What should you be doing to make sure your nursery is both beautiful and safe?
We were lucky to speak with Carolyn Webster, author of the Number 1 Baby Product Guide who covers some basic points when it comes to setting up a nursery room.
Decorating and painting your new babies room is a fun and exciting time. But as well as making the room look amazing, it is even more important to ensure it is a safe and secure environment for your little one to sleep in and eventually play in.
Here are a few tips to help with setting up your nursery:
Nightlights and lamps should be kept away from blankets, curtains or anything that may catch on fire. Ensure you have a working smoke detector in, or near your child's room.
Make sure all cords are hidden (even taped) and unused power points should be blocked with plug protectors. Ensure the outer covering of power leads are not frayed or damaged and replace if necessary. Cables and leads should be positioned out of reach and away from an heat sources.
While they may look good, make sure your child's toy box doesn’t have a heavy, hinged lid that could trap your child. Look for a toy box that features a slow release hinge.
To help your baby get the best, safest night sleep possible the room temperature should be between 16 and 20 degrees. This can be monitored by a basic room thermometer.
Never put your baby to bed with a hot water bottle or electric blanket. If your baby gets too hot, they can be at risk of death.
When it comes to positioning the cot there are a few factors to consider. Never place a cot near a window where they could easily climb out or push against the window. Also make sure curtains and blind cords are out of arms reach. Don't put the cot near a radiator, heater or fire or in direct sunlight.
As beautiful as they may look in styled photographs, in reality, by the time your baby can get up on their hands and knees it is important not to have any hanging toys, decorations, blankets or doonas hanging from the cot. Basically anything hanging from the cot that can be pulled off isn’t safe for your baby.
When purchasing a cot new or second hand, ensure that it’s compliant and labelled with Australian Safety Standards. The correct gap is between 50 and 95 mm between the cot bars for maximum air flow. This also ensures your child's head and limbs do not become trapped between gaps.
Make sure that all screws, bolts and hardware, including the mattress support, are tight to prevent the cot from collapsing.
When fitting the cot mattress ensure you use only a mattress size recommended by the manufacturer. The mattress should be clean, firm and snug without any gaps. After assembling the cot, ensure there are no small parts or pieces that could lead to choking.
If you are borrowing or buying a cot second-hand it is important to thoroughly check the distance between each bar is correct, and that there are no footholds, cut-outs or ledges in the sides or near the end that could help your little one climb out. If you notice any signs of peeling paint make sure you strip and repaint the cot with a non-toxic paint. It is also important to use a new mattress if you are buying a second hand cot.
To reduce the risk of SIDS, put your little one to sleep on their back with a firm, flat mattress. It is important that pillows, doonas, soft toys and cot bumpers are not in, or anywhere near the cot. They may look great, but can be a suffocation risk if they fall on a baby’s head or they snuggle up against them.
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The Changing Table
Underneath your changing table put a carpet or non-skid rug (this should also be done beneath the cot). For extra safety it is a good idea to put the changing table against a wall. If your change table has wheels, always make sure there is a lockable mechanism to prevent the change table from rolling.
Always make sure you use the safety belt on the changing table. NEVER leave your child unattended on the changing table. Keeping this in mind, organize the nursery so that baby wipes, powder and any other toiletries you may need are nearby, just out of your babies reach. A handy accessory is a crib caddy which keeps everything organised and together.
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All the information above is our opinion only. You can visit Kidsafe or SIDS for more detailed information.