Baby safety at home starts with meeting you baby at their level. A great method is to move around on your knees. This will allow you to easily spot the dangerous places as well as objects that are at a childs height.
Baby safety at home: Nursery
- Children can be very lively from the moment they’re born. A sudden movement paired with a moment of inattention may be enough for the child to fall head-first onto the floor.
- The changing table must be stable and solid. It does not necessarily have to be installed in the bathroom.
- The necessary items must be within reach. If there is not a faucet next to the changing area, a water bowl or a thermos with lukewarm water can be used in its place.
- The child must never be left alone on the changing table. If you need to leave the changing area, you should always take the child with you or place the child on a rug on the floor. Avoid leaving the child in your own bed or on the sofa as the child is in danger of falling off.
Bed and sleep
- The child’s bed must be securely designed with a solid bottom, sides and ends, and must not have exposed ornaments, screws or anything of the sort that the child might peel off and swallow.
The distance between the bars must be between 4.5 and 6 cm.
- The sides must be at least 60 cm tall when the base of the bed is in the lowest position. And 30 cm when the bottom is in the upper position. To prevent falling accidents, remove the sides once the child is able to crawl over these by themselves.
- If the crib is equipped with a slatted base, the distance between the slats should be a maximum of 6 cm.
- The distance between the bottom and the sides/ gables should be no more than 2.5 cm.
- Other openings, including openings for screws, must be either less than 0.7 cm or between 1.2 and 2.5 cm.
Prevent crib death
Always follow these four tips, which significantly reduce the risk of crib death.
- Always put the child to sleep on their back.
- Do not let the child sleep between their parents.
- Do not expose your child to cigarette smoke.
- Avoid the child being too hot when sleeping.
Duvet and pillow
Let the child sleep with a light baby duvet, that fits the measurements of the bed, that the baby can kick off, and that they will not get caught or be suffocated in.
The child should not have a pillow. This allows for the child to move their head more readily while sleeping. Furthermore, avoid loose blankets. Avoid toys and other things that the child may be caught in while sleeping.
The mattress should be relatively firm and reach the end of the bed. Avoid using plastic as it may cause the child to suffocate.
Baby lifts must have rigid sides and a hood. The lift needs to be at least 20 cm deep. The straps must reach all the way down to the bottom of the lift. A number of infants get injured every year because the adult has not managed to get a proper grasp of both straps. Or as a result of one strap slipping out of their hand, causing the lift to fall.
Remember to make sure that you have a proper grasp of both handles before lifting the baby lift.
Baby safety at home: Pacifier and pacifier chains
Always pull at the pacifier before it is handed to the child to ensure that the pacifier is not tender, but safe.
Avoid the use of pacifier chains. They are prone to breaking. There is a risk of the baby swallowing smaller parts or getting them stuck in their throat. Never let the baby sleep with a pacifier chain. The baby is at risk of being suffocated by the chain. In addition thereto, never tie the pacifier down with ribbons or other strings. That may suffocate the child during sleep.
Baby chair/ highchair
The reclining chair can be used when the child is approximately 2 months. But it should only be used for short periods of time for the sake of the child’s motor development. Make sure that the chair is always on the floor – if it is placed on the kitchen table, or other tables, the child may cause it to slide over the edge of the table by moving around a lot.
Baby safety at home: Highchair
No highchair is safe from tipping over. Choose a chair without wheels and test that it is stable, even when you are rocking it. It should be equipped with a tummy tuck and a strap between the baby’s legs so the baby cannot slide down. Footrests that can be adjusted in height ensure that the child is comfortable when sitting in the chair.
Baby safety at home means you should think carefully about using a walking chair. They do pose a distinct risk. Walking chairs also inhibit the child’s natural motor development and distance perception. The child may run down stairs, and ram into things that are at the risk of falling down on top of them. Moreover, by using the walking chair, the child may be able to reach things that were otherwise out of the child’s reach, e.g. dangerous items such as the cord from an iron.
If the child is in a walking chair, do not leave the child unattended.
A number of scalding accidents occur when the child sits on the lap of the parent and accidentally gets hot coffee or tea spilled all over them. The baby’s skin is sensitive and scalding may happen by liquids at just 40° C.
- Make sure to keep tea and coffee cups out of the reach of children.
- Use mugs instead of cups as mugs are more stable on flat surfaces.
- Avoid thermoses with loose rocking lids.
- Please be aware that plunger jugs, teapots and similar items must be out of the reach of children.
- Avoid tablecloths and placemats that may easily be pulled down by the child.
Carrots, peanuts and similar foods
You should only serve the child whole, raw carrots, peanuts and other similar solid foods when the child is approximately 3 years old and able to chew such foods properly. It is the child’s development rather than their age that determines when this is appropriate.
Be aware that grapes should be cut into pieces from top to bottom rather than side to side to avoid the child getting a piece stuck in their throat and risk suffocating. At the same time, make sure to remove the grape seeds. They may cause severe pneumonia if the child gets them caught in their throat.
Knives, scissors and cleaning agents
Go through all drawers, cupboards etc. that are accessible to the child. Remove anything that could potentially harm the child. Make drawers and cabinets secure by mounting special closing devices. Place plastic bowls, utensils and other safe kitchen equipment on the lower shelves, and all other items on the upper shelves. Keep knives and scissors out of the reach of children to upgrade baby safety at home.
Store plastic bags in wall cabinets. Make sure to remove cleaning supplies and similar items from the cupboard under the sink. This also includes dishwashing tablets which are often wrapped in glittering, candy-like paper.
