Out of harm’s way

Everyone knows that having a baby will transform their lives in more ways than imaginable – but few prospective parents take into account how much that bundle of joy will transform their homes too.

In the first few months, cream carpets develop more stains than the whole of Ikea could cover, a thin layer of talc covers every surface and there’s that perplexing moment after the gifts have arrived when you realise in the space of a fortnight, baby has amassed more possessions than you’ve managed in your entire life.

But turn your back for a moment, and the infant that was gurgling helplessly on a changing mat is suddenly scooting across the room at the speed of light. It’s time to baby-proof your home.

Lock it

Floor-level cupboards hold endless fascination for young infants from the moment they try to haul themselves up with the handle and discover the treasure trove within. Any harmful substances should be moved out of reach – even products with child-resistant packaging should be removed to a safer place. Safety latches and locks are an inexpensive but effective way of keeping exploring hands from where they don’t belong.

Cut the cord

As babies learn to walk, anything and everything will be a means to help them get on their feet. Dangling cords and wires are just asking to be tugged, and if that cord is attached to a boiling kettle, the consequences don’t bear thinking about. It’s so simple just to gather any excess wire and secure it with a cable tie. Make sure you do the same with blind and curtain cords, which could wrap.

Soften up

Until they invent the round house (wigwam anyone?) corners and sharp edges will be feature of any room. Luckily, corner and edge bumpers are a cost-effective alternative to wrapping all your furniture– or your little one for that matter – in cotton wool and bubble wrap. Sticking white plastic to your light oak dining table isn’t exactly stylish, so buy some paint samplers in the closest colour to blend them more easily.

Beware the silent killer

As well as smoke alarms, which should be checked regularly, every home that has a gas or oil appliance should have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. Carbon monoxide is an odourless gas which can kill in hours if it goes undetected. CO detectors should be installed near sleeping areas and boilers and gas cookers should be checked by a Corgiregistered engineer annually.

Be water-wise

Infants can drown in as little as two inches of water, but most water-related incidents in the home are from scalding. Set your water heater temperature to below 50 degrees to prevent burns from hot water, and detach the bathplug from its chain and keep it somewhere out of reach, so if your child turns on a tap the water will run away. Babies and young children should never be left alone around water. Buy a cordless phone so there are no interruptions when your child is in the bathtub or near a garden pond.

Everyone knows that having a baby will transform their lives in more ways than imaginable – but few prospective parents take into account how much that bundle of joy will transform their homes too.