An Idiot’s guide to child proofing the Indian home

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If your due date is by the end of this month or next, nesting instincts must have taken you over and you should be busy cleaning, pruning and mending things in your home sweet home.

All mums-to-be around the world are doing the same — even that small Peruvian bird alongside the river Amazon is setting her nest right to ensure that her nest is baby proof! A healthy and safe environment to grow is the best gift you can give to your child.

Scary though it is, it’s important to know that according to a study, approximately 6 out of 10 children are injured at home! There are potential dangers lurking in all those corners which only curious eyes can see and tiny hands can reach. With every blink of the eye, your little one will crawl into the next stage and then the next… You will have to keep modifying your home accordingly.

Let’s see what should be done till your little devil rolls over and gives Mum and Dad a toothless grin. Take this as a sign that the time has come to run for your life! Put away those hairpins, brushes or slippers, as he may chew anything and everything. Below are some thoughts on childproofing the Indian home.

0-3 months:

The harmless looking creature that you will bring from the hospital will give you sleepless nights to make sure he gets every two hours’ quarts of milk and uninterrupted sleep. For the next three months, your little one is going to do just four activities – sleeping, sucking, pooping and bathing. Make sure they are done in a baby-proof manner.

Your baby may lie in bed or crib. If it’s a bed, then remove all extra blankets and pillows on it. Give plenty of room for your tiny blob of humanity and make sure your ‘superman in a diaper’ does not get trapped under a blanket or pillow which could be a smother-risk.

If you choose to put it in a crib it should be safe, well bolted and screwed. You may even like to buy a crib that stays longer and your baby does not outgrow it too quickly. There are plenty of convertible cribs available on the market today. A baby’s crib should have fixed rails. If you must use an older crib, don’t use the drop-side rail, or get an immobilizer for it.

Make sure the crib mattress fits tightly and that the crib has no cutouts big enough for a neck or leg to get stuck in between. You can put a mattress down under the crib to ensure a safe landing if, God forbid, the Superman intends to take flight. A crib is a crib, not a toy box. Don’t put assorted soft toys inside it.

The exploration instincts of babies awaken when they are barely 1 month old, they lick and suck to understand their world. So remember to put harmful things beyond their reach.

Also, avoid putting the crib /bed near an electric socket or bulbs to avoid any casualty in case of fire.

Avoid using mosquito repellents in baby’s room. It is better to use a mesh but care should be taken while putting the baby under it.

Get a safe bathtub and fasten a safety belt during bath time so that the tiny alien doesn’t slip and get submerged in the water. If unsure, get a bath thermometer to check if the temperature is alright for your baby’s bath. You may also get a spout to mount on the tap to protect baby from getting hurt during bath. You may like this one Moby Bath Spout.

4-6 months:

4-6 months is the time for groping, chewing, rolling and crawling. When they step up their exploration mission, it is time for you to step up too. They are now ready to surprise you with anything. Never leave them unattended. They may get your phone or TV remote and chew them, or for that matter anything that they can get hold of. So keep them out of reach. All the crystals and breakable items must be parked in safe places where the exploration machine cannot reach. Shorten or remove all electric cords/wires.

I’ve heard of many children who have a fondness for poking their fingers in electric sockets. Cover every electrical outlet with duct tape or replace them with childproof sockets which are readily available online, you may check childproof electric sockets.

Pad the sharp edges of beds, tables or chairs with the sponge or bunched up newspaper but if they don’t look good enough and don’t match your home décor you may buy a corner protector.

Lock all drawers, lest they yank at and take the whole drawer down with them. An easy hack is to use cookie cutters or you may look for some fancy safety baby multipurpose latches.

Your book racks can prove dangerous if the curious soul pulls them down in search of some reading material. It would be wise to secure bookcases and other tall furniture to the wall with bolts or adjustable, locking furniture straps that attach to the wall.

Balcony railings are unsafe; it would be wise to put a railing guard. If your baby’s bed is near a window get a window guard.

All houseplants should be placed out of reach, or you guessed it! The new human being will eat the leaves off the stems with evident relish. Lock away all hazardous liquids and cleaning formulae, paint, kerosene, bug spray etc. Keep away small things like coins, scissors etc. from their reach. Place safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways with two or more steps.

After going through this piece, I’m sure it’s superfluous to say that life after becoming a parent is a different story. You become more of a pro-active undercover agent on the look-out for every possible lurking danger in your own home. One begins to scan everything in the house like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Terminator’.

Once you’re done baby-proofing your house go ahead and watch some hilarious movies for “to be parents” like ‘Life as We Know It’ starring Josh Duhamel. Just to remind yourself it’s not only about the tiny tyrant giving you panic attacks, but lots of profound moments of love and happiness too!

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