How to Baby Proof Your Home
Simple Tips to Baby Proof Your Home (Before it’s too late)
Many parents begin their baby-proofing efforts before their baby is even born. The electrical outlets and sockets are safely hidden and there isn’t a choking hazard left lying under the couch.
Then the baby comes and before you know it they are into everything that isn’t tethered down with chains. You realize your pre-baby baby-proofing efforts were sourced out of a grave inclination to underestimate your child.
When a baby begins to become mobile, which occurs long before they crawl, you have to be leery of everything. Even an infant being held by Grandma can steal an earring or pendant with hands as skilled as a pickpocket and end up with a choking hazard.
It is difficult to prepare everything for baby and depending on your child’s level of curiosity you may find that you have to go the extra mile.
Once you get the knack of having a baby that doesn’t remain in one place, you can learn how to baby proof and foresee danger before it happens. First, start with your home and get down on your hands and knees taking a tour of your home so you can see everything from her perspective.
You will be surprised at how many things you notice, from exposed bolts to forgotten outlets and electrical cords. Doorstops with plastic covers, unsecured carpets, and small bits and pieces of fluff are creeping in every corner.
Consider that your child will either try to put everything in their mouths or their mouths on everything that they cannot pick up and act accordingly.
Also notice that from a low crawling position, things up on tabletops, bookshelves and the like look curious and can easily become points of interest for a baby. After you go room by room on all fours, you can stand up and begin taking a comprehensive look at what comes next!
Baby Proofing Room by Room
Let’s start with the kitchen. Hot, hot and hotter. Your fridge and stove should be secured to the walls using L-brackets. Each year hundreds of children flip these large appliances over on top of them leading to serious and fatal injuries.
If you have a gas stove, covering the knobs is important so that your child doesn’t cause a gas leak. Obviously, locking up the cabinets and doors and keeping cleaning supplies in the highest cupboard locked and out of reach are necessary precautions to take when baby proofing.
Another word to the wise is to be careful of leaving buckets used for mopping lying around the house which can easily turn into drowning hazards. (Happens every year) Most parents hold their baby while they cook or serve dinner and for this reason, you should take precautions to make sure that all appliances remain unplugged and that you never cook in grease with a baby on your hip.
If you have to set up a playpen or use gates as a barricade then so be it. Scatter rugs in the kitchen can also lead to serious injuries and should be secured with non-slip backings! Also cover edges of cabinets, tables, and countertops to avoid bonks to the head.
The living room is probably a great place for your child to crawl and pull up. That being so, you might as well give up on the idea of a coffee table. Make sure that furniture is not placed near windows which can give them a leg up to falling out of a window.
The TV, DVD player and electrical components should also be up and out of reach, including the wires. Use wire tethers to secure all the wiring and use L brackets to hook large furniture to the walls so it won’t tip.
You can find inexpensive covers for TV, cable and DVD equipment which will ensure that pens and snacks aren’t placed inside and that small fingers aren’t pinched or injured.
Low lying outlet covers should be covered and there shouldn’t be any cords hanging around. The draperies and mini-blinds are also hazardous to a child and the strings should be secured with tie backs specifically designed to prevent strangulation.
If your living room is completely baby-proofed, then consider using baby gates to make it a safe zone for you to put down baby so they can play.
The bathroom houses the most potential risk. From the toilet to the bathtub, it is best to completely keep this room off-limits to a young child. Use a toilet seat lock and never leave appliances plugged in where they could be accidentally pulled into a water source.
It is also important to empty the bathtub after using it and place soft covers over the faucets to avoid head injuries. Obviously, non-slip stickers or coverings on the bottom of the tub are also essential. Perhaps one of the biggest dangers in the bathroom is the array of medications kept in there.
It is best to keep them in a locked cabinet that cannot be gotten into by a child. Each year, thousands of kids die from ingesting medications not intended for them and even vitamins can be lead to a fatal iron overdose.
The outlets in the bathroom should be GFCI certified so that they will fault off before electrocuting you or your child. Also, secure your glass sliding doors with slide bumpers so that a child cannot break the glass by pushing them too hard.
You may find that placing a chain lock up high on the exterior of the bathroom door is the best way to baby proof this room which has so many dangerous items. Even cosmetics can be hazardous to a baby.
Little Known Baby Proofing Tips & Hints
As you move through the other rooms, it is important to continue your worst-case scenario baby proofing. Some points to remember are that while baby gates can be your best friend, only installed; mounted gates should be used at the tops of stairs.
The tension gates are fine for other uses but are not safe for stairwells. One idea is to keep a spring tension gate in the trunk of your car so you have a quick way to make a barricade when you are on the road.
Two other things that can be kept in the car in case you need to do some quick baby proofing at a relative’s house or hotel are duct tape and pipe cleaners. They can do everything from lock doors and drawers to keep fingers from being pinched.
One hazard in your home is the door stops with the plastic caps. Thousands of children have choked on these and they should be removed or replaced if you have a baby in the home. Find one-piece door stops instead.
Your water heater also needs to be baby proofed. It should be set at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid scald burns to young children. Beyond that, the water in your faucet can easily cause 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree burns to your child’s sensitive skin.
If you cannot adjust the temperature consider installing an anti-scald device to ensure the water in your home is never too hot!
You also should never keep cleaning supplies in containers other than what they come in. If you routinely use milk jugs to store chemicals or cleaning products your child may not know the difference and will try to drink them.
By the time you notice, it can be too late. Realize that bleach even diluted can cause burning of the skin or nasal passages and should be kept up high and out of reach at all times.
A baby also does not recognize a gun from a toy. If you keep guns in the home make sure they are in a key-locked cabinet and stored unloaded at all times.
Another hazard many parents don’t realize is your purse. Children are notorious for loving to explore the inner wonderland of a woman’s purse. But what is in your purse and what is in Grandma’s.
Medications, cigarettes, small items, scissors, etc! Make sure your guests keep their belongings out of your child’s reach. The bottom line when it comes to baby-proofing your home is that you have to constantly remain flexible and watchful of what your baby is interested in.
From one day to the next, your child will develop and quick action may be required to rectify areas in your home that pose danger.
The one thing that a child should never be without is constant, responsible supervision and if you need to employ the use of baby monitors you should do so in order to make sure you always know what your baby is up to.