Thursday, 9 February 2012

Safety blog.

Oh I yawn at the mention of health and safety, god I always think of a man with a clipboard in hand, yellow bob the builder hat adorned and speaking in monotone. The whole concept makes me sleep! However I have a one year old who can crawl from the middle of his big bedroom to Daddy's office in 11 seconds! It was time to face facts and start thinking safety gates,plug protectors, corner cushions etc.

Husband and I sat down a few nights ago and had a conversation over what the heck we should do about it all. We were currently taking it turns to follow our son around the house herding him away from unsafe places, objects, dog trying to snooze and so on. It was getting a tad ridiculous. So here are our tried and tested and found and hated and general confusing area of the baby safety world.

  • SPRING LOADED SAFETY GATES- simple word- Rubbish! Hard to push open because of the spring, usually have a bar going along the bottom of the gate so if you are wheelchair bound you won't get any further than the gate unless you can pick your chair up, lift it over the gate step etc. 

  •  "No trip gate",non spring loaded- great! No step at bottom of gate to go flying over, to struggle over on crutches or a barrier to wheelchairs. Non spring loaded gates work just like a garden gate. There is a lever knob to push down with one hand and push gate through with other hand. I have very arthritic age five year old sized hands, I have little grip or strength in fingers but I could work this style of gate.

  • Google your local council to see if they run a free health and safety baby home check.Gloucestershire County Council runs such a scheme. What a fantastic scheme, it basically involves a safety bod coming out to check your house over, discuss safety equipment that you can often buy from them at exceptionally good prices, they will even fit the gates and other equipment for free!!! Your health visitor will be able to give you details of your local council safety check scheme if one is available in your area. This service was especially useful for us two ,creaky parents, as their staff take your difficulties into account when recommending items to you, they have a non trip gate for you to try which is invaluable. It is difficult to find a store that displays gates.However IKEA and John Lewis do.

  • You can get easy access playpens which tend to be hexagonal  in shape.The pens come with a non spring loaded gate that swings open meaning no reaching to get your child out is required. There is a very very minute step across the bottom of the gate entrance. It may there for now be ideal for a wheelchair parent however by aged one your child probably would happily just crawl over the small step over if you hold the gate open for him hopefully meaning you can then grab your child once through the entrance of the pen. 
Safe and Secure Metal Playpen
Safe and secure metal playpen from

BabyDan baby Den White
BabyDan Baby Den -my favorite pen as for me it has the easiest latch to open. Available from all baby high street/online shops.

  • Plug protectors -have to be brought and all of them are tricky in all honesty. The common ones are the two below. The "Clippasafe socket cover" was the easiest for me to use, the other type readily available are flat plastic circles that plug into the empty plug socket. I found the round plastic disks difficult with poor dexterity and strength in my fingers. Neither are ideal for arthritic parents or those with weakness in hands but  they are an absolute must have for your childs safety so you will have to choose between the lesser of two evils.
Clippasafe Electrical Plug Socket Protector
Clippasafe electrical socket protector, has two buttons either side which you gently push and raise lid up,
available from
Common plug protectors on market. 

Finally we actually don't have the BabyDan playpen but it is basically the Baby Dan configure gate in hexagon shape, same easy mechanism. We have gone for creating a safe corner on one side of our chimmney breast in our lounge as we felt frankly with an open log fire, flat screen tv, wii, digi box, dog etc there was far too much to safety proof and would end up proofing against my husband and I! So we took a BabyDan configure gate and did the following, it works so well, my son can play, see the television, every thing is protected from his little hands.

Our BabyDan configure gate  set  up,works so well!

Space for our son to move and play. 

Easy pull up latch, very light pulling on the latch bar required to open gate. 

Very tiny little lip across the entrance.

We have completely safety proofed our sons whole bedroom which is a large room. His door entrance has been kitted out with a non trip door gate from the Health and Safety scheme with Gloucester City Council, we have corner protectors which are no problem to pop on corners of drawers,these are available on the high street,we have put flat plug protectors in every plug in his room. He can explore that room entirely on his own, when he is not in his pen area in our lounge we will watch him like a hawk!

It is ridiculous to expect parents with poor dexterity to gate every where, put plug protectors in every plug, fireguard gates that are a fiddle and huge, take up a huge space if you are in a wheelchair you would need to consider that. We will have a gate on our lounge entrance to stop little man getting out and about into the kitchen or any where else down stairs.

TV flat screen straps, available from all retail shops offering baby safety items.

We won't gate every room, we will put flat screen tv belts on our tv to stop him pulling that off. These attach at the wall bracket on the back of your tv and then fix to the wall.  

Ok so I love this stage in my son, as a Psychologist I enjoy the cognition that babies display at this age, I like that he mimics what I say, I told him he was being a cheeky little monkey today, he smiled and said "cheeky". Made me feel all warm inside. I love the fact he wants to read a book more than play with a plastic toy, when I bring his pile of books into him in the morning to read with him he reaches out to the pile. However with ever developing cognition comes a desire to explore and BOY IS IT EXHAUSTING haha. 

To all those that think work is strenuous,please! Try waking at 6am and straight into action, no cups of tea to wake up, no coming around from your sleep slowly or getting dressed straight away, no sitting still until the little darling goes to bed at night where by you try to catch up with household chores, my husband tries to paint, I try to shoot off a blog,walk dog,load dishwasher, hoover,put baby toys away. Mayhem indeed but would not change it for the world and I guess who in reality, at work, has a boss that smiles, giggles with them, wants a cuddle and enjoys being with you twenty four seven!?! My husband, son and dog mean the world to me, would not change a thing about it. 

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