Tips for Creating a Safe Playroom
October 24, 2022
One of the joys in raising a child is seeing how much their life revolves around play. Adults are burdened with responsibilities and obligations, while children are full of boundless joy and energy. It’s said that play is the work of children, and those words ring true when you watch your own child learn and develop through play, acquiring social and problem solving skills that benefit them throughout their lifetime. If you are able to designate a play space in your home for your child, whether it’s in their bedroom or an entirely separate room, it can be very beneficial for them to have a room in which they are able to quietly (or loudly!) entertain themselves and enjoy independent play. A playroom creates a haven in which your child can be physically active, relax, develop their imagination, and contain the chaos. And, because babies and children are curious creatures who learn through exploration and pushing limits, making sure your little one’s playroom is free of hazards is the most important step in encouraging safe, independent play.
Choose safe, durable furniture
When picking out furniture for your child’s playroom, go with items that are non-toxic and high-quality, and preferably with curved edges. Products made from solid wood are more environmentally-friendly and safe for children than plastic is. Since young children love to put everything and anything into their mouths, taking the extra step to source items that are free of harmful chemicals can help put your mind at ease. Flimsy furniture may also break or buckle under your child’s weight if they’re climbing or standing on it, so opt for items made from natural wood when affordable to do so. The more durable the furniture is, the longer it will last.
Make sure all furniture is anchored
It’s no secret that children love to climb. If they can, they will, so it’s important to anchor all larger pieces of furniture to the wall. Although one might think that lightweight items pose a higher tip-over risk, the real danger lies in sturdy, heavy pieces of furniture. Even a heavy dresser can tip over if a child pulls out the drawers to climb. Because young children are highly driven to explore, and you can’t keep eyes on them every second of the day and night, anchoring the furniture in their playroom (and all rooms!) is an effective and inexpensive way to prevent a tip-over accident.
When using wall anchors, choose ones that are metal over plastic. Plastic can become brittle over time and break, causing the anchors to fail. For other ways to avoid tip-overs, install drawer stops or safety straps to prevent your child from pulling out drawers all the way. These are often locked with a magnet key, which should be kept in a safe place out of your child’s reach. If there is a TV in your child’s playroom, be sure to mount it to the wall or to the furniture with anti-tip devices.
Keep toys accessible
Storing toys in bins or boxes that are low enough for your little one to reach on their own is not only great for encouraging independent play, but also for preventing them from climbing. Few things are as enticing as a toy just out of reach, and you can always count on a child to figure out a way to get to it. Implementing a toy rotation and keeping only a few toys in a small basket or bin on the floor is a clever way to minimize clutter, reduce overstimulation, and keep your little one from getting bored. Simply choose a small selection of toys to be available to your child, then swap them out every week or every two weeks to refresh the excitement.
Motorized window coverings or shutters
Window blind cords pose a deadly risk to children, and can cause injury or death when a child gets entangled in them. Because little ones love looking out of windows, it’s not too difficult to see how tragic accidents like these might occur. Although these cords are completely innocuous to adults, a child could push a chair to a window in order to look out of it, become entangled in the blind cords, and fall off the chair. It’s a situation that’s harrowing to think about, but the reality is that no one can keep their eyes on their children 24/7. If your playroom has blinds on the windows, make the switch to shutters or motorized window coverings that are completely cordless.
Create a soft surface
Because babies and kids are prone to bumps and bruises, covering hardwood floors with a soft mat is a great way to make sure that your little one’s falls are well-padded. Using a thick, high-quality play mat can make the floor easier for your baby to tolerate for longer periods of floor play, and also function as a space for a toddler or child to lounge or play. Although many of the comfortable play mat options use foam, many parents are concerned about the toxicity of the materials used to make these foam mats. Because babies and children are especially susceptible to harmful chemicals, natural latex foam is a superior option to other foams on the market in both safety and comfort. Natural latex foam is made with a method that involves whipping plant latex, and doesn’t involve any toxic chemicals. The result is a super soft, uniquely springy, and perfectly safe material for littles.
Install a monitor
When you give your child uninterrupted time to play alone, you can almost see the creative gears in their brain turning. It helps them develop a strong sense of independence, and builds creativity and confidence. If your little one is highly distracted by your presence, leaving them to play alone for a few minutes or as long as they will tolerate can be highly beneficial. The only problem? Young children can find trouble within seconds and should always be supervised. By installing a baby monitor or a security camera in your child’s playroom, you can make sure that they’re safe and content during the short periods in which they’re alone.
About the Author: Alice
Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.