Watching your baby take their first steps is a precious and unforgettable experience. However, as your little one becomes more mobile, this joy and excitement can quickly turn to panic. To an exploring toddler, your beautiful home can become a dangerous obstacle course, full of sharp corners, steep stairs, and unstable furniture.
Traditionally, child-proofing solutions are designed with safety in mind, rather than style. However, it is possible to combine the two - here are some suggestions for creating a chic, child-friendly home.
As any parent knows, light coloured furnishings are dirt magnets - bad news for your pristine white sofa. Generally the bottom cushions of your sofa will see the worst of the damage - simply wrapping a bright throw around each cushion provides instant protection, and turns your blank canvas into a feature piece. However, you will forever be tucking them back in, especially if your toddler pulls on the furniture to stand up. If you tire of doing this, secure the throw in place by sewing the two ends together on the underside of the cushion. Be sure to leave the ends open, so you can slip the cover off for washing.
Green-fingered parents should take care with their house plants - some varieties are poisonous, and stones found in compost could pose a choking risk to children. If you simply must have greenery in your home, opt for child-friendly artificial plants. Some varieties look very realistic and are generally much safer - although you should always ensure that heavy pots can’t topple over.
Long curtains may look beautiful, but they often prove irresistible to small children. If you don’t want to replace your curtains entirely, you could always consider temporarily making them shorter. This can be done in a number of ways, depending on the curtain material and hanging method. Fabric glue, safety pins, a handful of small stitches or even raising the curtain pole higher can all safely lift the bottom of your curtains out of the reach of tiny hands - check online for the best method for your particular style of curtain.
It goes without saying that all cupboard and appliance doors should be safely latched shut. However, room doors can also pose a risk - hinges and small fingers are a disastrous combination. You can buy colourful doorstops or foam buffers to prevent accidents, but these aren’t particularly stylish. If you’d rather an unobtrusive way of securing your home, opt for a small, secure catch on the wall behind the door.
If your home has a staircase, you will need to install a baby gate. However, don’t resign yourself to a bleak metal contraption - many companies sell stylish varieties. A wooden gate is the most versatile option, as it can be painted to match your home’s colour scheme. Ensure that your chosen design is suitable - you should never compromise on safety for the sake of style.
This post was written exclusively for Oh So Amelia by Anne Haimes of AH Interiors. Anne is an interior designer with over 20 years’ experience, based in Oxfordshire.
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