Keeping babies and toddlers safe at home is naturally something that new parents focus on. Whether you have a curious crawler or a toddler on a mission to explore your home, having a designated play area they can call their own makes it easier to have other rooms, like the laundry room, be off limits. This area can be in a separate room in your home or use an existing room, like the living room. Following these tips will help get you started.
Creating a Safe Space for Play
Quick TipFor higher traffic areas of your home, a walk-through gate allows for easier parental access to the rest of the house.
See the World Through a Child’s Eyes
An important first step is to see your home from your child’s perspective. This means getting down on your hands and knees and looking around. You might notice a stray paperclip, hair pin, or bottle cap on the floor under a table or bed that could be missed from your adult height. These items present choking risks and need to be removed. Pay attention to the height of your child’s reach. Make sure that pointed or sharp items such as pencils, scissors, or keys are stored up high where your toddler can’t reach. If you can, this is a good time to move these objects away from the play area.
Making Furniture Safe
Pay special attention to the furniture because it presents different challenges for young children. Toddlers constantly use furniture to brace themselves while learning to walk. They also enjoy climbing on top of furniture. Use furniture guards on the sharp, pointed edges of wooden tables and bookcases to prevent bumps and bruises. Secure items such as dressers and television stands to the wall with brackets or furniture straps to keep them from tipping over onto your child. Make sure all buttons or decorative accents found on sofas or chairs are secure to reduce the likelihood of them coming off, which could present a choking hazard. Consider removing throw pillows or other items with these types of decoration out of the play area.
Toddlers and Electronics
Keep all cords from electronics out of reach of children. Use flat outlet covers for all unused outlets, and use box type plug covers, such as the Safety 1st Outlet Cover, to protect toddlers from outlets that have electronics plugged in. It is also beneficial to strategically place furniture so that it blocks visibility of outlets. Take care to keep little fingers away from portable fans and heaters, or keep these items out of the areas where your toddler is free to play.
The best toys for young children are those that support intellectual growth and development while stimulating natural curiosity. These toys make use of vibrant colors, are smooth to the touch, and can easily be manipulated by small hands. Toys selected for your child should be age- appropriate. Age ratings on toys are a helpful safety feature. Toys intended for a 3-year-old could present a choking hazard for children ages 2 and younger due to small removable parts, or items like buttons or beads that may come loose. It is a good idea to stay at or below age ratings with toys you give to your toddler. Toys received as gifts can be stored until your child reaches the appropriate age.
It’s impossible to be with your child 100% of the time, but nothing is better than supervision where safety is concerned. Consider a second baby monitor for use in the play area. This gives you the freedom to be in another area of your home and still keep in touch with what’s happening with your little one.