with Carolyn Ziegler, Co-Founder and Product Development Director of Dreambaby?, the child safety and care brand.
Why is childproofing important?
Childproofing is important for many reasons but one of the most important is that it helps reduce the anxiety and stress around keeping little ones safe. Dreambaby?s tag line is actually ?Growing Safely? ? what this means is that we want little ones to grow in an environment that is safe but which still allows them to develop. That?s what childproofing does ? it allows kids to explore which is the way they learn ? but allows parents peace of mind that they have reduced most of the risk or harm to their child. Nothing replaces proper adult supervision, of course but safety products are there to help reduce these risks and potential injuries that can occur in everyday life.
What are the most important steps you can take to childproof?
Right from the beginning invest in blind cord wind-ups. They keep blind cords out of the reach of babies in their cots and from older siblings in general. Over-long cords can be very hazardous and lead to strangulation. But remember to keep cots and beds away from windows and window fittings whenever possible.
Once children become mobile, there are the obvious steps – block off power points with outlet plugs and move sharp objects, knives and poisons including medicines up and out of reach. Watch out for the sharp corners on tables. Get down on all fours and look up at the world from the point of view of a crawling child. It?s amazing the hidden dangers you will immediately identify.
What would you consider to be a potential safety hazard in and around the home?
I don?t want to scare you but there are many hazards throughout the home so it?s important to take precautions and with preparation, a lot can be improved on safety wise.
However, with preparation, a lot can be improved on safety wise. Move regular medications usually kept in the bathroom or beside your bed up and out of reach of a child, and preferably locked away. Keep children out of cabinets and drawers by properly securing them with child locks and latches. Prevent doors slamming on little fingers by securing them using a door stop or under door gripper. Preparation and recognizing the potential issues is what it?s all about. Remember though, every house is different, and every child is too. Your child may never even look twice at a cabinet, but what about that visiting cousin or friend? They may have other ideas so make sure your home is secured for all children not just your own.
What should we look out for?
We need to look out for the obvious and the hidden dangers. Remember children learn and discover the world by experiencing things so we need to ensure that they are not able to get hold of a knife from the drawer, or unplug the computer, or pull on that tablecloth ? so be aware at all times to help avoid all of these situations. Preparation, moving things out of reach, locking things away, using a gate, keeping children within site, and only allowing your child to be supervised by a trustworthy and loving adult are all important precautions.
If the lounge/living room is the child’s play area do you recommend not having a coffee table at all?
Choose either a very rounded cornered table that is really solidly made (NO GLASS), or nothing at all. Remember to also keep an eye on any food and coffee that you place on your table as they can be a choking or poisoning hazard of their own, and especially dangerous if a child as allergies.
What about falling furniture?
Children can be crushed from falling furniture. Nowadays furniture is designed with all the features at the front for aesthetic reason but the backs are very flimsy. It?s simple physics that they topple. Always secure heavy furniture with straps or anchors. And make sure you install them correctly. You need to follow the instructions and always secure them to a solid part of the furniture and a solid part of the wall. And don?t forget about free-standing flat screen TVs ? always secure them with straps.
I actually did a recent interview on this topic for Studio 10 if you want to know more check it out on our home page: http://www.dreambaby.com.au
What about Windows? Should they always be kept shut for safety reasons?
All windows need to have window locks installed but remember installing window locks does not mean that you can no longer open a window just that it can?t be opened past 10 cm (in the case of our window locks) so children can?t fall out. One thing parents and carers need to realise is that fly window screens do not substitute for child window safety locks or bars. They can be easily pushed out by a toddler.
It?s also important that grandparents, aunties, cousins and friends who you visit often have these window locks in place too as many falling accidents – and there are up to 50 a year ? happen in other people?s homes.
One last thing ? nothing replaces adult supervision so always keep your children in sight. It?s the best way to ensure your child is safe.
Visit the Dreambaby? website – www.dreambaby.com.au – for safety product suggestions and solutions or Call (02) 9386 4000. And be part of the safety conversation: @dreambabysafety #dreambabysafety @bigwaustralia #bigwaustralia