My wife and I are expecting our first child and we are concerned about how we should babyproof the home. What do we need to do to prevent our child from getting hurt at home?
Congratulations on becoming parents! Babyproofing is an ongoing process, just like parenting, and starts in the crib. The crib mattress should be firm with no loose blankets, stuffed animals or decorative pillows as these can potentially smother babies. Once your baby becomes mobile, total home protection is necessary.
Cover all outlets with plastic plugs and ensure device chargers, hair dryers and irons are unplugged and stored out of reach. Household cleaners and other chemicals should be in locked cabinets. Barrier gates should be set up to prevent Baby from climbing up and down stairs, entering the kitchen and bathroom alone.
Get down on your hands and knees are look out for sharp corners on furniture that can cause injury to a crawler or toddler. These can be cushioned with rounded stick-ons from the hardware shop. Instead of tablecloths and runners, use placemats, as curious toddlers might pull on them.
Make sure TVs are on sturdy bases or better still, secured to a wall. Give all furniture a push and pull to see if they can be toppled by a nimble climber. Affix them to the wall should they be unstable. To prevent doors from slamming on tiny fingers, cut off a small piece of pool noodle, make a slit along the length and wedge it on to the upper edge of a door so that it can’t slam shut.
If you have an apartment with a balcony, you should consider installing invisible grilles.
I would like to convert my spare room into a home gym. Is there a special kind of flooring I need for the area?
Floors need to be protected to prevent surface scratches and scuffs from heavy-duty workout equipment such as treadmills, exercise bikes, elliptical machines, free weights and weight benches but, more importantly, floors need to have a non-slip surface. Rubber and EVA foam mats can provide this. EVA foam are colourful interlocking squares typically used in indoor playgrounds and kindergartens. While they provide cushioning, they may not be suitable for some workouts. Being rather spongy, they do not provide a stable base and, should you drop weights on foam, there is a possibility of bounce, which is a safety hazard. Rubber mats absorb impact better and also last longer, but they cost more. If you are not weightlifting, then foam is good enough.
Jeremy Ko of Movement First recommends getting a small number of interlocking 12mm-thick rubber mats to protect the area which you will be training on. “They protect the floor from damage, as well as offer some form of soundproofing,” he explains. These come in 50cm by 50cm “tiles”, which you can configure to fit your space. There is no need for an adhesive as the weight of the mat keeps it in place.