In their head, they can do it all by themselves. If you make sure your house is toddler safe, then you can let them get on with exploring their new world and being the independent little person they want to be.
Accidents do happen but there are lot of easy ways to minimise them. Here are 6 common safety hazards and my tips to avoid them.
1 Corners and edges
I chased my sister into the corner of the fireplace when we were little and she still bears the scar on her forehead! To avoid nasty cuts or more seriously, damage to eyes, you can buy corner and edge bumpers to put on the main offenders like coffee table corners, fireplace hearths and low window sills.
2 Poisons and choking hazards
Young children explore with their mouth so anything around the home that could be poisonous such as medications, cleaning products and alcohol should be kept in locked cabinets. It’s not enough to keep them in a higher cabinet as kids love to climb!
Small objects such as coins, batteries and small toys can be easily popped into the mouth before anyone notices. Continually look around the house for anything that can be swallowed and cause a choking hazard and put it away from your toddler’s reach.
Also, you should always be present when your child is eating. Often they don’t chew their food properly so there is always the risk that a chunk of food will get stuck on the way down. Often a thump to the back will dislodge a stuck bit of food but it’s good to do your homework on what to do if your child starts to choke.
3 Falls on stairs and from windows
Toddlers don’t have a sense of height so stairs and windows are a major hazard in the home. If you have stairs, it’s definitely worth putting a stair gate at the top and one at the bottom to stop curious climbers. Also, make sure there are no chairs or other furniture near a window a curious toddler can climb onto. If there is a low window that opens and they can reach it, consider installing a lock so that the window opens less than 10cms. Or install window guards that screw into the sides of the window frame.
4. Straps, window blind and curtain cords
A friend’s niece in London died when she somehow got the straps of a back pack, that was hanging on her door, around her neck. You can’t imagine how they do it, but kids can get caught up in the straps of bags, window blinds and curtain cords and strangle themselves.
Children don’t understand that a cord or chain wrapped around their neck can tighten and strangle them in just a few minutes if they sit down, roll around or climb down to the floor. So make sure you keep all loose blind and curtain cords, particularly ones with loops and any other straps away from your toddler’s reach.
5. Falling objects such as cabinets and TVs
Climbing just seems to be in some kid’s nature and when they’re little, there are lots of cool things to climb in the house. So make sure that tall cupboards and bookcases are attached to the wall so they can’t fall on a toddler attempting to climb up them. Also make sure furniture such as TVs cannot fall over if used as leverage for a wobbly toddler.
6. Hot spots
I have a fear of irons so have always been ultra careful when the iron is out, the thought of a toddler pulling the cord of an iron and it toppling down onto them is horrendous. The same with a pot of boiling water on the stove so where possible, use the back burners when using the stove and turn handles away from a toddler’s reach. Other items you want to make sure your toddler can’t grab are electrical gadgets on counters such as the toaster and food processor in the kitchen, and the hair dryer and curling iron in the bathroom. Keep such items away from the edge of benches so that they’re beyond your toddler’s grasp.