How to keep your baby or toddler safe at home

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Anyone who's experienced the joy of bringing up children can certify that our little ones see a home through entirely different eyes to ours. It's not simply because they are smaller – it's also because their brains and bodies are developing at rapid speed, and this makes them intent on exploring.

A home to them is not somewhere to relax – it's an adventure playground, full of opportunities to examine, grab and poke. Emptying out boxes and bins, inserting fingers into any space or gap and clambering over just about everything in your home are just some of the stunts little kids pull. 

So how do you keep them safe without giving up on design, gutting your home and filling it with cushions instead? Read these key tips and make your space safe and suitable for young and old alike.

Stop slipping and sliding
Small children love to run and toddle around, so make sure all rugs and runners are secured with non-skid backings. Sticky corner patches can often lift up, so try a non-slip mesh instead, which you can roll out beneath the entire rug, giving maximum grip.

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Soften hard surfaces
The corners on furniture, particularly coffee tables, are often just the right height to connect painfully with a toddler.

Move furniture with sharp edges out of rooms your little one uses, or swap a hard piece for something with upholstery and soft sides.

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Keep breakables out of reach
A toddler in the house does not mean you have to pack all your vases and ceramics away until they start primary school. Simply move them to higher shelves, out of reach, and keep lower shelves empty.

Watch out for wires
Electronic equipment, table and floor lamps come with trailing wires that are incredibly tempting to little hands. Hide technology in a unit, if you can, and stick light flexes to the floor with strong tape – or remove lamps altogether.

Also use covers over electrical outlets to stop busy hands poking things where they don't belong.

Seek out solid seating
As most toddlers struggle to sit still, it's a good idea to choose seating that cannot easily be tipped over. Consider using a bench along one wall to create a long, solid surface. Push any chairs right in against the table when not in use to discourage climbing. 

When it comes to decorating the table, position any china or decorative pieces right in the centre. If you want to spread a cloth, make sure it doesn't dangle over the edges – tuck corners up and under or try a runner instead.

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Lock medicines away
Drugs and medicines need to be securely stored in a locked cabinet. Make sure other bathroom essentials, such as shampoo and shaving cream, are kept out of sight, too, and that any bathroom cabinet drawers or doors are fitted with child-proof locks.

This all goes for cleaning products too – including dishwasher and laundry pods.

Hide the knives
Store knives as far out of reach as possible. Keeping them on a magnetic knife strip high on a wall should be safe, but if your toddler or child regularly climbs onto worktops, then a drawer secured with a safety catch is a better option.

Work at the back of the stove
Get into the habit of using the back rings on your stovetop when cooking and make sure all pan handles are turned inwards, as toddlers can easily reach up and grab them.

You might also consider fitting a stovetop guard, which clips along the front of your oven or range and prevents a child from being able to reach the burners when stretching up.

Get a gate
Fit safety gates at the top of all stairs. You may want to add one at the bottom, too, if your little one is an enthusiastic climber!

Secure your windows
Fit locks to windows on upper floors and do not position anything a child can climb on beneath the window, such as a bed or storage chest. If your home has any large expanses of glass, such as sliding doors, it's a good idea to add stickers at toddler eye height to draw attention to the glazing and guard against them running into it.

Shorten cords on blinds and curtains, too, and tuck them safely out of reach.

Secure all furniture and TVs
Make sure your climbable furniture - bookshelves, tallboys, dressers, etc - are all fastened securely to the wall so it can't be tipped onto your little one

Likewise, ensure your TV is fixed firmly to the wall so it can't be pulled down by exploring little hands.

By Joanna Simmons for Houzz