A guide to preparing your home for a childThursday, 03 November 2011 10:14
If you have a new baby on the way you may be keen to get on with decorating the nursery, but before you call a painter, there are some other areas you may wish to think about.
Perhaps the first job after finding out you or your partner is pregnant is to assess whether you have enough room in your house to accommodate your growing family. Of course, having a child can be an expensive time in your life, while you may not wish to move house as this can be a stressful experience.
However, there are ways to create more rooms to accommodate your household. Why not speak with a loft conversion specialist? This could allow you to create a new bedroom upstairs for one of your older children, or a large and luxurious bathroom so that the previous wash room can be converted into a nursery.
Keep in mind that you should ensure there is space on any new stairwell for a child-proof gate so that no inquisitive little people are able to get up there unaccompanied. This is something you should also do at the top and bottom of your main staircase, as by installing this before your baby arrives means you do not have to worry about it later on.
It is basic safety issues like these that should be the main priority, ahead of deciding what colour you will paint the nursery. Vital jobs for you to carry out before you welcome home your new child include installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, along with a fire extinguisher. Also take the time to plan out an escape route in the event of a blaze.
Ensure child-proof locks are fitted on your cupboards and opt for something sturdier on any cabinets that contain sharp objects, medication or poisonous substances. Next, check out the furniture in the property and ensure any sharp edges or corners are padded out so that they will not cause an injury.
Cover all of your electrical outlets and secure any loose cords and wires to the wall or behind a shield so that they can't be pulled or chewed. Be sure that anything potentially dangerous - like a razor, kitchen knives and scissors - are placed out of reach of small hands and keep your breakables similarly stored so they are not at risk of being damaged.
Once you have sorted all of the safety basics, you can get on with the fun of planning your nursery.
Begin by choosing the colour scheme you would like and keep in mind that the more neutral it is, the easier it will be to adapt as your child grows. In some older properties, the walls may be covered with lead paint and if this is the case, it might be advisable to hire the services of a professional painter.
Lead-based paints can present a risk to the mental development of an unborn baby so an expectant mother should never tackle this job. If the paint in the nursery is peeling or flaking, you can ask a tradesperson to seal it so it does not present a threat, or you may wish to ask them to remove it and replace it with a water-based product.
Once you have chosen the decor, you might want to consider having wooden flooring fitted. This can be more hygienic than carpet as it is easier to clean and less likely to hold on to crumbs that can lead to bacteria. You can still create soft areas to sit with rugs, just remember to put an anti-slip mat beneath them.
If space is limited, you may like to call upon the services of a custom builder who could design a cot for you that features storage above or below it, helping you to get as much use as possible from the room you have. Another idea is to have the internal door replaced with one that features glass panels, so that you can check up on your baby whenever you need to, while still keeping pets and unwanted visitors out.
Now you can start thinking about furniture for your nursery. You don't have to go wild and buy every piece of equipment on the market - instead settle for the basics. As long as there is a sturdy cot, changing table and chest of drawers your baby will have much of what they need. You could also invest in a rocking chair to go in here, as the motion they create is very soothing for infants and could help you get a crying youngster back to sleep.
Start preparing now and before you know it your home will be ready to welcome your new arrival.