How to create a safe environment for infants and toddlers?
Although it may seem like a stressful thing to worry about, making a safe environment for your kids can actually be quite a fun task. It’s not really about dangers lurking at every corner, nor do you have to feel pressured to turn your home upside down – it’s all about a little common sense, a lot of love, and nice ideas that will help you make a beautiful, nurturing space for your little one. If you’re eager to get started and help your baby thrive in a safe environment, here are some of the things that you can do.
Put up a lot of soft surfaces in their room
Their room should be a safe space where they get to run, jump, and fall around without injuring themselves. Make sure it has a big, soft rug that they can play on, and grab a ton of pillows to put around for fun and to soften their fall if they trip up. You don’t have to go that far in the rest of the house, but make their room feel nice, make it feel like it’s their own space where bad things can’t happen.
Keep dangerous things out of reach
Lock up or put any heavy or sharp tools on a tall shelf, and the same goes for cleaning supplies, cords, rope, medicine, and anything made out of small parts. Kids, bless their souls, love shoving things up their nose for seemingly no reason, so pay special attention to small playing blocks, crayons, marbles, beads, game pieces, raisins, and yes, even Play Dough. They are craftier than we give them credit, and sometimes they’ll ball up tissues and stick them right in. It’s actually quite a normal thing that most children do, but if it clogs their airways it can get dangerous. Here’s what you should do if this happens.
VOC paints and other harmful chemicals
Toys these days are so mass produced that you can certainly expect that a large number of them won’t be made out of quality materials. While most of them are generally fine if you just hold them in your hands, the real issue comes from the fact children like to put toys in their mouth, and you definitely don’t want to let them bite down on something toxic. If you can, stick to plush and wooden toys, and only buy plastic ones from trustworthy sources because otherwise they might be full of lead, PVC, and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Another big source of VOC is wall paint, so you really need to be wary what you use to paint your child’s room. If you realized bad paint was used, you might wish to conduct lead paint removal from the house, and have all of the hazardous materials stripped and taken out. Look for eco-friendly options instead of these toxic ones, and your house will be a much safer space.
Vacuum, dust, and generally clean the area where your child spends most of their time playing. You could also try avoiding those harsh cleaning supplies that can be a lot more dangerous than plain dirt, and stick to some more natural, homemade cleaners.
Don’t introduce electronics early on
Besides creating an addictive habit, the bright glare from the tablet and phone screens can strain their eyes and cause dryness. It probably won’t negatively affect their vision as long as they take frequent breaks, but it’s still not the healthiest form of entertainment for toddlers. Instead of electronics which they’ll definitely take up quickly later in life, try to get them used to books. Children who read a lot have a much easier time at school, and you can start training them to love books since early infancy.
A safe space means basic needs should always be met, and to do this you want to make sure your baby is bathed and fed regularly, and that you start thinking about healthy nutrition early on. Change diapers frequently, and keep the room temperature pleasant. You should also start teaching them early on how to take care of their own hygiene. Another thing to keep in mind is sun protection – make sure they’re wearing a cap and that they are covered up when you take them for a stroll, and also use high SPF sunscreen if they’re directly exposed to the sun.
And one last thing before we go: snuggle them. Shower them with unconditional love and spend quality time with them when you can, and they’re bound to grow up happy and healthy.
Will H. Sandford is a dedicated father of two boys, home designer and environmentalist. He cares about love, peace and things which grow, live or breathe. “We cannot change others, but when we change ourselves, we may end up changing the world.”