Childproofing: Keeping Up With Your Growing Baby

Our childproofing guide will help to keep you and your growing baby safe and make your lives easier.

The arrival of a new baby is a life-changing milestone for all parents.  As the little one grows, they begin to move about more and your sixth sense for potential danger increases. Simple things like leaving a hot mug on the coffee table become a possible cause for a trip to the emergency room. Use out childproofing guide to ensure your growing baby’s safety.

“From about nine months, a baby’s motor skills are more developed. They also have more control and movement of their bodies. At this age, babies can balance themselves when in a sitting position and move themselves to crawl without losing balance. They can stretch out to grasp an object within their reach”, explains Parenting and Pampers® Institute expert Sister Yolanda Mpilo.

Your baby’s grasp is also steadier and firmer, meaning they can hold on to a toy, or tug at a loose cloth. They are also more attentive to sounds and objects around them. Before you know it, your baby will be moving at more speed and into more spaces. This is the time to make sure you have covered all the basics of childproofing, beyond just the space in the house.

Sister Mpilo gives these simple, helpful, and life-saving childproofing guidelines.

Household

  • Put protectors around corners and sharp edges such as tables, television etc.
  • If your home has stairs, make sure to install a steady child safety gate, preferably at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Firmly fix movable furniture, such as a television or bookshelf, to the wall.
  • Garbage bins should be kept in a place where baby is not able to reach, for example, in a cupboard with locks.
  • All doors should always be closed or locked, so that baby cannot push open while crawling.
  • Dishwasher, fridge and cupboards should have childproof locks, with cleaning detergents/alcohol/vegetables and fruits safely locked inside.
  • Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
  • Loose cloths such as curtains and tablecloths should be placed in such a way that baby will not be able to reach, or grab and tug. This includes cords from blinds.
  • Make sure the floor is clear of any loose objects that baby can pick up while crawling, for example, loose coins, buttons.
  • If you have pets, make sure to put their food and water bowls, toys, and litter box out of reach of the baby.
  • Apply the same precautions to your outdoor area/garden.

Water safety

  • Never leave a child alone in a bathtub or in the care of another child.
  • Check water temperature before putting your baby in the bathtub. Because babies want to explore and climb over things, they might jump into hot water.
  • Babies love exploring and playing in water. Every household with a swimming pool should have a fence and a self-closing gate. Make sure you adhere to strict water-safety protocol.

Four ways to prevent drowning

  • Adult supervision
  • Fencing the pool
  • Covering the pool
  • Alarms (that should be used together with a fence and net)

Electronics

  • Always unplug and put away your electronics, for example, phone charger, hairdryer, especially when within reach of your little one.
  • Put covers on plugs that are located closer to the floor or at eye level of baby when they are crawling.
  • Loose cords for big electronics such as a television or sound system should be fastened in a plastic zip-tie.
  • Even if baby is not at that age where they can operate a cellphone, they may use it as a toy or suck on it. Make sure to always keep it locked, and activate parental control. Also, put it in a phone case and screen protector to protect it from baby’s drool.

In the car

  • In South Africa, it is illegal for a child under three years of age to travel without being strapped in a car seat. Also ensure that the seat you get meets the SABS specifications, and follow the instructions supplied by the manufacturer on how to install the seat.
  • Parents should put their little ones in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 24 months old. Should your car be involved in a high impact crash, the rear-facing seat will absorb the impact, protecting your little one’s neck and head. A child’s head takes up most of their overall weight, so if they are thrown forward in a crash, they risk sustaining serious (and fatal) injuries to their neck. The rear-facing seat offers the extra protection they need.
  • Secure all loose objects that are in the car. This is to ensure that no objects roll over while the car is in motion, and be within your child’s reach. Also, if the car comes to an abrupt stop, the object may collide with your baby and/or their car seat.
  • Also, consider a UV shield or protective film on the rear windows of your car to protect baby from the sun.

According to Childsafe South Africa, burns and falls account for about 17% of leading causes of death and injuries in younger children. The majority of these incidents occur in and around the home.