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Guest Post: Why Childproofing Still Matters In The Smart Home Age

November 20, 2019

Parents all over the US are growing increasingly reliant on technology to keep their homes and children safe, as evidenced by the rise in smart home device usage. A recent survey reveals that there are currently 118 million smart speakers in homes all over the country, and these homes are likely to have other devices such as smart cameras so parents can keep a close eye on their little ones. While having tech in place can help to protect children and families, childproofing should still be a priority to prevent accidents in the home. Here’s what you need to know about babyproofing, and all the reasons why using tried-and-tested childproofing techniques still matter in the smart home age.

When should you start babyproofing?

Experts recommend that people should take active steps to babyproof weeks before the baby is born. In an interview with Today, pediatric nurse practitioner Meghann Wellard said that safety starts by choosing the right crib and making good choices about what to put in it. Wellard also said that by 6 months, babies tend to move and play on the floor more often, thus parents should ensure that no heavy objects will fall on them while they’re on the floor. Meanwhile, Jeff Baril, President of the International Association For Child Safety says that parents should take a baby’s view of their home when trying to spot potential hazards, and this means getting down on the floor and crawling around to see the things that a baby could be interested in.

Parents are also advised to anchor furniture to walls before babies reach 9 months as this is the stage wherein they start to pull themselves up in preparation for their first step. Heavy appliances such as TVs should also be out of reach or securely mounted on walls during this time to avoid accidents. Once basic babyproofing is done, you can now add smart gadgets to your babyproofing arsenal to further protect your little one from harm.

Essential to protect against falls and slips

Having a smart camera enables parents to monitor their children and caregivers from afar and it can be used as a way to gather evidence of abuse or maltreatment in the home. However, it cannot prevent accidents, such as slips and falls. Children are largely at risk of falls due to their innate curiosity and their growing need for independence. But babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable as they can fall while learning to walk, so parents must take active measures to keep young children out of harm’s way. Installing safety gates on stairs, keeping floors free of slipping or tripping hazards, and using window guards can keep kids safe and gives parents peace of mind while they’re out on an errand or busy at work. 

Vital for fire and burn prevention

Smoke detectors have evolved in such a way that they let people know if there’s a fire at home–even when they’re not home. Devices such as the Nest Labs Nest Protect and Roost Smart Battery send notifications to a smartphone in case of a threat, so homeowners can take action and save their property and loved ones immediately. But these devices are unable to stop a curious child from touching a stove, fiddling with electrical outlets, or playing with matches. Moreover, these smart smoke detectors cannot prevent a child from getting scalded or burned in the kitchen. 

Again, here’s where childproofing can save the day as simple methods such as keeping matches out of reach, using stove backburners when cooking, and removing stove knobs when they’re not in use can all help to prevent fires and burns. For extra safety, attach stove guards to the front of the gas stoves to keep kids from reaching pots and pans, and cover electrical outlets to prevent children from playing with them. 

Ensuring safety by combining old-school strategies with smart tech 

 Technology for the home allows us to monitor our loved ones and be notified in case of emergencies. But to prevent emergencies from taking place, proper childproofing should still be done to ensure the utmost safety of children. By all means, install a doorbell camera intercom system to prevent break-ins and potential crimes against loved ones, but don’t forget to get rid of fall and fire hazards inside the home. By combining smart tech with old-school childproofing methods, you can ensure the health and safety of your children, even when you’re away from home

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This guest blog is an original publication by Alicia Rennoll. Alicia is …