When you have a sweet little newborn, you want to do everything to keep them snugly and safe. But don’t wait until they start crawling to baby proof your home. Even before they crawl, they can reach, grasp, and pull themselves up, which can lead to safety issues. Baby proofing your home sooner will help you be prepared for your curious child.
What does baby proofing actually entail? What may be obvious to your baby may not be to you. Below are the basics you should cover when baby proofing your home:
- Bathtub: Never leave your baby unattended in the bathtub, even for 10 seconds. Babies can drown in an inch of water. Also set your water heater at 120 Fahrenheit to prevent scalding, and test the temperature of the water with your elbow – if your elbow can handle the water easily, then it should be fine for your baby.
- Cabinets, drawers, and shelves: Remove all sharp, heavy, or dangerous items that are in cabinets, drawers, and shelves at your baby’s level. If you want, add safety latches to help prevent exploration.
- Cleaning products: Move all cleaning products, even soap, to high shelves where your baby cannot reach.
- Cribs: Keep toys and bumper pads out of the crib until your baby can roll or crawl. As soon as your baby starts trying to pull themselves up, lower the crib mattress so that they cannot climb out.
- Drapery and blind cords: Tie up any cords for your drapes and blinds to prevent a strangulation risk.
- Electrical cords: Cords may seem like great chewing toys to an infant. Move them out of reach to prevent chewing or pulling, which can cause the heavy object to fall.
- Electrical outlets: To prevent your baby from placing their fingers or objects in outlets, place safety covers over electrical outlets that your baby can access.
- Emergency numbers: Even with all of your baby proofing tasks, accidents can still happen. Keep a list of emergency numbers close at hand so that you can call the appropriate number if needed.
- Flooring: Learning to walk isn’t easy! Make sure your rugs have non-skid underpads so that your baby has less chance of tripping.
- Furniture: Secure unstable or freestanding wall units, bookcases, shelves, dressers, or tables that can topple over when children try to climb them.
- Knick knacks: As decorative as they may, knick knacks pose a danger to babies. Keep them out of reach so that your curios don’t get broken or so that your baby doesn’t cut themselves or choke on small pieces.
- Pet supplies: Place pet food to a spot where your child cannot get at it. Move cat litter to an area where your child won’t access it, and make sure any aquariums or terrariums are out of reach from your child.
- Sharp-edged tables: As babies learn to crawl, pull themselves up, and walk, their sweet head may hit any number of objects. Cover any sharp or pointed table and dresser edges with padded covers.
- Stairs: Stairs are difficult to navigate when you are little. Install approved and up-to-date gates to prevent your baby from tumbling down the stairs.
- Stove: If cooking when your baby is awake and moving around, use only the back burner so that your child cannot accidentally access a hot handle. Purchase covers for lower-access stove knobs. Place your baby in a secure location when opening a hot oven.
- Tablecloths: Use place mats instead of tablecloths to avoid babies pulling down the tablecloth – and everything that is on them.
- Toilets: What is a toilet? To a baby, it looks like a place to splash around, but they can inadvertently topple in. Add a toilet lock to prevent your child from opening the lid.
- Windows: Babies love to climb and explore, but you need to be extra cautious around your windows. Install window security latches or else open windows only three inches so that your baby cannot push out the screen and crawl through. Also, remove all furniture away from windows to prevent any potential climbing.
Baby proofing your home requires constant vigilance and a keen eye for issues. Apply some of the ABC’s of baby proofing to your home, and then let your baby explore their surroundings with confidence.