Toddlers like to get themselves into sticky situations.
For them it’s called exploring. For you it’s keeping you on your toes and a couple of heart stopping moments thrown in for good measure when they find they can climb the bookcase – their version of Mount Everest.
No one wants to wrap their little explorer in cotton wool. However, even the easiest going dads will come to a point when running over to stop their toddler from poking their fingers in sockets or pulling wires from places you thought were hidden, more tiring than that hour at the gym – or if you’re like our other halfs, running for the bus.
To stop those hairs from turning prematurely grey – we do like a silver fox but more in the later stages of life – there are a few measures you can take to baby-proof your home so you can supervise from that sofa when you need a well-deserved rest.
The coffee table
It may look like an innocent piece of furniture, but for a toddler, this could be an accident waiting to happen. In fact, any furniture that has hard sharp edges below knee-height are potentials for bangs on the head.
Taking it to the extreme: Banish any potentially harmful furniture to the kingdom of the stupidly expensive hire storage unit on the outskirts of town. Don’t let it return until your little one reaches five foot.
Sensibly safe: Save your pennies and your furniture by investing in cheap, widely available cushioned corner guards and edge protector strips.
Electrical sockets have as much appeal to little fingers as those chips on your plate have for us when we just order a salad. However we all know that wet, sticky digits and plug holes can be a potential nightmare.
Taking it to the extreme: Cavemen didn’t need electricity so why do we? Swap the fridge for a well dug hole in the garden and that TV for quiet nights by candlelight – it’s a great way to get all romantic too, right?
Sensibly safe: Invest in a set of plastic plug covers and slot them in to any sockets you’re not using.
Little adventurers will love the pullability and tangle potential of these loose wires, typically if they are attached to heavy lamps, kettles and irons.
Taking it to the extreme: Convert all your appliances to run on batteries or relocate to sunnier climes and invest in everything solar powered.
Sensibly safe: Turn off and unplug all electrical appliances when you are not using them except those that are meant to be permanently switched on - like the fridge.
Never run leads or cables under carpets or rugs – you won't be able to see if they become damaged- and keep an eye out for signs of loose wiring and faulty plugs or sockets such as scorch marks or flickering lights. Always replace worn, damaged or taped up leads and cables.
Stairs are an exciting part of the house for your budding Ranulph Fiennes who sees these as their biggest climbing challenge yet.
Taking it to the extreme: Employ a 24-hour guard to man the barriers at the top and bottom of your stairs, or start looking at bungalows for sale.
Sensibly safe: Just go for stair-gates. There are various styles on offer, including those which can be slotted into a space without the need for drilling any holes.
To little imaginations opening up those kitchen cupboards is like taking the first steps into Narnia, with colourful bottles of bleach, dishwasher tablets and sprays begging to be played with.
Taking it to the extreme: Arm your tot with gloves, an apron and goggles - it’s never too early to teach them about chemical reactions!
Sensibly safe: Store all those household substances in a cupboard far away from prying hands and invest in cupboard and draw locks to keep them out.
Fires and heaters
We all like to rave to Prodigy’s Firestarter but this topic is no dancing matter when it comes to your tot.
Taking it to the extreme: Relocate your family to an igloo in Greenland.
Sensibly safe: Where kids and fires are both present, fireguards are required by law. It’s also a good idea to keep a fire-extinguisher in the house. Fit and regularly test smoke alarms to keep you and your family safe.
• Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
• Child Accident Prevention Trust
• Directgov child safety site
• NHS Direct