Is Your Baby Safe at Home

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As a parent, you sometimes wish you had eyes at the back of your head as well, so you could watch over your kids all the time. But if you baby-proof your home well, you don’t have to worry about everything.
Sunita Chellam-Tejus shares some practical tips

There is no single rulebook to follow when it comes to child-proofing a home. Just trust your instincts and go with it. Get a baby’s point of view—go down on your knees and see what a room looks like from down there and see what unobvious corners could be potential danger zones for your child. Remember that no home can be entirely child proofed. All you can do is keep your eyes and ears open. And follow these simple tips.

NOW SCANNING:

YOUR LIVING ROOM

Potential hazards
• Electric sockets
• Wires
• Breakable curios
• Plants

Safety checklist

• Look out for sharp corners of centre pieces, dining tables, and even sofas. Pankaj Patel, Mumbaibased interior designer, says, “Ensure that your furniture has rounded edges to prevent your kids from getting injured.”
• Keep wires beyond a child’s reach, to prevent entanglement, electric shocks etc.
• Electrical sockets are the biggest safety concern. “The plug points should not be at a lower level and all open sockets should be blocked so your child doesn’t stick her fingers in them,” says Shantanu Vichare, Mumbai-based interior designer.
• Objets d’art made of ceramic or glass can be potentially unsafe if they’re within a child’s reach.
• It’s best to keep plants in your balcony or on your window sill, instead of on the floor. Since children love to climb, they might get their hands muddy or eat the leaves that will leave them with an upset stomach.
• If possible, fasten or nail bookcases and other tall pieces of furniture to the wall so that your baby can’t pull them down.
• Always check the floor for small objects that a baby could swallow like nails, buttons, coins and small toy parts.

NOW SCANNING:

YOUR BEDROOM

Potential hazards
• Cosmetics like perfumes and creams
• Medicines

Safety checklist

• Your kids’ beds need to be built out of sturdy, durable wood that will last a lifetime. Pankaj adds, “Ensure that your kids’ beds are low. They could have wooden railings on the sides, which will keep them from falling off
the bed.”
• Keep deodorants, perfumes and creams inside your cupboard, with their lids closed tightly. Better still, have an enclosed dressing area that a crawling baby or toddler can’t get into.
• If you keep your medicine kit in any room, make sure it’s under lock and key when not needed.
• You can use baby safety products, such as baby monitors, if your child is in another room. If you live in a house that has multiple storeys, make sure you install safety gates at strategic points on staircases, to help prevent falls.

NOW SCANNING:

YOUR BATHROOM

Potential hazards
• Shampoos, soaps and cleaning supplies that contain poisonous chemicals
• Water heater
• Buckets filled with water
• Aroma candles

Safety checklist

• The first thing you must do is to ensure that your bathroom is an accidentfree zone. Keep your bathroom dry at all times. In fact, you can also have anti-skid tiles on your bathroom floor, to prevent any nasty slips or falls.
• Before giving your baby a bath, always check the temperature of the water.
• It should not be very hot, otherwise it could scald your child’s delicate skin.
• Always lock your bathrooms and ensure that locks and door handles are at a height. “Nowadays, you get
great-looking, aluminium handles that don’t hurt even if you bump into them,” says Shantanu. “I highly recommend these in homes that have kids and elderly people.”
• Keep empty buckets overturned in bathrooms. Also, never keep buckets filled to the brim, as, unsupervised infants can easily stand up, fall in and drown.
• Always switch off the geyser when not in use. Most children can’t identify the difference between hot and cold water taps. Kids could get badly scalded if they open the hot water tap by mistake.
• Make sure to install toilet lid locks. Babies are usually fascinated by toilet seats.

NOW SCANNING:

YOUR KITCHEN POTENTIAL HAZARDS

• Gas cylinder
• Gas stove
• Sharp objects like forks and knives
• Heavy objects like ovens, microwaves and food processors
• Cleaning detergents

Safety checklist

• Always keep the kitchen clean. Grimy kitchen floors and platforms can breed bacteria, which can make your baby sick.
• Keep your fridge shut or oven door locked at all times. Similarly, it’s best to go for ovens and dishwashers that come with latches to avoid mishaps.
• Your kitchen garbage should always be kept in a latched cabinet, so that your child cannot reach it.
• While cooking, turn the handles of pots and pans towards the rear of the stove and away from your child. Also, if possible, use the back burners first.
• When not in use, store sharp objects like forks and knives, breakable items, and cleaning agents under lock and key.
• Always keep your kitchen drawers and cabinet doors shut. Your baby’s curious fingers can get pinched rather badly if you don’t.

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