You know that your baby is going to start moving at about 9 months, so how does it still come as a surprise? I was certainly caught on the hop, my son suddenly moving around the house before I had a chance to get it baby safe. Like many parents in a rented home there was a limited amount we were allowed to do, and an even smaller budget, so we had to get imaginative. We found ourselves scurrying around the house changing things around, there's a lot you can do without spending a penny....
- Stairs. Until you are able to install a safety gate, keep the door shut so your baby stays in the room with you - even the loo!
- Windows. Move beds, chests of drawers, cabinets or anything else that a child can climb onto away from windows.
- Stove. Get in the habit of using the back burners of your stove and angling pan handles away from the edge.
- Hot drinks. Keep cups and any glass or china out of your child's reach in the centre of a table, and don’t carry your baby and hot drink at the same time.
- Poisons. Move household chemicals, medicines, and any other poisons out of lower cupboards and out of your child's reach.
- Choke hazards. Have a really good clean-up. Check under cupboards, beds etc. for small items that your child might find. Pull off the sofa cushions to find coins (always a bonus) etc. that may have fallen out of pockets un-noticed.
- Dirty nappies and other rubbish. Review where you keep refuse before throwing it out so that your child can't get to it (bins in the bathroom are often small and accessible to a child - and keep those new nappy sacks out of reach too).
- Plug sockets. Ensure that sockets are always switched off when not in use, and electrical items are not left where a child may find it and plug it in. For example, hairdryers/ straighteners and electric fires are often left next to plugs on the floor and can do enormous damage if a child inadvertently turns it on.
- Plants. Many plants are poisonous, and the way the leaves swish and move are fascinating to a child, so move them up and out the way for the time being, or lend larger ones to a friend for safekeeping.
- Look through your child's eyes. Get down on your knees so you can see what they see. What would you do if you were them? Some of the risks you can do something about immediately, others it is important to be aware of so you can keep a watchful eye.
Which of course leads naturally on to the most important bit of safety kit of all - you. Only by staying with and focusing on what your child is doing all of the time can your child ever really be safe - which is why parenting is such an enormously tiring job! Home safety products such as the Fred ones are a great second line of defence for when your attention slips, but your job will always be the most important one.