In today’s busy world, it’s great to know that there are easy (and inexpensive) ways to keep your home and car environment baby friendly and stress free. These parenting hacks will help you do just that.
For the home
- A mobile baby is one of your greatest joys and greatest fears. One of the best ways to make sure your home environment is safe is to get down on your hands and knees, or lie on the floor and see what is in your eye-line. This way, you can identify any potential hazards.
- Alison Jacobson, of safetymom.com, warns that while parents often ensure their baby’s room is safe and secure, they may not think of other areas. “Everyone always looks around the nursery, but think about how much time your toddler spends in your room.Are they climbing in bed with you in the morning? Then they have access to all sorts of items on your nightstand.” This, she says, includes loose change and medication.
- Worried about sharp corners on tables? Cut a slit into an old tennis ball and jam the ball onto the corners of the table.
- A pool noodle is a great way to stop little fingers from being caught in doors. Simply cut to the size you want, slice down the side and slip onto the side of the door.
- Stop your little explorer from opening cupboard doors by attaching a hairband over the door handles.
- Plastic containers with lockable lids are a great way to store cleaning and laundry supplies. Plus, they keep your cupboards looking neat.
- Worried about those extension cords, multiple plugs or surge protectors? Drill holes in the side of a plastic container and place the plugs or surge protectors inside the container. Close up any gaps with duct tape.
- Alternatively, place duct tape securely over any unused plug points.
- Don’t want to fork out for a baby gate? A pet gate works just as well. Or even better, a few old tension rods (like you would use in your cupboard), one on top of the other secured in a doorway works wonders.
- Alison warns that heavy furniture and TVs falling on children are more common than you would think. Make sure that these are secure and won’t topple over when your little one is exploring her environment.
- Toy chests, kists and linen chests are great for storage but can be problematic for little finger. “Install a slow-closing hinge so that the top won’t fall. Additionally, drill holes in the back of the chest so the child will be able to breath if they ever get trapped inside,”t says Alison.
In the car
- Keep a plastic shower caddy in your car to store wet wipes, snacks, juice and water bottles.
- Keep a spare dummy in a small plastic container to keep it clean and free from germs.
- Install a baby mirror so you can easily see your baby while driving.
- Make sure that you follow the instructions correctly when installing the car seat. Babies should be in a rear-facing seat up to 14 to 18kg, or one year of age. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that babies should be in rear-facing seats up to the age of two.
- Make sure the straps of the car seat are positioned properly, says Alison. “In a five-point harness system the shoulder clip should be at the level of the child’s arm pit. The straps need to be snug enough to hold the baby properly. No more than one small pinky finger should be able to fit between the baby and the strap at the shoulder. For rear-facing seats, the belt should be at, or below, the child’s shoulders, for forward facing it should be at, or above, the child’s shoulders.”
- Alison also recommends that you place a neon coloured sticker on the side of the car seat with your child’s vital statistics (including any allergies, medicines and blood type) as well as emergency contact details.
- The same information should also be placed inside your baby’s nappy bag.
- Worried your small child may wander off in a shopping centre? Write your phone number on their wrist and cover it with a spray on liquid plaster.
Just for fun
- Spending time outside? Place a fitted cot sheet over the top of the camp cot to protect your baby from the sun and mosquitoes.
- Your toddler learning how to put on her shoes? Cut a sticker in half and place each side into the left and right shoes so that when the shoes are correctly together, the sticker is a whole picture.
- Toilet paper woes? Make a creative mark on the wall below the toilet paper roll to indicate how much paper she should be using.
- Crawling baby? Cut the bottom off a pair of thick sports socks and turn them into flexible knee pads to protect little knees.
- An inflatable pool makes a safe and fun play area for your baby.
- To stop your little one from chewing on the side of her cot when teething, wrap a piece of fleece around the top rail of the cot.
- If your little one is learning how to sit, but doesn’t quite have her balance, place a plastic laundry basket in the bath, with her and her toys in it. This way, she won’t slip or knock her head on the faucet. Plus, it’s a good way to keep her bath toys stored.
Kim Bell is a wife, mother of two teenagers and a lover of research and the way words flow and meld together. She has been in the media industry for over 20 years, and yet still learns more about life from her children everyday.