Published: Thursday 02 June 2016

Pregnant? Congratulations! No doubt you’ve been through several stages of nesting or making ‘to do’ lists in preparation for baby’s arrival. One aspect you might want to think about in advance is ensuring your home is a safe environment. You can never make a home completely child-proof but you can put your mind at ease knowing you’ve made it safer.

Given it will be a while until baby is on the move, making your home safe can be a staged process (and we’ll cover things to look out for in future over the next few weeks and months). Here are our top tips for the first few weeks of baby’s arrival home:

Blind cords - make sure your cot, crib or other sleeping arrangements aren’t next to a blind cord as, tragically, there have instances of strangulation where these cords get wrapped around a baby or child’s neck. If you can, replace blinds with curtains. You can find further blind cord safety information on the ROSPA website.

Cots and bedding - There are several factors to consider when using a cot. Many of us are given a second hand one by family or friends and you might want to check that the bars are not too far apart or if it needs to be repainted with a lead-free paint.

As attractive as they might look, it is advised not to use cot bumpers, duvets or pillows for young babies. Each of these pose a potential strangulation or smothering risk and should be avoided.

If you have a cat, you might want to consider a cat net which will prevent your feline friend from getting into the cot and sitting on baby.

Related to the blind cord advice above, it’s best not to position a cot or cradle near a window. Similarly you should place the cot away from:

  • Radiators
  • Furniture
  • Heaters
  • Wall decorations (pictures, clocks, wall hangings, etc)
  • Direct sunshine
  • Lamps

Always lie baby on his or her back with their feet at the end of the cot to reduce the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). For more information on safer sleep and SIDS, see the Lullaby Trust’s website.

Nappy sacks - like any plastic bag, these should be kept in a secure place completely out of reach of the cot as they are a suffocation risk. ROSPA offer some useful nappy sack safety advice.

Car seat - so this isn’t specifically within your home but it is something you’ll want to think about before baby arrives especially since, if you’re having your baby in hospital, you won’t be able to get home without one!

There are many options to choose from but it is important to check that the seat you choose is appropriate for a newborn baby, fits your car (or any others you will be using it in) and has not been involved in a crash previously. There is a wealth of advice available to help you select the right car seat and then use it correctly. ROSPA have an entire website dedicated to this topic. BabyCentre also have lots of practical information as does the NHS.

We’ll be looking at each of these topics in more depth in future articles; be sure to sign up to our newsletter (at the foot of this page), like our Facebook page, or follow our Twitter account for alerts to new blog posts.

Interested in finding out more about child safety and how you can respond if an accident should occur? We’ve a regular series of Baby and Child First Aid courses taking place throughout the UK. Spend three valuable hours with an expert instructor, and you’ll feel prepared should an accident occur.

Further reading:
Child Accident Prevention Trust
NHS Scotland's Ready Steady Baby site
The BabyCentre's Child Safety Directory


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