1. Move everything possible up to a level inaccessible to small children (and remember those things that have dangling cables.)Pack away the valuables/ornaments you treasure until they’ve grown up.
2. Invest in some safety covers for electric sockets (you will scarcely credit what objects a curious toddler will experiment inserting into them). And remember to let hot electricals (irons, curling tongs etc)cool down out of reach.
3. Learn to put the lavatory seat cover down when not in use: this prevents toys, your mobile phone or TV remote or any other valuable objects being posted experimentally into the loo.
4. Cook on the back burners of your hob and practise turning the handles away from you. It seems awkward but you get used to it – and to cooking with a small person clinging on to one leg. Better to get them occupied away from the oven altogether with some saucepan and wooden spoon percussion.
5. Think about a safety lock for that cupboard-under-the-sink that contains a treasure trove of cleaning products, drain unblockers, washing powders and other deadly poisons, infinitely fascinating for a curious toddler.
6. Furniture feels like a ready-made a climbing frame to a small person who is practising their mobility. They will climb up, and they will fall off. Check what surfaces, sharp corners etc they may fall on to.
7. Some grandparents find stairgates an essential deterrent (they need to be fitted firmly and safely). Others find it worthwhile investing the time in teaching toddlers the lesson of crawling down backwards (feet first and facing the steps). This slows the descent and minimises the danger of falling down head first.
8. Ovens, radiators, cups of hot beverage all invite the toddler to explore, and can cause serious accidents. Besides researching guards and always placing hot drinks in the middle of the table (a habit you will perfect and continue to use even when the toddlers are grown up), grandparents can usefully reinforce the lesson of huffing the words “hot, hot” when the child approaches things of a dangerous temperature. They soon learn and will be telling you, “hot, hot, Grandma.”
9. Weird things that can injure children: grapes (swallowed whole – so, cut them into quarters); flatscreen televisions (make sure yours is securely attached to the wall); nappy sacks (can cause suffocation); electronic cigarettes (obviously, keep them out of reach), glass doors (affix stickers to let everyone they’re there), blind sash cords (keep your short and tied high to prevent strangulation). Royal Society for the Prevention on Accidents which informs you of 27 cases of toddlers injured by blind sash cords and also has advice on safety measures for other age groups.
10. It is a counsel of perfection to say “Don’t let them out of your sight”, because it’s almost impossible to do, but aim for it. Just stay with them and you’ll have a better chance of avoiding mishaps. Use cots and playpens when you have to leave them (to go to the loo or answer the door). Better to take them with you.