If working from home is your new reality then there are many adjustments to be made especially if you have small children.
There is not just the challenge of finding a quiet space to work from where you can still see them but also to make sure that the kids are safe while you get on with things, even if the grandparents are allowed to lend a hand. We talked to Dreambaby® co-founder and international child safety expert and advocate Carolyn Ziegler about the best ways to childproof your home office or working space.
“There are many things to think about including how to make sure that that new cabinet you bought to store papers and samples doesn’t topple over and that the sharp corners on your desk don’t poke any one’s eyes out,” warns Carolyn.
“If you are lucky enough to a have a spare room at home to dedicate to a home office and you have a waddler or a toddler, the first thing I would do is buy a gate and block off the whole room. It’s as simple as that. There are many dangers in a home office including dangling cords from blinds, power outlets (kids love to post things including toy parts into outlets), drawers with scissors and even pens (kids can stab themselves with a ballpoint – believe me it happens), so to install a gate is really important to help stop them gaining access,” she says.
While you’re working you do need to keep an eye on them though unless you have help so an idea is to put them in a play pen where you can see them or block off their bedroom if its within sight with another gate to make sure they are confined in a safer space.
“In addition, go through the whole house including your office and block off all unused power point outlets with safety plugs and use cord wind-ups on your blinds or curtains to help stop the problem of dangling cords that can cause strangulation. Secure all heavy furniture to the wall – that’s a must. Children can be crushed from falling furniture. Nowadays furniture is designed with all the features at the front for aesthetic reasons, but the backs are very flimsy. It’s simple physics that they topple.
“Always help secure heavy furniture with anchors and make sure you install them correctly. You need to follow the instructions and always secure them to a solid part of the furniture and a solid part of the wall. All cupboards and drawers need to be kept closed and secured too with a variety of different locks and latches (different locking methods keeps kids on their toes – they learn fast) so this slows them down.
“If you don’t have a dedicated office but have carved out a space in a corner or are working from the dining room table then I suggest if you have a toddler you put them in a play pen. This will allow them to play in a safer environment and also keep them separated from older kids who may be playing with Lego or small puzzle parts.
“Make sure you have corner protectors on all the sharp corners of your table or desk – especially if you have children who are currently at table height. They could damage their eyes or foreheads by running into the table. Remember children learn and discover the world by experiencing things and unfortunately that can sometimes mean getting hold of a knife from the drawer, or unplugging the computer, or pulling on that tablecloth – so be aware at all times,” says Carolyn.
“I just want to say last but not least, that these are extraordinary times and that as parents you have especially big challenges. Because of that we want to support you as best we can. All our products are available on our website and on major retailer websites as well as independent baby shop sites. We have detailed instillation instructions on our packaging, and we have a lot of information on our website, not just about products but about childproofing in general. We are working with parenting publications and parenting influencers to help get as much childproofing information out there as possible – especially this month as it is baby safety month – so please keep an eye out. I promise you – we are in this together”.
Royale 3-in-1 Converta® Play Pen Gate $179.95 – converts from play pen to gate so you can create a sweet spot for your little one to play in while you’re working away.
Chelsea Auto-Close Pressure Mounted Gate $79.95 – assists in limiting access to your home office (optional extensions also available).
Mayfair Converta® 3-in-1 Play-Pen Gate $179.95 – creates a boundary between your workspace and the rest of your home.
2x Hinged Furniture Anchors. $14.95 – assists with securing heavy furniture to the wall. Great to use on bookcases, chest of drawers and display cabinets.
Outlet Plugs 12- Pack $3.95 – to help deter children from investigating unused power points.
Angle Locks 4 Pack $10.95 – great for helping keep little explorers out of filing cabinets.
General Purpose Latches $6.95 – again useful in helping to secure a variety of furniture items.
Drawer Catches 3 pack $6.95 – will help secure most drawers on metal runners – self-locking.
Ezy-Check® Dreambaby® Multi-Use Latch® $6.95. This extra-long, flexible latch helps to secure most cupboards and locks. The EZY-Check indicator is great for checking whether the latch is locked or unlocked at a glance.
Blind Cord Wind-Up 2 Pack $4.95 – assists in keeping dangling cords out of the reach of children.
Electrical Cord Shortener $5.00 – reduces the risk of children and other family members tripping on dangling appliances including your computer. It keeps cables and cords wound up, neatly organised and out of reach. A home office must-have!
Corner Protectors 4 Pack $4.95 – these help to take the sharp edges of your work desks and tables.
Visit the Dreambaby® website - www.dreambaby.com.au – for safety product suggestions and solutions or call (02) 9386 4000. Socials: @dreambabysafety #dreambabysafety