In Montessori, we often talk about the prepared environment. At home, this goes well beyond having a calm and inspiring space with a well-planned and organized shelf. In the home, we aim to give our children the freedom to explore their world uninhibited. To make this idea a reality in your home it is imperative that you have a safe environment for your little one to discover. 

According to UNICEF most accidents to children happens at home, and children under 5 years old are at risk. The most common injuries are cuts, poisoning, choking, electric shocks, falls, drowning, and burns, many times with very serious and/or permanent injuries. These accidents are largely preventable and evidence-based solutions exist.

Here we will share with you many ways to make your home safe for your little explorer. This will allow for your child’s discovery to be independent and safe, letting you step back more and say ‘no’ less. 

Whole House & all Rooms:

  • Cover electrical outlets! Especially in Vietnam where most households do not have grounded electricity, which is considerably much more dangerous!
  • Hide cords so there are no dangling cords or wires, either to prevent your child from getting caught on or from pulling electronic devices down. 
  • Anchor furniture to the wall to prevent heavy furniture from tipping onto your child.
  • Don’t place heavy things atop of furniture that could be tipped or pulled down (speakers, appliances). Also, be aware of how low tablecloths hang-if your child can reach them and pull them, they may pull potentially dangerous items onto the floor as well. 
  • Ensure low drawers/cupboards and shelves have child-safe objects on/in them- or place locks on cabinets/drawers. 
  • Lock/bar windows and be aware of furniture placement to prevent your child from climbing and accessing windows.
  • Never leave babies unattended on raised furniture- changing tables, sofas, tables, beds (they may wiggle or roll-off).
  • Move furniture with sharp corners away from the space your child often explores, otherwise pad sharp corners.
  • Wrap blind or curtain cords on a high hook on the wall to prevent your child from getting caught on them as it can lead to strangulation.
  • Brace the TV to the wall to prevent it from tipping onto your child, it is also easier to hide TV cords when it is higher up on the wall.

In the Kitchen:

  • Keep knives out of reach-even if this means reorganizing your drawers and cupboards. If you have introduced a learning tower to your child, be aware of what counter-top items they are able to access. 
  • Reorganize cupboards if needed so all child-safe things are on bottom shelves and drawers, plastic containers, and measuring cups/spoons are great for exploring and learning, move breakable or unsafe things higher up out of their reach. 
  • Ensure cleaning supplies are out of reach or make sure all caps are screwed on tightly and have child-safe locks. 
  • Tie plastic bags in knots and keep them out of reach or away from your child- never let your child play with an open plastic bag to prevent suffocation.

In the Bathroom:

  • Keep the toilet lid down to prevent drowning- babies and small children are top-heavy and can easily fall in. 
  • Always empty tubs/buckets of water- never leave water sitting out as children can drown in very little water. 
  • Ensure cleaning supplies are out of reach or make sure all caps are screwed on tightly and have child-safe locks.
  • Store medicines up high in a cabinet not accessible by your child, use child-safe locks on cabinets and child-safe bottles.  
  • Never leave your child under five years unattended in the bath, and always give full supervision when your child is in the bathtub. 

In the Bedroom:

  • If using a floor bed, make sure your child’s room has: covered outlets, no exposed wires/chords, all furniture is safe and anchored to the wall, windows are locked or barred with no furniture for your child to climb and access windows. 
  • Keep pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals out of the crib or bed when your child is sleeping to prevent suffocation. 

Outside & on the Balcony:

  • If you have a swimming pool, make sure to have a fence and gate with a lock and never leave your child unsupervised around a pool
  • Keep the door to the balcony locked, install safety bars on the balcony if possible
  • Do not leave furniture near the balcony rail for your child to climb on. 
  • Never leave your child unattended on the balcony. 
  • Ensure bars on the balcony are narrow enough so your child’s head cannot fit through.

We hope this list has helped you in creating a more safe environment for your child. In addition, make sure to always know the phone numbers for emergencies and keep them posted in a visible place with your address and phone number written underneath (when calling for an ambulance, people are sometimes too distraught to remember their own basic information). The more prepared we are, the more safe and independent your child’s exploration will be. We at Goc Montessori hope you found this article useful and informative.

Written by,

Góc Montessori

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