How to Baby-Proof Your Rental Home
When you have a little one on the way, something that’s likely to be at the forefront of your mind is child safety. As much as many of us wish we could, we can’t keep an eye on our small children 24/7, so making your home safe for them is absolutely essential. Baby-proofing your home is a rite of passage for any parent, but if you’re expecting your first, this task can seem overwhelming. If you’re a homeowner, you’ll be able to baby-proof your home without too many issues. If you’re a renter, however, you’ll probably have to consult with your landlord before making any sweeping changes. But remember, since the changes you’re making regard child safety, any reasonable landlord shouldn’t have any major objections to this. Read on for a few of our top tips that will ensure your home is ready to welcome a new arrival.
Child safety first
Your house may be perfectly safe for an adult to live in, but to make it safe for a little one, you need to keep child safety at the forefront of your mind. One quick exercise that can help you get into the right frame of mind is to physically get down to a small child’s eye level in each room. Is there anything within their reach that could be harmful? Getting into this mindset can really help you identify the hazards that you hadn’t even noticed before. Small objects tucked away under pieces of furniture are common culprits, as these present a choking hazard. You’ll be surprised how many small items are within the reach of a small child, so make sure these are moved to a safer location before your baby arrives.
Secure electrical hazards
A common hazard for small children is electrical plug sockets and cables. For some reason children love playing with plug sockets. It’s common for small children to push items - or even their fingers - into the socket, at great danger to themselves. Thankfully, this is easily fixed. Plastic plug socket covers are a cheap and effective way of nullifying this hazard almost entirely.
Cables are another issue. If they are within reach of children, they may play with them. The dangers associated with this are twofold; the risk of electrocution, and the risk of a piece of electronic equipment falling if they tug on a cable too hard. To avoid this, you can either reorganise your cables, taking them out of the child’s reach, or secure them to a flat surface with tape.
Look for any topple risks
Go around your home and have a look at your furniture. Place a hand on each piece and give it a light shake. Is there any chance it could topple over? If so, you need to secure it. Furniture anchors are a cost effective and practical way of securing your furniture, either to the floor or to a wall, so that your children can’t accidentally knock it over and hurt themselves.
Windows provide a number of safety concerns that new parents must consider. Maintaining airflow is vitally important, particularly if you live in a warmer climate. If you leave all windows closed during the summer, that can be particularly hazardous to a small child. However, leaving windows wide open can present a risk of falling, particularly if your home is not on the ground floor. Therefore, you need to find a balance between the two to ensure your child is safe. A simple way of doing this is by installing child safety window locks that only allow windows to open a certain amount. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to ensure that the windows don’t open any more than 10cm. If you have blinds, they likely have a cord used to operate them. This is hazardous to small children, so make sure you secure it in a place that’s out of reach. By drilling a hook into the wall, you can hang cords there after use, well out of reach from small hands.
Keep hazardous items out of reach
There are many everyday items throughout the home that can be hazardous to small children. Alcoholic beverages, medicines, and cleaning products are all items that could lead to a trip to the hospital if your child consumes them by accident. There are two steps you should take to ensure that these are kept away from your child. Firstly, make sure they are kept in a place that is out of their reach. Secondly, secure the cupboard they’re kept in with cupboard locks. This way, even if your child does somehow manage to reach the cupboard, they won’t be able to get inside.
Install Pressure Mounted Baby Gates
While all of the above tips will help you deal with individual hazards, sometimes there is no option but to keep a child out of a room altogether. That may be because a room has many hazards that it is impractical to baby proof - such as the garage. On the other hand, it could be because you’re carrying out a hazardous activity that you don’t want your child to be present for, cooking for example. Installing pressure mounted baby gates can solve this issue, helping you to keep them away from hazards throughout the home. They are also able to neatly spool to one side when not in use, ensuring that the walkway is not blocked, and therefore not creating a new hazard.
A baby gate is installed onto the door frame between two rooms in your home. It can then be opened and closed at will. They should be strategically placed throughout the home, either to block off access to hazardous areas, or keep your child in areas that are hazard free. This means that you can step away from supervising your child for a short time, safe in the knowledge that they are not in any danger.