Toddler-proofing your child's room
Your beautiful, lovingly decorated baby's nursery can become a hazardous playground when your little one starts toddling around. Forget carefully arranged displays of baby-related knick-knacks or heirloom dolls -- your toddler will want to be into everything in their room, especially when they learn to climb out of their cot! So put away the fragile items and take some of these tips for toddler-proofing their bedroom:
- Once your toddler is standing in their cot and crawling around, it's time to remove the mobile and any toys that hang down from the cot because they are strangulation hazards. Remove the bumper pads, as they can use them to climb up and out of the cot. Move the mattress to the lowest position.
- Keep the drop side of your child's cot up and locked every time they are in the cot, and even when they are not.
- When your child is 35 inches (about 89cm) tall, OR they can climb or fall over the side of their cot, it's time to think about moving them into a big bed. If your child is not quite ready for an adult-sized bed, you can ease the transition from a cot to a big bed by using a toddler bed or simply putting their cot mattress or a regular mattress on the floor to start.
- When your child moves to a big bed, they may need a guard rail fitted to prevent them rolling out. Remember that they are used to sleeping in enclosed spaces, so put some pillows or their cot mattress on the floor next to their big bed, just in case they manage to roll out.
- Once your child is older than 9 months, and especially when they are toddling around, their pyjamas and sleepwear should be snug-fitting. This is because T-shirts and other loose-fitting sleepwear, like nightgowns, catch fire more easily than tighter-fitting clothing, as there is less air between the child's skin and the clothing.
- Never leave your toddler unattended on the changing table. Toddlers are very wriggly and love to roll over and sit up on the changing table, so you may need to change their nappies on the floor for a while.
- Always keep baby changing supplies such as powder, lotion, nappy balm, baby oil, baby nail scissors, wipes, tissues, etc out of your child's reach.
- Choose low and sturdy furniture for your child's room, and secure tall or unwieldy furniture, such as bookcases and chests of drawers, to the wall with furniture braces. Toddlers love to climb on furniture and can pull heavy items down on themselves, causing serious injury.
- Always close open dresser drawers to keep your child from tripping over them, running into them, or using them to climb on.
- Check your child's toy chest to ensure that it has a spring-loaded hinge to prevent the lid from slamming down on little fingers. If you are using a handmade toy chest or an heirloom, consider replacing the old hinges with spring-loaded ones. Toy chests should also have air holes or other openings for ventilation, in case your child gets trapped inside.
- If your child's room doesn't already have one, install a smoke detector in their room.