Avoid unoriginal packaging
Never pour cleaning supplies, coolant, insecticides or similar into another container with different packaging like soda bottles. This action regularly causes serious cases of poisoning in both children and adults.
Coffee machines and household appliances
Keep coffee machines, electric kettles and cords out of the reach of children. Other household appliances should likewise be stored in a place that is out of reach of the child. Always take care to unplug the power cord after use. If the socket is not childproof, you can use a plug socket cover.
Children may risk being scalded if they manage to pull a pot with boiling liquids down from the stove. Get used to putting saucepans and frying pans away by facing the handle inwards, and preferably use the rear burners.
Ensure that the cooker is tilt-proof to avoid it from tipping over. Do also make sure that the oven door is childproof so that it cannot be used as a ladder by the child.
When it is time for the child to have a bath, the water must be lukewarm. The risk of scalding is great. First, pour the cold water into the tub, then pour the hot water afterwards. Be careful to check that the temperature of the water does not exceed 37° C. Use your elbow or a thermometer – your hand is not sensitive enough! A number of scalding accidents occur when the child accidentally turns up the temperature on the tap. This can be avoided by installing thermostats in the bath, shower and sink.
Never leave the child alone in the bath, not even if the child is in a bath seat or chair as these are not safe. Do not let older siblings care for the child while you are away for a moment. Young children are at the risk of drowning in a few inches of water. Place a rubber mat at the bottom of the tub to avoid the baby slipping. Remember to bring everything you need with you before bathing the child.
Poisoning by household chemicals is common between the ages of 0 – 3.
Most accidents involving cleaning supplies occur when the chemicals are in use, or right after they have been used. Take care to screw the lid back on immediately after use and place them back in their rightful place. Chemicals should always be kept out of the reach of children, preferably in a locked cupboard. Purchase products with child safety locks, and avoid pouring the products in containers with different packaging. Store the tablets for the dishwasher in a cupboard. Do also place the rinse.
Baby safety at home: Toys
Toys must be suitable for the child’s age and be made of suitable materials. Symbols or text printed on the packaging indicate which age group the toy is suitable for. Toys designed for children under the age of 3 must not contain small parts that the child could put in their mouth. Do also check that the child’s toy has no loose parts – check the eyes and nose of any stuffed animal.
Older siblings’ toys often contain small parts. As such, make sure to keep older siblings’ toys away from the child. Do not let the child play with balloons as the child is at risk of getting suffocated by them.
Vitamins and medicine
Vitamins, iron tablets and similar consumables should be kept out of the reach of children as they are a common cause of poisoning in young children. Baby vitamin pills are often tasty and may tempt the child to keep eating past the recommended amount. Do also pay attention to iron tablets, which often have no flavour, and may as such be consumed at a tremendous rate which results in severe poisoning.
All medicines should be stored in a locked medicine cabinet. This also applies to any pills and all over-the-counter medicines such as painkillers. Painkillers are the most frequent cause of poisoning in children under the age of 4.
Chewing vitamins must not be provided to the child before the child can chew and should be offered, at the earliest, from the age of 1½ years. Children under the age of 3 dealing with illness should be provided their medicine in the form of crushed pills, oral solutions or suppositories to avoid incorrect swallowing.
Oil lamps and other ignition material
Oil lamps continue to be one of the top causes of serious poisoning accidents. It is recommended to store these separately until the child is older. Do pay attention to whether there are oil lamps when you are visiting – being unaware often leads to accidents.
Never pour lamp oil into containers labelled differently and take care to place lighter briquettes for the grill up high – they may be confused with marshmallows and can tempt the child, which may result in serious chemical pneumonia.
A lot of children love to climb and may consider any shelving unit as an exciting challenge. Any shelving unit should be fastened at the top to ensure that it does not fall over and crushes the child.
Electronic cords and plugs
The floor is the best play area for a small child. As such, check how everything is laid out at the child’s height. Control that there are no electronic cords, including extension cords laying around.
If your home does not have childproof sockets, you should make sure to guard yourself by purchasing socket protectors, so-called plug socket covers, that are impossible for the child to pry out.
Stairs are an exciting but dangerous challenge for a child that has reached the crawling age.
Mount baby gates at the top and bottom of the stairs. The baby gate must be at least 65 cm tall. There should be a space of between 4.5 cm and 6 cm between the bars, and no cross strip across the middle as this may be used for climbing. Do not use retractable scissor grids. Install gates that only shut inwards to ensure that the child does not easily fall down the stairs.
Teach the child to crawl/walk up and down the stairs while supporting them. If someone accidentally forgets to close the gate one day, the child may be able to avoid a serious fall if they have practiced manoeuvring the stairs.
Open staircases are accident hotspots for young children. Children are at risk of falling through the open steps and getting their head caught in the gap.
Fill in the open steps with plates or mouldings It is a good idea to mount an extra handrail at child height to support the child with something to lean on when they begin to use the stairs on their own.
The child’s head is rather large compared to the child’s body, and it does not require much for the child to lose their balance and fall over. Children should not be left unattended in rooms with open windows. Install a child safety lock on the windows so that they cannot be opened more than a few centimetres.
Do not place furniture close to windows, especially not in the child’s room. The child may use these to climb on.
We hope these tips will help you to improve baby safety at home.
Windows at floor height
In homes with small children, glass should be avoided as a building material for fixtures that are located less than 110 cm above the floor. If there are windows at floor height in your home, these should be screened to make sure the child does not fall into the windowpane during play or otherwise and gets injured by the broken glass.