We all love to spoil a new baby with clothes and all sorts of gifts from blankets to the first teddy bear. But it’s often decorating the nursery that generates the most excitement, as we stock up on soft furnishings and paint, ready to create a room that will appeal to the baby’s senses and be a fun place for him/her to grow.
While it’s tempting to go all out on fancy bedsheets and covers, it’s more important to put your child’s safety first. With some clever choices, you can rest assured that your child stays safe as he/she grows from baby to toddler – without needing to scrimp on style.
Location is everything
You may like your bed near a radiator but it’s never a good idea to place a child’s too near one. While a cot might not lean directly against the radiator, if it’s too close, it will be difficult to regulate your child’s body temperature.
Just like radiators, shelving shouldn’t be placed close to the cot. Sometimes, people think that as long as it’s at the end of the cot it will be fine but remember that anything stored there could fall in and injure your child. Once children get bigger, they can also stand up and hit their heads on the structure, so it’s not worth the risk. Shelves are fine in themselves – just further along the wall where they’re out of reach.
Any free-standing furniture poses a safety risk so secure wardrobes and chest of drawers with brackets to stop them from falling. My cousin’s child, Isla, is 18 months old and climbs on anything she can at the moment, so it’s easy to see how pulling on a wardrobe could be dangerous. The same thing goes for drawers. If you can, invest in child-proof latches to prevent your child from pulling a drawer onto themselves. It might seem harmless leaving them playing on the floor while you pop next door but Isla’s across the room in seconds.
Be aware of sockets
Sockets are usually installed at 1m from the ground but in a child’s room, 1.2m or higher is better to keep them out of reach. They’re a lot safer than they used to be as they now have built in shutters to stop children from placing their fingers into the holes. If your sockets are old, it’s worth hiring an electrician to check that they’re made to the appropriate standard and replace them if necessary.
Treat your windows correctly
Sometimes, you’ll need to open a window to let air into the room. Make sure that your child stays safe by using latches to stop the window from opening wider than 10cm. You can buy window guards which come with emergency latches for added protection. They can make the room look a bit like a prison cell but you’re able to pull them back whenever your child’s not in the room and the emergency release will mean that you could open the window quickly if you needed to escape.
Make your floor slip proof
The ideal nursery floor is easy to clean, soft, warm, slip-resistant and noise absorbent. Rugs may look good but if you can avoid them altogether, or make sure that they have non-slip pads underneath if they’re not already slip-resistant. Ideally, make sure that their edges aren’t near the cot, to prevent a trip hazard.
Carpets are brilliant as they’re softer and warmer than wooden flooring. The only downside is that they’re tricky to clean but there are so many steam cleaners around now that it doesn’t have to be a problem. Wooden flooring is sleek and easy to clean but it’s cold, it won’t cushion a fall and it won’t disguise your footsteps if you tiptoe in for a night check. If you’re really against carpet, go for cork or linoleum. They’re both soft, they cushion a fall and they’re easier to clean than carpeting.
If you need help securing your furniture or checking your sockets, post your job and up to three local tradesmen will get in touch to quote. Review their customer recommendations before choosing the right tradesman for you.