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SAFETY 1st: How to Baby-Proof Your Home When Your Kids Keep Getting Smarter

Children are curious by nature – and some are more adventurous than others.  As parents, you do what you can to find the right balance between protecting them from dangers they may not understand and letting them explore and learn the world their own way.

Knowing your child, their unique personality, and their potential to get into things are some of the first things to think about when baby-proofing your home.  Even if you’ve had no issues avoiding hazards with one child, the next child may behave very differently.  You’ll want to be as proactive as possible with baby-proofing but recognize there will always be areas you will have to react to after careful observation as well, as you get to know the personality of each child.

You’ll also need to look at your house and the items in it from a different perspective.  Dangers that are learned and obvious to you may look attractive and inviting to children.  Their physical point of view is also different from yours.  Hazards that are hidden from your sight could be at eye-level for them.  Get on your hands and knees to see what they see at that level and the potential hidden dangers such as electrical cords, choking hazards, sharp edges, and electrical outlets that may be enticing to them.

Keep in mind that children live in a world of play and imagination.  An electrical socket may look like a happy face that’s inviting to touch.  A dresser may suddenly transform into a staircase to climb when the drawers are pulled out.  Colourful cleaning liquids look like appealing sugary drinks.

Adult supervision and restricting access to dangers are some of the ways to protect children until theyremoved completely to higher shelves out of reach, or rooms children are become old enough to understand and respect the dangers on their own.  Rooms that are prone to multiple hazards (bathrooms, garages) should be completely off limits without active adult supervision. In other areas of the house,

  • access can be restricted with gates, door knob covers, or locks and latches for cupboard door and drawers;
  • hazardous items (cleaners, alcohol, medication, batteries) should be not allowed in;
  • curtain strings, outlets covers, and electrical cords can be hidden, covered, and tucked together and away;
  • large appliances like TVs and furniture that can tip over should be secured to walls with straps.

Children learn by observation and naturally want to mimic what adults do, so particular activities like cooking and grooming should be done keeping this in mind.  Place pan handles towards the back and away from the edge of the stove so they can’t be grabbed from below.  Keep hot things or sharp materials like scissors out of reach.  Constantly reinforce which things are out of bounds to the children to help teach them to be aware of the dangers.

As children grow they will become bolder, taller, faster, stronger, and even more creative and persistent.  Home safety and baby-proofing is never a ‘one-and-done’ activity.  It is an incremental process as they grow and learn.  Solutions that have worked in the past may become obsolete as children learn how to overcome safety barriers.

A new innovative product from Safety 1st recognizes that children can learn to overcome barriers placed there for their protection.  The Safety 1st OutSmart™ product line has a large decoy button that children assume is the key to provide access to what they want to get into.  The real mechanism that adults can use to get access is hidden from view under the flexible surface.  There are a variety of Safety 1st ® OutSmart™ products with this feature now available here at Babies ‘R’ Us and more on the way.

As the saying goes, a little prevention can go a long way.  Making yourself aware of the potential hazards around your home and taking steps to manage them can help reduce accidents when you’re momentarily distracted and still enable you to let your child explore and express their creativity in a safe environment.

For a complete assortment of baby-proofing essentials, gates, and other Safety 1st® products to keep you baby safe – check here.

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