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Everyone knows about baby proofing your home, but what about Toddler proofing?! Toddlers can cause MUCH more damage than babies – plus they’re faster, taller and stronger. The second your toddler starts, well, toddling, it’s time to get into gear and make your home safe!
This is a simple one, and possibly one of the first things to come to mind when you think about how to toddler proof your home. When your baby started pulling up and crawling, you might have moved your decorative items just out of reach, or a little higher, but when you have a toddler on your hands… nothing is safe. In order to toddler proof your home you will need to consider that toddlers will climb, jump and do ANYTHING to get their hands on your beautiful, shiny ornaments. My top tip: shelves are your best friend. Pop some floating shelves high on the wall and your ornaments, photos and whatever else takes your fancy have a safe, toddler proof home.
An essential for both baby proofing and toddler proofing: cupboard locks! Kitchen cupboards and drawers are apparently the most interesting treasure troves full of utensils and cutlery aplenty. You can get clip on cupboard locks or magnetic cupboard locks – we use both. Double check that things that could be dangerous – knives, cleaning products, medicine, alcohol etc are all either out of reach or safely tucked away in a locked cupboard.
PS – don’t forget about the fridge and freezer, too, because once your toddler learns where their food comes, they’ll definitely try to start getting it for themselves!
The second your child can reach the actual door handle, you have a problem on your hands: your child now has complete free reign of ALL the rooms, not just the one you leave them in, and not just the little cupboards inside them. An easy way to combat this is to install locks or chains onto doors. Now, I’m certainly NOT suggesting locking your child in a room, but if, for example, you need your child to stay out of the study whilst you or your partner are on important conference calls, then installing a lock might be a good idea – they can tug on the handle all they like but there’s no way they’ll be able to get in and ruin that conference call!
This sounds like an odd one, but hear me out – toddlers like to bash things, they like to test boundaries and they like to throw things. Something we often overlook that can be easily damaged and dangerous if it breaks? Glass! I recommend examining all the glass in your house and checking for any chips or cracks, and replacing them if you find any. If you have any glass at height which could be a risk – think balcony glass doors on a second floor or glass stair balustrades – you might want to consider investing in toughened glass. Check out this UK based toughened glass manufacturer and supplier to get more information about how toughened glass can make your home safer.
My son has always loved the washing machine, so I discovered this little trick quite early on – many household appliances have child locks! Yep, you heard me. If you’ve ever been in a situation where your child has repeated the rinse cycle for 4 hours straight, you’ll be relieved to know that your washing machine is likely to have child lock. Check the manual, have a google, or look on your appliance for a little lock symbol pointing to the buttons you need to press and hold to activate the child lock. Even some ovens have child lock – meaning your child can turn the knobs all they like, but there’s no risk of them burning the house down. Who knew?!
If you have blinds in your home, you’ll be familiar with the annoying as hell cords that dangle down. One thing you probably haven’t considered – they look like SO much fun for toddlers, but can be very dangerous. Now, I don’t want to scare you, but as parent, it’s our duty to be aware of the potential risks to our children. In the UK, one or two children every year die from looped cords on blinds. If you have looped blind cords, make sure they are fixed to the wall and not dangling free. If you have loose cords, wind them around a fixing so that they are not dangling free.
If you’ve already baby proofed, the likelihood is that you’ve already put some corner guards on any low down corners, like TV units, coffee tables and skirting board corners. But don’t forget that your job isn’t finished there – as your baby grows into a taller, stronger toddler, they’ll be able to reach new heights – and so more pieces of furniture may need looking at. Get down on the floor on your knees, at toddler height – you might notice corners that you missed from your normal height. Look at the tables, radiators, radiator covers, door handles, desks. If your toddler was to run, trip and fall, what would they hit? Make a list, and put corner or edge protectors on all of them.