Children are naturally inquisitive, and learning by exploring their environment is an integral and important part of a Teeny Tiny’s growth and development. They are uniquely vulnerable in their potential to experience unintentional accidents, due to their changing developmental skills. Your Teeny Tiny will want to explore every inch of your home especially if they have found new skills like crawling and pulling up to stand.
So now it’s time to take a look at your home through a safety lens thinking how can I make it a safe place for my Teeny Tiny to explore, grow, learn and develop.
Let’s start in the Kitchen – where parents spend a lot of their day. It may seem like a good idea to barricade off the kitchen with a “baby gate” however in my experience this just leads to a Teeny Tiny hanging off the gate shaking it, upset wanting to be where the action is at and of course to be with you.
So instead consider making your kitchen a safe place for baby to be with you.
- Drawers, consider keeping plastics, wooden spoons, tea towels and safe items for your Teeny TIny to access in the low drawers, allow me the opportunity to open and close drawers learning when I need to remove my fingers.
- Ovens – apparently you can get cool to touch oven doors now ! Wow – but not every home your Teeny Tiny is going to visit may have a cool to touch oven door so take your Tiny over to the oven and use the language hot – we all have a natural heat reflex where we pull away instinctually from heat. If you have a freestanding oven with a tea towel hanging over the front handle this can be very inviting for the new to crawling baby. Remove the tea towel and consider applying a safety latch to hold the oven door closed.
- Cleaning products – keep them up high out of reach out of sight and behind a lock. Especially dishwashing liquid/powder.
- Be aware of dog/cat water and food bowls, might be time to put them up high once the pooch has eaten, or feed the dog in the laundry behind closed doors.
- If you have a fire invest in a fireguard that is anchored to the floor.
- Install safety catches on low windows.
- Secure heavy furniture – using brackets or specialist restraint straps to secure the TV to the furniture it sits on. Some large book cases make great looking ladders to Teeny Tinies.
- Install a stair gate, preferable over a barrier – you put yourself in a hazardous position climbing over a barrier and you are also role modelling this action for any toddlers to copy you to do the same.
- Teach your Teeny Tiny how so “go down backwards” to learn stair safety. See this at our Come Catch me Crawler Workshop.
- Once your Teeny Tiny is competently crawling consider moving the stair gate down 3 or so stairs to allow them the opportunity to explore and master using stairs, - they will fast become a favourite place to play !
- Always supervise bath time and empty water after bath
- Non slip bathmats – I recommend investing in a couple to cover the entire base of your bath once your Teeny Tiny learns to pull up to stand and starts to cruise around the bath the whole base is then safe.
- Check that the water temp is no more than 55 degrees
- Always store toxic substances and medications (both children’s and adults) out of children’s sight and reach, in a high locked cupboard.
- Always remember child resistant packaging (including child resistant caps on medication) is not child proof, only child resistant
- Be aware of the plants in your garden. Keep poisonous plants out of reach of young children
- Cords on blinds (and also curtains) that are elsewhere in the home should be kept short and out of reach of children – tie up the cords or use a cleat, cord tidy, clips or ties.
- Get down to your child’s eye level and see what they can see, you will notice that most electrical plugs are at the eye level of a crawling baby this is why they are so interesting. Try Janet Lansbury’s approach
Let’s say our Teeny Tiny is approaching an unprotected electrical socket: instead of protesting with NO try this
a. Stay calm – walk calmly rather than run and scream
b. Acknowledge matter-of-factly: “I see you are interested in the plug”
c. Give a boundary: “I’m going to cover it with my hand”
d. Give a brief, respectful explanation: “This isn’t safe for you to touch”
e. Wait patiently for your child to accept the boundary or lose interest while holding the boundary
f. If your child persists (most of the time if you are calm, she won’t), continue to acknowledge: “you really wanted to check that out, but it isn’t safe, so my hand covers it. You’re trying to move my hand, but I’m going to keep it here and keep you safe.” If she cries, you might say, “You didn’t like that. Do you want a me to pick you up?”
Invite a crawling baby over and see what they get into being mindful that your baby has grown up with the pot plant in the corner and may have no interest, your friends crawling baby however may be very interested.
Baby Proofing doesn’t have to happen overnight and remember your home is your Teeny Tinys playground so take time, move furniture, close all the doors down the hall way – but know this you may just one day find your Teeny Tiny in the bathroom with all the toilet paper on the floor and their new teeth wrapped around the toilet brush Ewwwwwwwww.
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