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Having a baby changes every aspect of your life. This will be evident not only in your lifestyle but also in your home. In addition to making preparations for nursery design and furnishings, you will have to take measures to ensure that your home is as safe as possible. The natural curiosity of children will lead them to explore everything within their reach. To enable a child to explore without compromising safety, parents should childproof their homes by the time their child is crawling.
As a designer and father of two kids, I know that most homes are not designed with small children in mind and, consequently, expose children to many hazards in their daily life. All homes have common hazard areas such as stairs, bathrooms, laundry rooms, electrical outlets and kitchens. In addition, the distinct features of your home can pose a safety risk for children. Some examples include: fireplaces, stair and deck railings, laundry chutes, and low windows.
Realistically, you cannot watch your child every second of every day to insure his or her safety, nor is it practical or healthy to say ‘NO’ all the time. Childproofing creates a safe environment in which your child can play and explore, and it also provides you with some peace of mind. Fortunately for parents, there are home safety products on the market to address almost every hazard within the home: cabinet locks, baby gates, electrical outlet covers, toilet locks, hearth pads, corner protectors, and many others.
The goal of childproofing your home is not to turn your home into a prison-like setting that completely inhibits a child’s ability to explore and develop. Rather, childproofing should balance such factors as safety, aesthetics, cost, child supervision level, and livability.
Of course the hazards a child is exposed to will vary with their stages of development. A passive three month old is exposed to many less hazards than an active eighteen month old. The following is a list of potential hazards based on age:
Up to four months:
Between five and seven months:
Between eight and twelve months:
Between one year and two years:
Written by Michael Hixson, President, KidSafe Inc.