The minute your little one starts moving independently is hugely exciting but also nerve racking! Suddenly the world and your home can seem plagued with potential dangers.
But with a bit of careful pre-planning you can save yourself a lot of worry and allow your little explorer greater freedom to safely discover their surroundings. Below are our top ten tips for securing your home during the fearless toddler years!
- Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are choc full of potentially hazardous substances. Unfortunately they’re also often at under-sink, hand grabbing sight. Given that it’s not realistic to watch like a hawk every second of the day, buy yourself peace of mind by fitting safety locks on all cabinets that contain substances such as medicines, cleaning products, alcohol and decorating supplies
- As your little one gets faster on their feet (or knees!) they’ll love roaming ever further around your house. Investing in door stops is a great and very inexpensive way of protecting little fingers from nasty hinge trapping incidents as they move from room to room
- Stairs will be like a magnet for your intrepid explorer! Seal them off with a locking gate like our Retractable Safety Gate. These can also be used to contain your child in a safe room
- Young children love the feeling of power that comes with ‘operating’ something! But unfortunately many of those things come with small button batteries that are harmful if swallowed so keep remote controls, key fobs and watches etc. out of sight
- When your toddler progresses from a cot to a bed it’s a big milestone moment. They will love the feeling of growing up and freedom associated with their ‘big bed’. However, it’s important to remember that many toddlers still move around far more than adults in their sleep and need some protection to stop them falling out of bed. Once upon a time bed rails were rigid, hard to assemble and unattractive to look at but now bed rails like our Grow with Me Bed Rails require minimal assembly, can be colour co-ordinated to your child’s bedroom and are easy to fold down for bed time stories or for changing bed linen
- Your little one will be fascinated by you cooking and will all too soon be able to reach up and tip over saucepan handles with devastating results. Save yourself worry by using the back hobs of your oven whenever possible and by always turning saucepan handles away from the edge of your worktop
- Young babies and children’s sensitive skin can scald in seconds. Save yourself the worry of what might happen if they touch scalding hot, running water by turning your thermostat down – many now have child safety settings
- Toddlers are notorious climbers! Make sure that even if they do use furniture as steps they don’t come to significant harm by securing heavy furniture to walls using brackets and braces. A lot of furniture now comes with these security devices but they’re also easy to source online. Remember to also move climbable furniture away from windows (or keep windows that can be easily reached locked at all times)
- Your little one’s airways are so much smaller than yours. Reduce their risk of choking by: i. being there to supervise all eating, even snacking; ii.cutting all food – even small food like grapes – into tiny pieces; iii. keeping them strapped in a highchair while they eat so they can’t choke while they’re running, jumping or playing. A fold flat travel highchair like our Sit n Style Seat ensures that you always have a safe place for them to eat whether you’re at home or on the go
- Whilst there is nothing that will keep your little explorer safer than your watchful presence this isn’t possible 100% of the time. After all, even parents need to answer the door or phone and visit the toilet once in a while! Investing in a lightweight folding playpen like our Pop n Play Portable Playpen, means that you’ve always got a totally secure place to pop your intrepid explorer in when you need to disappear out of sight for a few minutes. And because our playpen is ultra lightweight and comes with its own handy travel bag it’s ideal for taking on holidays or days out as well…
We hope these tips bring you some peace of mind and allow you to give your little adventurer that bit more scope to explore their surroundings confidently, happily and safely.
WHEN YOU NEED TO LET YOUR INTREPID LITTLE ADVENTURER EXPLORE
Walt Disney once famously said: ‘When you’re curious you find lots of interesting things to do’. Never will this be truer than during your little ones toddler years! Your little adventurer will have an almost insatiable curiosity for the world around them. And that curiosity will lead them to climb everything, explore everything, clamber into everything, touch everything, taste everything and grab everything in sight.
When you’re a parent, your overwhelming instinct is to keep them safe. That instinct often means that you want to stop them doing these things, especially when they’re often not ‘normal’ behaviour by our own standards. After all we don’t climb furniture, pull everything out of cupboards, prod every surface or stick everything straight in our mouths! Of course knowing when to say no is a crucial part of your role as a parent.
And if your child is in any danger at all it’s important that you remove them from it immediately and explain why you’re doing that, so they can learn from the experience. But it’s also important to remember that although absolutely exhausting and sometimes dangerous a toddler’s curiosity is also crucial to their development. Allowing carefully supervised exploration is key to them:
- Using and developing their senses
- Understanding how things work and what their role is in the world
- Gaining a sense of what is safe and what is dangerous
- Having plenty of daily physical activity
- Gaining an appreciation for the world around them
- Growing in confidence in themselves
So how can you strike the right balance? The key words are watchful supervision! Be as observant, present and alert as you can be because your little one simply won’t be aware of potential dangers in the way you are. But try to relax enough to give them the space to be themselves, to learn how to use their new and developing skills and to employ their natural curiosity (even if it sometimes ends in mess, frustration or comical results).
Yes – it’ll be tiring. And yes – there will be times when you just want to scream, shout ‘no’ or just lift them away from something for the 97th time! But if you can give your child safe ‘space’ to roam you’re giving them a real gift that will enable them to get the very most out of their lives ahead and you’ll also be rewarded with magical glimpses into their completely fresh, untainted wonder at the world around them.