By Carolyn Ziegler, Co-Founder of leading child safety brand Dreambaby® and international child safety expert and advocate.
“We are very mindful at Dreambaby® that many people rent rather than own their home so we have developed a range of safety solutions that can easily be installed and moved without damaging or marking any walls or interiors,” said Carolyn.
“Before you start to childproof though the first thing I recommend is to get down on all fours and look up at the world from the point of view of a crawling child. It’s amazing the hidden dangers you will identify, including dropped medicines, a poison hazard – and coins – a choking hazard. “The easiest way to ensure your home is safe, is to install key safety products and these are ones I recommend:
- The Dreambaby® No Tools, No Screws Safety Value Packs with 35-pieces (right) contains everything you need to help make your home as safe as possible for your little ones. As nothing requires screws, it’s an excellent choice when in rental accommodation. This pack includes a number of safety items including Outlet Plugs to help stop access to power outlets, an Appliance Latch for fridges and much more. All are easy to install and then remove when you leave! Product code: RRP $24.95
- Mag Lock® - Adhesive Magnetic Locking System®. This renowned and patented, one-of-a-kind safety tool is very simple to use and is the ultimate child safety lock on the market. The Mag Lock® is installed, hidden inside your cupboards and drawers – safely out of the way and sight of curious children. Once in place, these locks can only be released with the use of the powerful Mag Lock® Magnetic Key. They can also be temporarily deactivated – great for grandparents when the kids have gone home. Available in a range of options starting with the Dreambaby® Adhesive Mag Lock® 2 locks & 1 key (F856) RRP: $29.95.
“I always say that bathrooms present a whole room full of danger so I highly advise parents and carers to take the following precautions:
- Close the bathroom door when not in use and ideally block off the entrance with a child safety gate. You can buy pressure-mounted gates such as the Chelsea Gate (F160W) RRP $79.95 that doesn’t require any drilling into walls.
- You can further protect against damage to walls by using a Protect-A-Wall® F930 RRP $14.95 on the upper part of your gate – these distribute the pressure of the gate over a larger surface area leading to less possible damage.
- Set the hot water temperature at a maximum of 37 degrees C to 38 degrees C, which is around body temperature so you won’t scald your baby.
- Keep medicines and other toxic substances up and out of reach in a locked cabinet. Use bath mats such as the Dreambaby® Watch-Your-Step Anti-Slip Bath Mat with ‘Too Hot’ Indicator F679 RRP $19.95 to help stop accidental falls and slips in the bath and secure toilets with a latch - try the Ezy-Check Multi-Use Latch® F800 RRP $15.95 - as toilet water can be full of harmful germs and chemicals and that can make your little ones very sick.
- Never leave your child alone in the bath even for a second to answer the door. Children can drown in seconds in just a few centimeters of water.
“If you are in an apartment and are lucky enough to have outdoor space make sure you lock your balcony doors at all times. Also never leave furniture on balconies or even potted plants – kids can use these as climbing aids and potentially launch themselves up and over railings.
Also make sure you do the following:
- Always install window locks that limit windows from opening more than 10cm (you want to have some air circulation though especially in the summer when small children can overheat in hot rooms). Try the adhesive Fold-Down Sliding Door & Window Lock F806 RRP $6.95. One last thing, don’t make the mistake of believing flyscreens secure windows. Children can easily push them out or even fall through them.
- Get prams up and off the floor! Use a pram hanger such as the Dreambaby® StrollAway F256 RRP $29.95 to hang your stroller on a door when not in use – prams can be a tripping hazard and storage is a safety issue as well as an aesthetic one.
- In bedrooms move cots and beds away from windows and install blind cord wraps as dangling cords are a big strangulation hazard. Try the Dreambaby® Blind Cord Wind Ups F131 RRP $4.95.
“Kitchens are also high danger spaces. Again ideally block off the entrance of your kitchen with a pressure-mounted gate.
- Install adhesive locks and latches throughout the kitchen and indeed the home. I suggest you secure kitchen corner drawers or cabinets with Dreambaby®’s Adhesive Angle Locks F133 RRP $7.95.
- Always use a refrigerator latch such as the Ezy-Check Strap Latch® F802 RRP $6.95. Remember your wine and beer is toxic to small children. People often keep medicines in their fridges as well – another reason to lock your fridge!
- It’s also an idea to secure your dishwasher as cleaning tablets and solutions can make a child very unwell and there are often traces left after a wash.
- Last but no least install the Adhesive Dreambaby® Stove Top Guard F195 RRP $29.95 to help protect little fingers from getting burnt.
Securing Heavy furniture
“There is nothing more dangerous than heavy drawers and TVs falling on small children. Unfortunately, kids love to use drawers as stairs for climbing with often tragic results. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that today’s furniture is often designed with all the decorative heavy parts at the front so it’s simple physics they will topple over.” Carolyn further advises parents and carers to:
- Secure all furniture (not just heavy furniture) and TVs with Furniture Straps F199 RRP $10.95 and Anchors F830 RRP $10.95 (also the Hinged Furniture Anchors F1428 RRP $14.95) or TV savers F860 RRP $14.95 and remember to read the instructions carefully and follow them.
- While TV Savers can be attached to furniture rather than walls - so no drilling is required - furniture anchors and straps do need to be drilled into walls. “My advice is to negotiate with your landlord on this as it’s so important. If you promise to repair the walls when you leave they could well be open to allowing you to install these safety must-haves.
We are actually starting a campaign at Dreambaby® – we want tenants to have far more rights when it comes to childproofing in the same way as they do in Europe. Childproofing is not a luxury. It’s a necessity and as more and more families are being raised in rental accommodation this is now an urgent issue to address.”
Carolyn Ziegler has recorded a number of podcasts which takes parents and carers though all the ins and out of childproofing. Visit: Dreambaby Podcasts
For more on Dreambaby® visit the Dreambaby® web site www.dreambaby.com.au or call (02) 9386 4000.
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