When your little one starts crawling, it's time to make sure your home is safe for him to explore. Some safety tips might seem common sense, but there may be some hazards you haven't even considered, especially if this is your first baby
Baby safety around the house
- Fit loose mats and rugs with a rubber underlay to stop them slipping.
- Check all your furniture is stable and pad sharp corners. Get rid of that glass-topped table and don't use tablecloths – your baby could pull them off, along with everything sitting on them.
- Use fireguards, guards for hot radiators and socket covers for empty electrical sockets.
- Fit safety catches on cupboards and close, wedge open or put slam stoppers on doors.
- Put heavy objects such as books and ornaments out of reach.
- Cover plants that can't be put out of reach to stop tiny hands grabbing at soil. Also be aware that some plants and flowers are harmful, including autumn crocus and lily of the valley. The Royal Horticultural Society has more information on harmful plants here.
- Store away alcohol and all household cleaning products.
- Don't leave your baby unsupervised even if they are in a safe place, such as a playpen or carry cot, and even if you're just going to the loo.
Baby safety in the bathroom
- Keep all medicines in a lockable cupboard, and keep toiletries and beauty products, cleaning products, electric toothbrushes, razor blades and other sharp objects out of reach.
- Put down the toilet seat and lid.
- Keep your changing area tidy, with nappies, wipes and creams close at hand so you don't need to leave your baby unattended for a second, especially on a table he could fall from.
- Dress your baby in simple clothes, with no trailing or fussy bits to get tangled up in as he crawls.
Stair safety for babies
It's best to have a safety gate at both the top and bottom of the stairs.
Baby safety in the kitchen
- Fit childproof catches on cupboards, but leave at least one safe drawer or cupboard with a few pots and pans inside (but nothing breakable) for your baby to explore so he doesn't feel excluded as you work.
- Keep dangerous objects out of reach – not just cleaning fluids and knives, but plastic bags and clingfilm, too. Lock up the rubbish bin if you can – it may be just a bin to you, but to him it's a treasure trove.
- Put away the ironing board as soon as you've used it. Make sure there are no trailing leads from the kettle or iron.
- Use the rear rings on the stove, turn pan handles to the wall, don't leave a chip pan unattended and keep all hot things out of reach.
- Scan the room for small objects that your baby could choke on.
- And of course, when he's in his highchair, always do up the straps, and never leave him alone while he's eating or drinking.
"The other day I watched my son drag a chair across the kitchen, climb onto the counter and lift a bottle of Calpol out for his brother! Needless to say, that cabinet now has locks." Gail Owens