It’s never too early to prepare a safe home for your baby. Baby proofing takes longer and involves more than you think. Don’t wait for your child to start crawling to start thinking about baby safety.
The best way to start baby proofing is to get down on your baby’s level. Crawl around your house and see things the way an infant does. Look for enticing entrapments and consider how a baby might be entangled or pull something or fall or become trapped.
1. Keep Baby Safe from Furniture Tip Overs
Consider every piece of furniture in your home and how a baby might get hurt. Lock drawers so they can’t be used as a step stool or worse, so the furniture doesn’t tip over on top of your baby. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, (as reported in Consumer Reports in March 2018) a child is injured every 17 minutes by tipping furniture and every two weeks a child dies. Screw heavy furniture into studs in the wall with an angle bracket so it can be pulled down on top of baby. If you can’t find a stud, use hollow anchors.
2. Keep Baby Safe from Strangling
Electrical cords are tempting for toddlers, especially if they’re colorful. Keep cords hidden and fastened against the walls with cord holders. Keep light appliances unplugged. One tug on the iron cord could be tragic for your baby when the iron comes tumbling down.
Consider the blinds in your home. Never put your child’s crib or bed near window blinds or drapes. Both can be a choking risk. Tie all blind cords high out of reach, or cut the ends and attach breakaway safety tassels.
3. Keep Baby Safe from Poisoning
Household cleaners, laundry detergents, dish soap, and medicine can all look like Kool-Aid® and candy to a toddler. Installing safety latches keep little hands out of your cabinets and away from hazardous materials.
Never call medicine candy when trying to get it into your child. Dispose of old medications through a local drug take-back or by sealing them inside a bag with something your child won’t be tempted to eat, like kitty litter or coffee grounds.
While we’re talking about safety latches, consider small appliance cabinets, as well. Those appliances can be heavy or have sharp edges that can hurt if they’re dropped on your baby.
4. Baby Proofing Unsafe Areas In Your Home
Baby gates, installed correctly, keep babies out of areas you don’t want to baby proof. Install gates at the top and bottom of the stairs to keep baby safe on either side. Accordion-style gates can trap your child’s head. Choose a gate that securely attaches to the wall and won’t pinch small fingers.
Install childproof screens or window guards designed to prevent falls on windows. Never place your baby’s bed or other furniture against the window.
Baby proofing outdoor areas, particularly pools, ponds, hot tubs, and other standing water structures is extremely important. They should be surrounded by a 4-foot fence with a self-locking gate. Pool covers and alarms provide back-up protection. Don’t leave toys in the pool to tempt your child to reach for them. And keep your eyes on your child at all times while around water.
5. Keep Baby Safe from Electric Shock
Those little holes in the wall are so tempting for little ones. Cover all exposed electrical sockets with childproof covers made especially for baby proofing your home. They require two coordinated hands to remove. Little fingers can’t pry them out of the wall and they’re not small enough to pose as a choking hazard. Simple outlet covers screwed into place hide the holes from baby. Check out this article: electrical safety tips for your home for more information.
6. Baby Proofing the Bathroom
While most of us know how dangerous a pool is to a child, we may not realize the same level of danger lurks in the common bathroom.
It doesn’t take much water or time for a baby to drown. Secure toilet lids with a lid lock at all times. Never leave a young child in the bath alone.
Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees or less to prevent scalding.
A safety grip handle installed on the wall of your tub makes it easier for small children to get out without slipping.
A padded tub guard not only provides better comfort when washing your toddler, it prevents injury if your child slips.
No-slip adhesive shapes reduce slipping and provide safer footing.
Faucet/tap protectors keep hands off the taps and protect heads from hitting the faucet.
7. Baby Proofing the Bedroom
A crib with fixed rails or an immobilizer for drop rail cribs ensure your baby doesn’t fall out. You want to be sure baby’s head doesn’t fit through the slats by testing with a soda can. If the can fits, the slats are too wide. Keep soft items like bumpers, pillows, blankets, and stuffed toys out of the crib to eliminate suffocation hazards.
Diaper changing can be tricky with a squirming baby. Make sure you have everything you need ahead of time and keep baby buckled on the changing table. Never walk away from a baby on a changing table.
8. Keep the Whole Family Safe at Home
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are non-negotiable in terms of home safety. Smoke alarms need to be installed outside every bedroom and there should be at least one on every floor. Be sure to check batteries monthly.
Taking the extra time to install safety features provides peace of mind when you bring your baby home.
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If you have any further questions about baby proofing your home, or anything to do with child safety and wellbeing, be sure to leave a comment below and we will get back to you promptly. If you would like to discuss our midwifery services offered, or to see if a home birth is a good option for you please find our contact information here.