Don’t Wait to Baby Proof Your Home!
Don’t wait until your baby starts to crawl before you baby proof your home. At that point, it’s too late. You’ll be too busy chasing your baby around to start thinking about what needs to be done. The best time to baby proof your home is before you bring your baby home.
Remember, baby proofing your home does not mean you can leave your child unattended! Place your child in the safety of their crib, bouncy seat or another safe area if you need to step out of sight for a minute. This is also the time to start disciplining your child for touching things they shouldn’t by saying “No” or “Don’t Touch”.
To baby proof your home, it’s best to go room by room. Get down on the floor to ensure you are viewing the room the way your baby will view it. Read on for room-by-room tips for baby proofing your home.
Living Rooms and Family Rooms
- Mount your TV to the wall or anchor it to a heavy piece of low furniture that won’t tip over if your child climbs on it. Anchors are available at most baby stores and online retailers.
- Anchor bookcases to the wall, as they are very attractive for your baby to climb on. Keeping larger items on lower shelves will minimize the chance of your child pulling down a heavy item onto himself.
- Protect your child from injuries by placing corner covers around sharp edges like those found on coffee tables and end tables.
- A fireplace should have a fire screen in front of it, but ensure your child cannot pull it down. Keep all fireplace accessories and firewood out of your child’s reach.
- Cover electrical outlets and conceal or shorten long electrical cords. You will find many different varieties of outlet covers available where baby products are sold.
- Roll up blind cords or use cordless blinds. Blind cords are a significant strangulation hazard for your child.
- Remove breakable or pointy objects like glass knick-knacks until your child is old enough to understand they are off limits.
- Use latches on cabinet doors to prevent your child from removing items that could do them harm.
- Move cleaning supplies into a high cabinet. Even if you use a latch on a cabinet door, your child may learn how to use it (by watching you!) and be able to access what’s inside.
- Install stove knob covers to prevent your child from turning on your stove, and purchase a stove guard to prevent little fingers from getting burned.
- Install an oven lock to prevent your child from opening the oven door.
- Always turn pot handles in to prevent your child from pulling hot items down on themselves. Using the back burners on your stove is best.
The Laundry Room
- Keep all cleaners and laundry detergents out of reach. One of the biggest hazards for children is detergent ‘pods’. They are poisonous, present a choking hazard and can cause eye injuries and burns. If you must use them, keep them locked away in a high cabinet at all times.
- Do not leave washers or sinks filled with water. Children can topple over into the washer or sink and drown in just a small amount of water.
- Believe it or not, small children can crawl into washers and dryers. Install locks on the doors to prevent injuries, suffocation or drowning.
- It’s best to keep your laundry room door closed and install a childproof cover over the doorknob.
- Keep all cleaning supplies out of your child’s reach.
- Place a faucet cover over the faucet to prevent injuries.
- Make sure the thermostat on your hot water heater is set no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a non-slip bath mat or place non-slip ‘tattoos’ on the floor of the tub to prevent accidents. Place a mat on the floor in front of the tub to prevent slips when exiting the tub.
- Unplug hair dryers, curling irons and other heat producing appliances and store them when not in use to avoid burns and strangulation hazards.
- Keep sharp objects like nail scissors and razors up high and out of your child’s reach.
- Keep all medications and first aid supplies up high in a locked cabinet. This includes vitamins and herbal remedies, which may also be hazardous to your child.
- Do not keep anything plugged in near the bathtub to avoid electrocution hazards.
Drowning is a real concern in the bathroom.
- Never, ever leave your child unattended in the bathtub. Children can drown in just a few inches of water.
- Keep the toilet lid closed and install a toilet lock. A child who loses his balance and falls into the bowl headfirst can drown.
- As with the laundry room, It’s best to keep your bathroom door closed and install a childproof cover over the doorknob.
- Use the wall mount variety instead of pressure gates at the top of the stairs. Once your baby starts to pull herself up, she can injure herself if she pulls herself up on a pressure gate that comes loose and falls on her. Similarly, your child could push on the pressure gate, causing it to come loose and fall down the stairs.
- Hardware mounts are available so you don’t need to drill holes into your banisters.
- Don’t keep anything on the stairs as it presents a tripping hazard to your child. Also, your child may bend down to pick something up and topple down the stairs.
- Lock windows on all upstairs floors.
- Be sure to have a gate that opens ‘in’ (not over the stairs) at the top of the stairway.
Consider Hiring a Professional
Looking for an expert to baby proof your home? Visit the website for the International Association for Child Safety (IAFCS) to find a child safety or babyproofing expert in your area.
Share Your Thoughts With Us!
Do you have additional tips you’ve used to baby proof your home? Please add them in the comments below!