Wednesday, 24 October 2018

How To Make Your Home More Child Friendly

When you are thinking about starting a family it is a great time to make adjustments to your home to make it more child friendly. In practice though I know a lot of people (myself included) who find it is the discovery that they are pregnant which motivates them to find a new more suitable house or make modifications to their existing one to better accommodate the needs of a family. Babies on the move and toddlers know no boundaries when they start to explore the world so it makes life less stressful for everyone if their environment is as safe as possible. Here are a few tips on how to adjust your home to the needs of your little one. 

An open plan kitchen with a woman holding a toddler's hands

How to Make Your Home Safer for Children


Kitchen 

The kitchen is potentially the most dangerous place in the house for children (and adults) and often the dangers in the kitchen for kids aren’t considered seriously enough. Chemicals, heavy dishes, knives etc all need to be out of reach or shut away securely. We keep a baby gate on the kitchen entrance and child locks on our floor level cupboards, as well as our knife and cutlery drawers.  You might want to look out for sharp edges and corners too and cushion those around the time babies are pulling themselves up and learning to walk.  

Bathroom 

When your children are small (and before they are toilet training) you will want to stop children going in to the bathroom on their own. I have experienced a very wet bathroom from an unexpected sink play session before, not to mention the creams and items of make up that have been found, played with and destroyed. Whether you want to have a lock on the outside of the bathroom or use a baby gate is up to you. 

The water in the bathroom can be very hot and be a safety hazard, but we have turned down the temperature on our boiler to ensure it doesn’t get too hot for our children. As a bonus this saves money and energy too! We use booster steps for the toilet and sink as well as a non slip bath mat in the bath to help make the rest of the bathroom safer.

Another thing we have had a problem with is our bathroom lock, if you don’t have a lock which can be opened from the outside too I recommend installing one or moving your lock to near the top of the door. As a 4 and 5 year old my eldest locked herself in the bathroom on a few occasions and refused to come out. Whether your child does it by accident or on purpose you don’t want to be in the situation where they are in a locked room and you can’t get to them.  

Flooring 

The flooring is also something you will want to consider when you have children. I am so grateful we have laminate flooring and tiles downstairs because there have been so many occasions where even a stain resistant carpet would have been ruined. It’s a fact of life that children make a mess so you want it to be as easy as possible to clean up. Hard floors can be cold to play on though so you might want to get some rugs which are easier, and cheaper, to replace than carpet. It is essential that there is some form of non slip grip underneath to stop the rug moving when children run across it. If you really want carpets look for ones in darker colours and maybe with a bit of a pattern so any marks aren’t so obvious.

Open Plan 

If you would like to keep an eye on your baby and toddler while doing the housework or cooking, you might consider getting an open plan design implemented before having a family. You can talk to Contemporary Architects who will give you different layout and design options, taking into consideration preserving the structural integrity of your home.  

Play Rooms

A playroom with stickers on the wall, a wooden play castle and stacking blocks
Image Source

Alternatively you might want to have space for children to keep all their toys so they don’t end up all over the house. If you have an extra spare room, you can create a playroom that can later be turned into a study or a guest room, but for now it will be there to keep your child engaged, entertained, and safe. Make sure all furniture in any room where a child may be left on their own is attached firmly to the wall.

Other Hazards Around The Home

As your children begin to reach up higher you will need to think about any breakables on low shelves as well as heavy items that can be pulled off. We have accepted that we have no space for vases or ceramics for a few years as our shelves are mostly piled with items we want to keep out of reach of little hands. 

Our television is attached to the wall out  of toddler height and there is nothing heavy which can be pulled over. We keep our bedroom as our sanctuary, trying to keep it as adult focused as possible (apart from when a baby is sleeping in there). Our bedroom door can’t be opened by the toddler so it is currently safe.

Stairs ideally should have access prevented at both the top and bottom with a baby gate. At the top aim to have the stairgate across the landing rather than the top step so that if they manage to climb over or push hard enough to dislodge it they wont fall down the stairs.

One recommendation I have seen is to crawl around your home to see how it looks from a child height, what might look exciting to a baby or toddler? What dangers can you see?

Getting your home ready for a family can be a challenge, but it is worth thinking about before you have a baby on the move. You will want any disruption from a major redesign to be out of the way before you have a little person who needs to nap and puts everything in their mouth.  

Read this post for ideas on how to make your garden more child friendly in all weathers.

***Disclosure: This is a collaborative post***

Pinnable version of title and playroom image


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