Most parents look forward to the day that their little one starts crawling. However, what they don’t look forward to is the anxiety and stress of wondering if their home is a safe place for their tot to explore. Baby-proofing your home is essential to the health and well-being of your new baby. Here are some of the ways you can help make your home safe for your little one from day one.
Think Like a Baby
One of the best ways to start baby-proofing your home is to see the home from your baby’s perspective. Get down on the floor and look around. Do you see anything that looks shiny or interesting? Anything that lights up, makes noise or is brightly colored is going to be irresistible to your little one, so start there first.
If you have heavy equipment like cable boxes or modems in your living room, consider moving them to high shelves and tying up the cords. Look for anything that a child can pull down onto their heads or anything that they may touch and burn or cut themselves on.
Contain Those Cords and Wires
Cords can cause terrible injuries, so start by crawling around on the floor and checking for any dangling cords. In the kitchen, this can be the toaster cord, a coffee pot or a slow cooker. In the living room, lamp cords and television wires can prove a dangerous hazard for the little one. Use plastic cables to bundle cords and get them out of the path of your crawling child. You may also consider tying cords to the back of electronics.
Cords from your window coverings can also prove dangerous. Babies can get their heads tangled up in these cords and be strangled. If you can replace your mini-blinds with tension shades or curtains, you can rest assured that your child will be safe from strangulation hazards. If you don’t want to replace your blinds, be sure that the cords are tied up and out of their reach.
Cover Your Outlets
Electrical outlets prove an especially dangerous hazard to a crawling tot. Buy shock guards and cover all outlets that are not in use. There are several types of shock guards that you can use. Some slide to open, allowing you easy access to plug in various appliances. Others are plastic covers that you simply remove when you want to use the outlet. Remember to search behind furniture to find any uncovered outlets as well.
Lock the Doors and Cabinets
Babies are hurt and killed each year when they get into cabinets and consume poisonous products. If you have cabinets with handles, install slide locks that will prevent your little one from opening them. If you have the type of cabinet doors that don’t have handles, move all cleaning products to a locked cabinet that the child can’t access. In addition, falling pots, glass dishes and appliances can injure a crawling tot, so remove these items if you can’t lock the cabinet. Be sure to use doorstops and door holders to protect those little fingers from getting slammed in doors and cabinets. When it comes to the trash, be sure to keep trash in inaccessible cupboards or use cans that contains child-resistant covers or locks.
Protect the Stairs
Little ones who start crawling are not going to confine themselves to one space in your home. They will explore near stairs as well. Preventing falls is critical at this stage. Install baby gates at the tops and bottoms of stairs to keep them from taking a tumble. Remove everything from the stairs to keep them from tripping and falling. You can also use these gates to keep them out of rooms that are not fully baby proofed.
Check the Bathrooms
The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms of the house for a crawling little one. There are dangerous chemicals, standing water and even sharp objects. Babies can fall into the toilet and drown, so be sure to keep toilet lids down and install a toilet lock to prevent the lid from being lifted accidentally. They can also drown if there is standing water in the bathtub. Medicine cabinets contain a host of drugs that can harm babies, so the bathroom should always be off limits to crawling little ones.
Place razors, nail clippers and other sharp utensils in a locked cabinet or out of reach and keep all cosmetics and medications in a secured location. Treat all supplements and vitamins, whether they are stored in your bathroom or kitchen, as if they were prescriptions and be sure they are locked up or well out of reach. It is difficult to fully baby-proof the bathroom, so the best measure is to lock the door using hook-and-eye locks high on the outside of the door or by placing a child-proof cover over the doorknob when it is not in use.
In the Nursery:
The nursery is another critical room that parents should pay attention to when baby-proofing.
Your child’s crib may have a bar that is low enough that he can climb out. Be sure to raise this bar to make sure that he won’t be able to scale over the side. Remove heavy or fluffy blankets, pillows or stuffed animals that little ones can pull over their heads from inside their crib. Avoid using crib bumpers and drop-side cribs. When a baby is able to stand or pull themselves up, be sure that the mattress is in the lowest position and any mobiles or hanging toys are well beyond their reach.
Secure all dressers to the wall so your little one can’t pull it over onto themselves and move any heavy items that can topple over pushed as far back as possible. In addition, use corner guards for sharp-edged furniture that may cut or poke your baby as they crawl or begin to reach out when trying to learn to balance and walk.
Baby Monitors and Night Lights
When it comes to baby monitors and nightlights, be sure that power cords are at least three feet away from your baby’s crib to avoid possible strangulation hazards. Never place your baby monitors inside or on the crib as their exploring hands may hit or even turn off the monitor.
Finally, inspect all toys and make sure there are no small choking hazards.
Thoroughly vacuum the floors and make sure there are no tiny buttons or other small items that can choke your crawling child.
Crawling babies need space to explore. Baby-proof your home today and give him a safe space to grow.