It is a joy to witness the growth of your baby who is now a toddler and able to move around more and takes an interest in exploring the world! You may find yourself having to buy new furniture to take into account a different height and weight of your child, and his/her mobility. Here are eight considerations when buying furniture for your toddler.
Consideration #1 – Safety
This is the number one priority – a piece of furniture that turns out to be dangerous may have to be discarded as it is not always possible to make it safer. Safety includes no sharp edges, exposed splinters, loose or protruding screws and does not emit (or emit only low amounts of) volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ensuring the right height for your child is another safety consideration. Always check online and ask if there has been a product recall for the furniture.
Consideration #2 – Stability
Closely tied to safety, a piece of furniture has to be stable to prevent it from tipping over or breaking. Toddlers love to explore their surroundings by climbing and taking things and all furniture should be stable on its own or secured to the walls. If you are buying a bed, the bed should be sturdy enough to also bear the weight of a parent sitting on the edge of the bed to tuck the child in. If you are buying a high chair, make sure that it has a broad and stable base. Always check the product instruction or card which states the weight and age limit.
Consideration #3 – Guard rails and Safety Straps
For certain items that are at a height, having guardrails and safety straps are important. For instance, bunk beds should have guard rails (sturdy ones that don’t break) and high chairs should have safety straps. Similarly, remember to install safety gates that are suitable for toddlers; if using pressure fitted safety gates, be sure that it stays in position or it may otherwise fall on your toddler if he tries to pull/climb over it.
Consideration #4 – Ease of Use
This has to do with both the design of the furniture (whether easy to fold/unfold or install) and the space the furniture is to occupy. If the dining table area for your child is smaller than that needed for the high chair, it is unlikely that the high chair will be used for family dinners. Think through where each furniture is to be and ensure the piece you find fits the space allocated.
Consideration #5 – Adjustable
Given how fast your toddler will grow, you may want to buy furniture that can be adjusted to suit different height. However, many adjustable furniture are much more expensive and it may possibly be twice the price of a non-adjustable one. Think carefully in terms of cost and whether the manufacturer or distributor offer support for you to adjust their furniture.
Consideration #6 – Ease of Cleaning
It is quite likely that there will be stains, color marks or bits of leftover food in the furniture. Consider whether the design of the furniture makes it easy to clean the corners or remove the covers. Also consider the ease of cleaning the floor space under the furniture – a lot of dust can accumulate under furniture.
Consideration #7 – Ease of Keeping
Should you decide not to use a furniture or if the furniture is not meant for use always (like a play tent only for playdates), be sure it is easy to fold or collapse for storage.
Consideration #8 – Cost
The cost of decorating your child’s room can quickly add up especially if you include kids’ lighting, junior chair and table, floor mat and wall decoration. Have a budget and work within it. You also want to give a certain degree of ‘freedom’ to your child to decorate the furniture – she may decide to paste her princess stickers on the junior table and expecting a child to keep the furniture in the same condition as when bought is not reasonable. If you feel the furniture is too expensive to be ‘decorated’, you may opt for a cheaper (but safe) design.
As your toddler is becoming increasingly independent, you may want to bring your child along when shopping for furniture. You can see if your child is comfortable with the furniture or like the style. Before you spend money on it, consider the above and when in doubt, don’t be pressured by your child or the sales staff to part with your money!