With families going nuclear and both parents at work, you now have specialists who promise to revamp your home and make it child-safe, says MADHUMITHA SRINIVASAN

“Initially I thought I didn’t need to baby-proof my house as I believed I could manage. But once he started crawling I realised how even a pencil could be life-threatening,” confesses Thejaswini, interior designer and mother of an eight-month-old baby.

This perhaps summarises what many parents go through when infants and young children come into the family and have to be cared for within the confines of the home. Trying to see if they can fly, investigating that ‘hole’ near the switch, popping an attractive red pill that grandma seems to eat everyday, holding on to a movable cabinet while trying to stand up… the list of accidents waiting to happen is just endless.

How careful can you be? You obviously cannot stop children from doing what they do best — being curious and inviting trouble — but as parents you can prevent them from harming themselves with a bit of foresight.

As families go nuclear and both parents are away at work, the concept of revamping the home to make it safer for children is a trend that’s picking up. Says Surya Garg of Babyproofing.in, a certified baby-proofing company: “The shifting from joint to nuclear family makes baby-proofing essential as it makes it easier for parents to monitor the child’s safety.”

Companies like Safe Baby and Babyproofing.in send in the experts to audit houses or even schools, identify potential danger zones, and offer solutions. These solutions could vary from moving furniture to optimal positions around the house to fixing safety products like corner protectors to adding cabinet locks wherever required.

“Sharp edges are the number one cause of injuries to children, closely followed by electric switches and cords,” says Shalini Agarwal of Safe Baby, baby safety experts. “Child or baby-proofing is not just about rearranging furniture like moving the coffee table to a corner or putting things away, it is also about educating parents and nannies, who can only learn through experience.”

Simply by putting coins, detergents and medicines away from the reach of children, over 50 per cent of the most common accidents can be prevented, says Agarwal.

Some of the things you should keep in mind, especially in a baby’s nursery or child’s play room, are: “Keep the furniture to a minimum; there should be no loose units because when children tend to hold on to furniture and stand up they could give way. Make sure all sockets and electrical wiring are fixed at least three and a half feet or more above floor level,” says Thejaswini, who co-owns design firm Design DNA in Chennai. Look at something as simple as the handles of a wardrobe, which most of us fail to notice. “The safest option is a C-shaped handle,” says Thejaswini, “one where both the edges are fixed to the door.”

Experts will audit houses, identify danger zones, and offer solutions

Cabinet locks

Corner protectors

Door stoppers

Refrigerator latches

Stove knob cover

Spout cover

Safety gate

Bathtub mats

Electric switch caps

Dustbin and WC lid guard

DVD player guard

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