Having a baby can be so enthralling until you begin to realize how child safety can be a problem around your home. Then it dawns on you that you need to baby proof your home and make necessary changes. As your children grow, you soon begin to ask “at what age can I stop childproofing my home?”
We understand that desire to have your “perfect” home back. But we also know that your child’s safety at home is paramount. Therefore, we want to help you transition at the right time and in the right ways.
What Does Childproofing Your Home Entail?
Childproofing entails measures to make your home safe for your child. It also involves keeping the home safe from your child.
Childproofing your home may occur in stages. These include:
- Before the birth of your baby.
- When your baby begins to crawl.
- When your baby takes his/her first steps.
- Continuously and appropriately as the child grows.
You probably know and have done all these, so let’s cut to the chase already!
The Right Age to Stop Childproofing Your Home
Is there really a right age to stop childproofing your home? Can you ever totally remove all childproofing measures?
Well, there’s no absolute answer to this question. We rather have some guides to help you make this decision.
Teach Them Safety Measures
As your children grow older and begin to understand things, it is important that you start to explain safety to them. Start from the basic concepts as early as possible. Also, teach them safety outside the home. When it comes to child safety, leave no stones unturned.
When to Relax Safety Measures in Your Children’s Room
When your children outgrows sleeping in a crib and moves to a bed, you may introduce pillows to their sleeping area. Then show them how to lie down properly. You may also bring in blankets and bumper pads.
If you decide to let them take toys into their room, be sure they don’t have tiny bits and dangerous parts. Kids above 5 may be better trusted with this.
Teach children safe bathroom and toilet practices. As you potty train them, show them how to turn their taps on and off. You may supervise bath time till they get the hang of it or overcome the risk of drowning.
The Age to Take off Baby Gates
The moment you notice that your kids can comfortably go over the baby gates, get taller ones where applicable. When the tall safety gates cease to be a barrier, then it might be time to take them out totally. You don’t want those gates to become a play thing that could lead to trips, falls or other injuries.
The Age to Take Off Stair Safety Gates
When your child starts walking, teach them how to safely climb up and down the stairs. You can take their hands and let them walk with you. Teach them to use the rails for balance. However, you must explain to them why it isn’t safe for them to climb on their own. Also, tell them why you have the safety gates installed and hint on the possible risks you’re trying to avoid.
When you trust them to be safe on the stairs, you may take off the safety gates but keep supervising them from your distance.
When to Relax the Restrictions in the Kitchen
In childproofing, you make the kitchen inaccessible to children. This can’t remain forever! Kids have to learn to work around the kitchen safely.
Start by pointing out the dangers of knives, glass cups and other simple kitchen tools. This can be done for kids about 3 years of age. Teach them the dangers of fires and leaving fires unattended. If you use cooking gas, you would want to be very careful about this. Ensure that they understand practical steps to take in case of a fire outbreak.
Occasionally let them watch you work in the kitchen. Let the older kids join you in making meals. Discuss steps with them as you go. Explain the right and wrong use of kitchen appliances to them.
Show them the content of different kitchen cabinets. Allow them fix their cereals themselves. They should also understand what goes in the fridge, freezer, pantry, cabinets or stays on the counter. Medicine cabinets must be locked though. At least, until they have successfully mastered proper usage and dosage. Never leave drugs like pain killers, narcotics and other hard drugs out.
We find that kids above 10 have a pretty good understanding of the kitchen.
When to Stop Worrying About Poisoning
Children naturally see practically everything as food. Start early to show them what food is and what it isn’t. Point out the difference between raw and cooked food. Teach them to leave items to the floor and not relocate them to the mouth. Label items around your home as soon as they can read and make them identify them.
When to Stop Childproofing the Living Room
Kids above age 3 are more balanced on their feet and may fall less often. You may allow them walk around the living room, under your supervision. Let them learn their environment.
Teach them not to tug on heavy items like the television and dining table. Once they begin to show a sense of responsibility, let them know you see their efforts. Gradually ease off barriers like safety gates guarding the TV console. Have the older kids turn appliances on and off, and teach them how they work.
When to Stop Childproofing Outside the House
If you live in a fenced and gated house, it should be easier to let them go outside to play. If not, ensure that they are not unsupervised. Map out a safe area and instruct them to stay within the area. They should know not to talk or go with strangers. Also, they must know how to call for help if anything goes wrong.
If you have an outdoor pool, teach your kids how to swim early enough. Make them understand the use of swimming vests and floaters. Don’t remove swimming pool gates until you are absolutely sure they can be safe. On the contrary, leave the gates in place. Kids drown at home, you don’t want that.
As for your gardens, let them join you while you work. When they see the efforts and time you put in, they will likely grow to appreciate them too. This will prevent them from yanking off your plants or stomping on them while they play.
Never allow them into the garage or work areas alone. Consider your vehicles and machineries unsafe for them.
The Age to Leave Valuables Unprotected
Hmmm! This can be quite tricky! If we are talking documents and family heirloom, then maybe never.
Parents may find that childproofing gets easier and more relaxed as the number of kids increase. This is because the elder ones learn to care for their siblings. They have an idea of child safety and will lovingly protect the younger ones.
Also, little children look up to their elder siblings and follow their steps. If you have successfully instilled the right training in your first and second, then you may worry less about your toddlers.
Childproofing never really ends. You may ease out your restrictions in phases but not all at once. Kids should be supervised regularly, even preteens and teens need some sort of supervision. Don’t fret, you’ll definitely figure your way around getting your home back to normal.
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