Most grandparents look forward to the day when their own children feel comfortable leaving little ones in their parents’ care. Of course, you want to ensure your grandchild’s safety while they’re with you, and you’ll undoubtedly get lots of input and advice from their parents!
Having raised children yourself, taking care of an infant or toddler is nothing you haven’t done before. But, times change, and some of the tried and true practices of childcare 30 years ago have been updated a bit.
Let’s review the basic guidelines you know well, and some you may not have thought of, especially if it’s been awhile since you had little ones in your home or car.
Baby and Child Safety Considerations Throughout Your Home
- Most people think to install a gate at the top of the stairs to keep toddlers from tumbling down, but kids like to climb so it’s best to put a gate at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Minimize choking hazards like hearing aid batteries, jewelry, loose change and refrigerator magnets.
- Make sure your furniture is tip proof, especially large TVs and bookcases. Pad the sharp corners and edges of furniture.
- Never leave your grandchild alone in a highchair, or in an infant seat on a kitchen counter or tabletop.
- And always be present when your grandchild is around your pet.
Drop-side cribs like the one you may have used with your own children are no longer considered safe and they’re not even manufactured anymore. Check with the child’s parents about the type of crib they use at home and be sure to have a similar model at your house that meets today’s safety standards.
Install childproof locks on floor level cabinets and move cleaning products – especially pod-type dishwasher detergent – out of reach. Make sure that any appliance or window blind cords are wrapped and securely stowed behind the appliance or blind. Also consider using the back burners of your stove, keeping the handles of pans turned in, and making sure knives and other sharp kitchen tools are out of reach.
All medications – prescription and over-the-counter alike – should be stored in a locked cabinet, out of sight. Never leave a little one in the tub alone. Bring everything you’ll need into the bathroom before running the tap so you’re ready to go, and not tempted to run out for even a second.
Keep garage doors locked, and make sure that your garage door opener has an automatic reverse function that kicks in when the door hits any type of object unexpectedly.
Be sure to keep fertilizers, weed killer, and other chemicals locked away when kids are around. The same goes for sharp garden tools that could cause injury.
Safety on the Go
Of all the things you’ll buy for your grandchild over the years, none is more important than a car seat. You may want to buy a car seat that you can keep in your car, and you should consider having it professionally installed. Can’t find someone to help? Your local police department may have a community officer who can install the seat for you.
If your grandchild has a bicycle or trike, make sure they also have a helmet to protect themselves in the inevitable event of a fall.
New Rules for Nap Time
Years ago, babies were put to bed on their tummies, surrounded by toys, and kept warm by lots of blankets. Now, to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), doctors say babies should always sleep on their backs – face up – with little else in the crib with them.
Food Safety for Little Ones
Food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise, so if your adult child has provided you with feeding instructions, be sure to follow every word. And unless you have the green light from mom and dad to feed solid foods, wait until they say it’s okay.