Becoming a new parent is an exciting yet often overwhelming time. There’s so much to think about! Making sure that your home is safe for your little one should be a top priority.
Have you ever crawled around your home to see what things look like from a baby’s perspective? It may sound weird, but one of the first things you should do as a new parent – while your baby is still safely swaddled in the earliest months of his or her life – is literally crawl around your home and scope out the safety situation.
From sharp corners to hot oven doors, from stairs to curtain cords, there are many risks and hazards that can safely be removed during your little one’s early years. You can find a good overview of all the ways to child-proof your home over at BetterHealth. Here, we explore some important things to consider when it comes to power outlets, batteries and electrical appliances.
Baby-proofing your power outlets
There is a risk that babies and toddlers could poke a conductive material – such as the tip of a metal spoon or fork – into a power outlet and potentially get an electric shock. To minimise this risk, it’s advised that you:
- Cover up all power outlets that aren’t in use – note that individual plastic plugs aren’t recommended because they are a choking hazard. Rather, you can get plastic covers for the whole outlet that screw into the wall, do this with caution or seek the help of an electrician.
- Try to hide power outlets with plugs in them – for example, rearrange furniture so that your couch or bookcase is in front of them.
- Tuck electrical cords out of sight – look at the cords coming out of power outlets, too. Try to tuck them out of sight, cover them with rugs and so on. Whilst protecting them from little fingers, you’re protecting them from wear and tear, too. Also make sure there are no cords dangling down from benchtops – a toddler could pull on the cord, causing a heavy appliance to topple down and hurt them.
Removing the risk of button batteries
Button batteries – the tiny batteries that are used in things like watches, calculators, keys, talking books and more – can pose a serious risk if swallowed by young children. The battery can get stuck in their throat and burn through the oesophagus in less than two hours.1
Go through your house and locate all objects or items that use button batteries. You should then either:
- Store them safely out of reach of little fingers
- Secure the casing so that the battery cannot be removed
- Safely dispose of the battery and/or object.
Checking your electricity circuit
Before your new bundle of joy comes along, make sure you’re happy with the configuration of your safety switch on your electricity circuit. You can test this by either tripping the switch manually and then going around the house to see where the power’s gone out or, if you’re not confident in doing this yourself, get an electrician to test it for you.
You may discover that some circuits in your home are not protected by a safety switch. If that’s the case, then you could consider getting safety switches installed on those circuits too. It just adds another layer of protection in case a dangerous leak in the circuit occurred.
The final word
As a new parent, you want to do all you can to protect your baby. Making sure that your home’s electrical appliances, power outlets and batteries are safely out of reach or covered up is an important part of child-proofing your home.
- “Button batteries – a little known risk | Kidsafe Victoria.” https://www.kidsafevic.com.au/home-safety/button-batteries. Accessed 17 October 2018.