The joy of watching your baby take its first steps is often immediately followed by the anxiety of realizing that it has access to a whole new world of dangers. Babyproofing your home is the best way to ease these fears and ensure that your little one has a safe new world to explore. By following a few helpful tips, you can easily babyproof your home and relax.
Think Like a Baby
Get down to your baby’s height by walking around on your knees and looking at everything from its perspective. You will be surprised at all of the shiny attractive dangers that exist in your home. Have your spouse do the same to make sure all bases are covered.
In the Kitchen
The kitchen is full of hazards, and warrants extra attention when babyproofing. Kitchen cabinets that are at baby’s eye level should always be locked with heavy duty cabinet locks. If your cabinet doors do not have handles, store cleaning supplies and other chemicals in a lockable storage cabinet. Remove the knobs to the stove or use knob guards to keep your child from turning on the stove. Turn pot handles in when cooking, and use door guards to keep your little one from opening the oven door.
Dishwashers give tots a wide selection of knives and other sharp implements, right at eye level. Dishwasher detergent is poisonous and can cause permanent damage if ingested. Keep the dishwasher closed and latched at all times.
New walkers have been known to eat pet food, so avoid leaving your pet’s bowl unattended. Stand next to your pet as it eats and remove the bowls immediately.
The best thing to do is to keep the bathroom door closed at all times to keep the baby out. Make sure all cabinet doors have adequate locks. Ensure that there are no hanging cords from hair appliances or shavers that it can pull down onto its head. Store medicines in high cabinets and cleaning products in locked boxes. Before placing your baby in the tub, put anti-slip mats and test the water temperature to prevent injuries. A spout cover will keep the baby from hitting its head on the bathtub spout.
Government regulations outlawed the use of drop-side cribs years ago, but there are still old models out there. If you are buying a used crib, make sure it has stationery sides. The slats in the crib should be no more than 2-3/8 inches (6 centimeters) apart. Babies love to practice their escape artistry, so be sure there are no large toys or pillows in the crib they can use to climb out.
While most people depend on plastic outlet covers to prevent shocks, kids can remove those covers and choke on them. Use sliding covers instead. Heavy wooden toy boxes with slam lids can pose a hazard for new walkers and can crush tiny fingers, so use open, soft-sided toy boxes instead.
Window blind cords are extremely dangerous. Hanging cords are attractive to tots and many have gotten these cords wrapped around their necks, so try cordless blinds or those with plastic wands instead.
In the Living Room
The living room can present a world of “fun” exploration for a curious baby. Not so fun, however, for parents who are trying to keep their child safe. Children love to dig in and eat dirt, so be careful with large houseplants. Anchor bookshelves to the wall, so your little one can’t pull them down. As a parent, you will want to maintain that relaxing vibe of your home before it turned into a playground by displaying your favorite picture frames, flower vases or candles.
However, keep your child safe by making sure these are far from its reach, as it might knock them over and get injured. Coffee tables often have sharp edges, so install corner bumpers to cushion these edges and install baby gates to keep your child from climbing the stairs.
In the Bedroom
Mom and Dad’s bedroom can be a fun place to play for an exploring baby. There are all kinds of shiny items and gadgets that light up like cable boxes, remote controls and consoles. Check your bedroom for hanging cords, loose wires or sharp objects. Babies can pull large comforters down on their heads and suffocate. Like every other room of the house, it pays to get down to their level and see what’s there from their vantage point. If at all possible, keep the bedroom door closed.
While most people fully trust the family dog or cat around the baby, accidents can happen. Teach babies not to pull your pet’s ears or tail and not to bother it while it’s sleeping or eating. Even a playful nip can injure a baby, so keep an eye out when playing with your pet. Spayed or neutered animals are often less aggressive, but any animal can bite if provoked.
The cat’s litter box is another source of concern when it comes to babyproofing your house. Children have been known to play in the cat’s litter box and “sample” the contents. Make sure the litter box is in an area out of reach to the baby.
Babyproof the Doors
Babies have been known to unlock the front door and go for walks around the neighborhood. These walks can take place at any time, even in the middle of the night when the whole family is asleep. Make sure your little one is unable to unlock the door and place childproof latches on them from the inside.
In the Car
Babyproofing doesn’t have to stop inside the house. Many babies are injured when their head or hands get caught in power windows. Lock the windows so that they can’t operate them, but avoid leaving your child alone in the car. If you are in the driver’s seat and want to raise or lower the window, have them raise their hands first to ensure little fingers don’t get crushed.
Making your home safe for baby is essential for the well-being of the entire family. By taking a few steps, you can give your child the secure environment it needs to explore.
Sandra Moncada is a loving and caring fiancée, daughter and sister, a hopeful Mum-to-be, movie enthusiast, book lover, and a huge fan of the ocean, who loves to write about home and lifestyle improvements. Connect with her on Twitter: @SandramoncadaOh and Facebook: Sandra Moncada.
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