Friday, 1 February 2013

Household Safety

This week saw a scary milestone in the Beadzoid house.  With some trepidation we finally took down the stair gate that prevented Babyzoid getting out of the living room and into the kitchen.  And this got me thinking… Now that she can leave the room as she pleases, what potentially could go wrong?  Researching household hazards I tried to look at our home through the eyes of my 3 year old daughter, particularly in the kitchen where most of the dangers lie.  Aside from the obvious ‘don’t leave your child unattended next to gas hobs!’ scalding is a very real threat.  

A young child's skin is fifteen times thinner than an adult's, and you know how badly it hurts when you accidentally head-butt the kettle trying to get at the sugar canister behind (no? Just me, then). The recommendation is for a cordless kettle, or at least one with a very short cord.  My Dad also tells me that there are various types of instant hot water tap, which I will be looking into, as even if you don’t spill the boiling contents of the kettle onto your child (heaven forbid!) they can still brush against the outside and scald their little pinkies.

And this really worries me.  Increasingly, my daughter is spending more and more time in the kitchen as she likes to help mummy with the dinner, and on free afternoons bake cakes.  We only have one worktop upon which the said cordless kettle sits.  I mean, I hate our tiny excuse for a kitchen as it is, as when I was younger we had one you could turn cartwheels in.  In fact, as children that’s exactly what we would do.  Such fun! To quote Miranda Hart’s screen mum, Patricia Hodge, and former secondary school alumni of the one yours truly attended, dontcha know?

Ooooooh, went to the same school as an accomplished famous actress did we? 

Laughed gleefully as that very same school was bulldozed and replaced with one of these new-fangled academies, did we?

*whips out Heather Small on a stick*

Anyway, coming back from my Miranda-inspired hallucination, if I had that kitchen nowadays I’d proudly stick an island in the middle of it and hang Le Creuset just above, along with so many strings of garlic and onions that it would make even Raymond Blanc’s eyes water.  Mon dieu!   Then I would wander over to my fancy American fridge with the incorporated water cooler and imagine I was Nigella on one of her midnight snack raids, though I bet she no longer does that post-diet (looking fabulous, Nige!)

But for now I just need to focus on the health and safety of this little lady, as she indulges her junior Masterchef ambitions. 

So, any tips on how to under-5 proof any area of your house?  They would be most gratefully received, especially for one so clumsy and prone to daydreaming!

*sponsored, but totally true



  1. Exciting but also nerve-wrecking times! I remember doing a first aid course where they said most burns on babies are from mothers accidentally spilling their hot coffees on them so yes, hot water is definitely one to watch out for.

    Could you set stuff out on the table you eat at for her to reach and mix etc? We have our dinner table in our kitchen so it makes it easier and that's what I do. That way my son doesn't get on the worktops so often and is more at a safe distance from potential dangers.

    We never did do a lot of child-proofing and as my son has got older we have talked more about things to look out for, that are dangerous to touch, only for grown-ups etc...Of course there's always the risk that something might happen no matter how careful parents are. Sorry, I'm not very helpful am I??!!

    1. You're always helpful! :)

      Looks like you've had a similar approach to us. We've done one gate, and that's it. No fireplace to guard, no corner cushioners, no cupboard locks... Just lectures and crossed fingers. That sounds terrible - she's never left unattended or out of sight. Too paranoid for that. But yes, teaching danger and caution I think is a very good strategy!

      And yeah, we do the cake mixing at the table mostly, but we have started doing the odd activity at the worktop :) xx

  2. I agree with Mummy Zen, it is probably more important to explain the dangers to her. Make sure the kettle is as far back on the work surface and explain how dangerous it is. I have 2 girls who are now 6 and 9 and this seemed to work for them - but they were more interested in emptying the contents of the cupboards out !

    1. Thanks More 4 Mums. I think i like this approach too. As I wrote in my reply to Mummy Zen I've never gone in for the whole wrapping everything in cotton wool approach. I see why people do, but I figured if I did that where I could, it would still be inadequate. So I have always gone along the instill good practice and caution route. Glad I'm not alone - I find this comforting! :D

  3. i'm a believer in teaching them the dangers rather than the cotton wool approach as well, i tend to think they have to learn sometime and the sooner the better. even though we have more space in our kitchen i still do lots at dining room table with S particularly as he isn't tall enough without standing onchair so particularly with T around, means i don't have to worry about rushing to see what number 2 needs and leave him balancing and reaching on his own in the kitchen



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