Life is one big adventure for toddlers. Pippa Henderson has Prepared a checklist to ensure your home is safe for exploration.
Very early one morning, when my youngest was a toddler, I stirred from sleep to the feeling of a little person playing with my hand, and then dropped back into slumber. An hour or so later, I woke to discover I was holding a pizza cutter that was meant to be safe in the kitchen drawer. I’d been caught red-handed: Mrs Henderson, in the bedroom, with a pizza cutter. Mack’s silent message was loud and clear: not only did he want pizza for breakfast, but it was also time to toddler-proof our home.
I remember feeling surprised that I had slept through the pizza cutter incident, but recently I was even more surprised to learn that kitchen implements aren't the only thing we're unaware of while we slumber – we also lose our sense of smell. Fire and Emergency New Zealand shed more light on this over the page and their message is such a good reminder – when taking safety measures around the home, it is important to look for both obvious and not-so-obvious hazards.
As your little one progresses from floor-bound baby to furniture-surfing toddler, their curious little bodies investigate every household nook and cranny faster than their developing brains can process danger. It’s impossible to cover a full list of precautionary measures, but here are a few to cover your bases and get you thinking about potential risks – and what should be done about them!
AROUND THE HOUSE
✔️Secure large pieces of furniture, such as bookcases, to the wall.
✔️Cover sockets with plug blocks.
✔️Get a non-slip mat for the bath.
✔️Prevent fingers getting jammed with doorstops or slam guards.
✔️Keep appliances away from the edge of the bench, and cords out of reach.
✔️Keep pot handles away from the front of the stove.
✔️Install safety latches on drawers and cupboards with dangerous contents.
✔️Install a stair gate.
✔️Stick window decals on ranch sliders and large low windows.
✔️Keep strings from blinds and curtains tucked up and away.
✔️Use fireplace and heater guards, and keep matches and fire-starters out of reach.
✔️Look around the house and remove any choking hazards from reach (eg batteries, coins, magnets and Lego).
✔️Keep the lid on the toilet seat down.
✔️If you have bunks, use a removable ladder so your toddler can’t climb up.
✔️Install window security latches.
✔️Unplug chargers and cables that aren’t connected to phones or computers, ie don’t leave them live, yet loose, for chewing on!
✔️Ensure you have working smoke alarms in the house, especially in all family members' bedrooms.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
✔️Keep toddlers well away from barbecues, hotplates and grills.
✔️Use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30.
✔️Make sure your trampoline has both padded springs and safety nets.
✔️Fence swimming pools and even inflatable pools.
✔️Have well-fitting flotation devices at the ready before you hit the water.
✔️Actively supervise toddlers in and around water, and stay within arm’s reach at all times.
✔️Empty paddling pools and water containers after supervised use.
Read more tips at watersafety.org.nz.