Once upon a time, you spent your days and nights in a continuum of Feed, Diaper Change, Sleep and Repeat. Now your baby is on the move, and life takes on a whole new meaning! It’s a wonderful time, watching your baby explore, seeing what he can do, and delighting in the new sensations and experiences available to him. However, it also takes parenting to the next level with the importance of baby proofing your home! Items you never considered are potential hazards and rooms you thought were lovely now pose risks. Never fear – we’ve got your Baby Proofing 101 so you and your baby can enjoy your home – safely!
- Think about your whole house: Do you have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home? Have you covered all outlets — yes, even the ones you don’t think he can access? Do you have gates at the top and bottom of all stairs? Other safety measures include door knob covers, toilet locks, cabinet locks or safety latches so your little one can’t access rooms or cabinets he shouldn’t. Nonskid pads for rugs are also great so that neither your baby nor anyone who might be holding your baby slips.
- In the Kitchen: Most families spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and this is a great room for your baby to have things he can play with like Tupperware, pots and pans, spatulas and other things that make fun toys. However, there are plenty of non-play items that can be dangerous for your baby. Be sure to cover your stove knobs so little fingers can’t turn them. Think about where you keep cleaning supplies and other toxic items and ensure they are locked or moved. Even simple things like refrigerator magnets can be dangerous if your baby puts them in his mouth. Another area people sometimes forget is table cloths and runners – if your little one can grab it, he probably will and a pulled table cloth will bring scalding hot food and liquids crashing down. Another area parents sometimes forget is cords to small appliances. If you have a slow cooker, coffee maker or toaster oven plugged in on the island, your baby can potentially reach the cord. Keep all cords and appliances way above baby’s reach!
- In the Bathroom: This is one room where your child should never be left alone. Be sure all toilet lids are closed or latched. Use cabinet locks so that vitamins pills, ointments, medicines and cleaning supplies are not accessible – or store these items in a higher cabinet. A little one should never be left alone in a tub, even for a second, so be sure you’re there for every moment of bath time. Speaking of bath time, check your hot water heater to ensure water temps are safe. You want to set it at 120 degrees or lower to eliminate any scald risk for your baby. (Learn more about bathtime safety.)
- Who would have thought? Once you become a parent, you realize there are so many things you never would have considered. Some of those items include:
- Blinds and curtains: The cords on these can be strangling hazards; opt for cordless ones or else ensure the cords are attached to mounting brackets and stay – high out of reach. On that note, keep Baby’s crib away from windows.
- House plants: If your baby can put something in his mouth, he will! Be sure any houseplants are nontoxic. It’s just not worth the risk.
- Sharp edges: The corners of tables, steps and fireplaces can all be dangerous if your baby bumps or toddler toddles into one of these. Cover any corners with padding or corner guards.
- Computer and phone chargers: In this day and age, we are always charging something; any electrical cord is a safety hazard so keep them up high and out of reach.
- Heavy Objects: In this case, you want to be aware of what your little one could pull down or knock over, especially as he starts to pull up and start cruising. Bolt bookshelves to the wall, secure or gate off heavy items like TVs or lamps. Meghann Wellard, a pediatric nurse practitioner says that new parents should “lay on the floor and look from their [your child’s] point of view.” (Peters & Migala, 2017).
Baby proofing sounds like it should be easy, but as a parent, you learn that your children will constantly surprise you! Whether this was a crash course or a light refresher for you, walk away and take another look around your home. As actress Mayim Bialik said on parenting, “I came to parenting the way most of us do – knowing nothing and trying to learn everything.” (Bongiorno, n.d.).
The Bump Editors. (2017, September). Baby Proofing Check List. Retrieved from https://www.thebump.com/a/checklist-babyproofing-part-1
Bongiorno, K. (n.d.). 40 Best Parenting Quotes of All Time. Retrieved from https://www.momtastic.com/parenting/541137-40-amazing-quotes-parenthood/
Hartshorn, Jessica. (2015, June 11). Babyproofing your Home from Top to Bottom. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/baby/safety/babyproofing/babyproofing-your-home-from-top-to-bottom/
Quick Tips: Baby Proofing your Home. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/te7335
Peters, T. and Migala, J. (2017, April 12). How to Baby Proof your House: 13 Proofing Tips and Products. Retrieved from https://www.today.com/parents/how-babyproof-your-home-it-s-not-hard-it-sounds-t109555