You asked

What safety equipment do I really need for my baby?

While safety equipment for babies and children is important, it is critical that parents should be the first line of safety in the home. Safety equipment does not replace a parent's watchful eye or protective hand, but is designed to work in conjunction with safety procedures and routines that the parent controls. The following items are essential for baby safety:

Child car seats are required by law from the first day the child is born and needs to travel in a car.

Car seats categorised in different groups, each one designed for a particular stage in a child's development. The car seat you buy must be right for your child and it must fit properly in your car. Avoid buying second-hand car seats, since there is no indication of how well it was looked after by the previous owner. Always use the car seat in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and warnings.

Window locks are needed when a baby becomes old enough to move around independently. The safety locks should restrict the window's ability to open more than 6.5cm. Open windows can result in fatal falls for babies, even from a seemingly low height. Some window locks use a mechanism that is too complicated for most toddlers to operate, while other models use a universal key. The key has to be kept out of the baby's reach, but readily available to the parents.

Baby gates or stair guards will prevent your toddler from accessing stairways and dangerous rooms like the kitchen. These locking mechanisms are not fool-proof for children over the age of two years and adult supervision is still required to monitor the danger zones.

Fire guards are needed if your house has a fireplace or furnace. They prevent babies from accessing the fireplace and from throwing things into it. The ones with a curved top are best for stopping items from being pushed over the top. Fire guards should be full-size and mounted to the wall.

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are needed in all homes. You will need to buy a separate alarm for each hazard, since a smoke detector cannot monitor carbon monoxide levels. Some alarm units are specially designed to be combination units which can detect smoke and carbon monoxide. Each floor of your house should have a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm installed.

More questions

Considering the amount of time your baby will be spending in it, it is important that you buy a crib that is comfortable, safe and durable. When choosing a cot always make sure it has a CE mark, as this...
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A travel cot is the perfect accessory for the family that loves to travel, and will be an essential piece of equipment.
A Moses basket or crib can be a good choice for parents who want to share their room with their baby for the first few months, or who want a portable option in addition to a cot.
There are several types of cot mattress available, and which one you choose will depend on your budget, and your specific requirements.
There are many different types of bedding available and you don't really need much to keep your child comfortable – the choice over which type to use rests on personal preference and convenience for you.
Any push chair you buy in a store, online or second hand, must comply with standard safety regulations.
The terrain you walk on, your transport and storage needs and the comfort of the push chair are all important factors when choosing a push chair.
The three main types of pushchair have different suitability, depending on how where you plan on using them and what kind of transport you use.
There are a few different types of high chair and various accessories you can buy, depending on what your requirements are.

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