See if your oven has settings to allow you to lock the door. Otherwise a baby gate across the kitchen entrance is your best bet.
11. Keep your pet's products at a safe place too: This includes shampoos, tick powders, brushes and ointments. Kids are known to eat these too.