With two young kids that thankfully have avoided serious injury so far, I thought I would pass on the following low-tech tips to new moms and dads. Some of these tips are already well-known but hopefully there’s something here that you might not otherwise have thought about:
- Electrical Safety
Starting with the obvious, outlet covers can minimize the chance for a bad accident. I found it difficult to make the plugs and wires for all devices (lamps, computers, etc.) completely inaccessible to crawlers, but I tried to minimize potential trouble. For example, I put my computer power strip up on my desk rather than on the floor. I also tried to teach “NO!” when it comes to playing with wires.
- Sharp Objects Safety
Another obvious tip, keep dangerous objects out-of-reach. One product that helped us do this was a magnetic knife board. We chose the Norpro 12 Inch Magnetic Knife Tool Bar and it definitely came in handy once our daughter started pushing chairs around to stand on so she could reach the counters.
- Small Objects Safety
Keeping small objects off the floor where infants can grab them and put them in their mouths seems obvious enough. However, it becomes more difficult if you have both an infant and a toddler. Since my toddler leaves stickers all around, I’ve had to retrieve stickers from my baby’s mouth on several occasions. I don’t really have any advice for this one other than frequent patrols and keeping a close watch on your baby.
- Drawer Locks
Related to keeping dangerous objects out-of-reach, drawer locks can discourage access to kitchen drawers but shouldn’t be relied upon as fail-safe. Here’s a model similar to what we have; I linked to this one because it got more stars than the ones we have: Safety 1st 14 Pack Wide Grip Latches
- Baby Gates
I knew I had to install a baby gate at the top of the stairs and I highly recommend the Kidco Safeway Gate for a top-of-the-stairs gate. Less obvious, but very important once babies can climb stairs, is one for the bottom of the stairs. Our house has a wide pass-through and I found this Summer Infant Extra Tall Decorative Walk-Thru Gate, which fits wide spaces and has served us well. We previously had a different model but it didn’t fit well and was knocked down multiple times.
- Fireplace Safety
We have a stone fireplace hearth that would definitely hurt if you fell and hit your face on a corner of it so I bought and installed this Prince Lionheart Fireplace Guard with Two Corners. The foam didn’t fit exactly but was easy to cut for a custom fit.
- Door Safety
Probably most avoidable minor accidents that we’ve had involve an adult opening a door with a small child behind it. When doors have windows, I peek down through the window before opening it. For other doors, I open them slowly. It may take awhile to form these habits, but once you whack your kid with a door a couple of times it will come naturally. I’m also trying to teach our older daughter that doors aren’t toys, but that’s a lesson we’re still working on.
- Toddler Handrail
There’s no way to know if the toddler handrail I installed has prevented any accidents, but my daughter definitely uses it when on the stairs and it is much easier to reach for her than the regular adult handrail. See my toddler handrail post for a few more details.
- Ceiling Fan Safety
What father can resist hoisting his baby in the air? It’s a great joy for both father and child, but be sure not to do it underneath a ceiling fan!
As always, please feel free to add any other suggestions in the comments!