Your baby is almost mobile. Now is the time to babyproof your home. As scary and difficult babyproofing sounds, trust me, it is not. We will go through it step by step together.
1 Why babyproof your house?
The facts clearly state that more children are injured (often fatally) in their own homes more than in any other place. The best way to keep children from getting injured is to always be aware of what they are doing so that you can step in when necessary. However, we all know that this is not always possible, especially if you have more than one child in your care. So to keep your baby safe and save your sanity in the process, babyproof your home.
2 When to babyproof?
When babyproofing your home, it is very important to be proactive and start early. Don’t wait for example until your baby is crawling to put gates on the stairs. You can even start before your baby arrives. In fact, it’s advisable you do so for two reasons:
When your baby is here, you will get busy and sorry to say exhausted! There are days when a shower will seem like a luxury. So why not get this babyproofing off the list? One less thing to stress about when your baby is here.
Also, by doing so, you will have more time on hand instead of rushing things later. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once. You can start with the things that require effort. This way, you will have a strong base that you can add to it later.
It takes a while to adjust to change and build new habits. You put extra effort in installing locks on the hazardous cabinets at home only to find that your partner does not lock the cabinets after use. Whose fault is that? Nobody. It simply takes more than 21 days to build a new habit, including locking the cabinet after use. Read this article by James clear on how long does it actually takes to form a new habit (backed by science).
We can debate “If I can do it, why can’t he/ she do it?” but we will get nowhere. So, don’t wait, start early. Give yourself and everybody else at home the time to get used to the new system in place.
Note that babyproofing is not a one-time event, but a process. As your baby grows and develops, he will have access to new places and get himself into new situations. The gate you put at the top of the stairs for your 1-year-old may become his favorite climbing structure when he’s 2. That’s why babyproofing is a continuous exercise and it’s important that you examine it before your baby hits new milestones.
3 Where to babyproof?
To get started, consider your family’s lifestyle and your home layout. If you have a big house, you might not want to babyproof every room. Start with the rooms where your child spends his time like the nursery or the living room. As for the other rooms, you can simply lock them to prevent your child from entering. Keep in mind though that today you might be able to keep your child away from one room, but the older he gets, it might be more difficult.
4 How to babyproof your house?
Companies make babyproof items for the obvious (table corners, toilets, drawers, stairs, etc.), but in reality, babies get into anything they can reach. Everything in and around the home could be a baby hazard. The best tip I can give you is to learn to look at your home from your child’s perspective.
How? Simply enter a room, get down on your hands and knees, and crawl around. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s effective, trust me. This exercise will allow you to see potential dangers and hazards you haven’t been aware of. Look around. What’s within reach? What looks tempting? Where would you go if you could crawl, toddle, or walk?
5 Babyproofing Tips
Here’s how to babyproof the main rooms in your home to make them safe for babies and toddlers. Don’t forget to download the checklist.
The living areas
Your baby might be spending lots of time in this room. To help keep him safe, here are some tips:
- Anchor TV and heavy furniture to prevent tip overs. This is a huge babyproofing must.
- Cover exposed electrical outlets to prevent electrocution.
- Install window stops or guards to prevent your child falling from the window.
- Install baby gates at top and bottom of the stairs.
- Soften sharp furniture corners and edges.
- Close off the fireplace.
- Place poisonous plants out of reach.
- Put breakable items up and away. Store large glass vases and other breakable items high up, where your baby cannot reach them.
- Put photo frames up and away. Your baby would just love touching anything within his reach. So, he might have the tendency to drop a frame or knock it over. Other options would be replacing the photo glass frames with plastic ones or mounting them on the wall.
- Cover power strips.
- Cover exposed wires and cables.
- Retrofit/ replace window blind cords. They pose a strangulation risk.
- Move furniture away from windows to prevent falls.
- Lock doors to the outside.
- Use shelves for decorative items. Shelves are your best friend when you have a destructive baby. A house with plenty of shelving out of reach of babies is a safe house.
When it comes to baby proofing, your kitchen requires extra attention. However, putting kitchen dangers off limits isn’t as tricky as you’d think! Consider taking these precautions:
- Install a stove guard to prevent burns.
- Lock the oven door.
- Install stove knob covers.
- Remove small fridge magnets your baby could choke on or swallow.
- Close and lock dishwasher. They provide instant access to detergent, sharp knives, and breakable objects.
- Keep chemicals (cleaning supplies, medicine…) locked.
- Put a lid on trash. Put a lock, if needed.
- Use back burners and turn pot handles inward.
- Keep counter edge clear. In particular, hot beverages and sharp objects should always be placed in the center and well out of reach. Remember, toddlers are curious and they can find a way to get anything that interests them.
- Don’t use tablecloths or place mats. Your baby can pull them and anything on them down.
- Unplug small appliances and put them away.
- Lock sharp objects (knives).
- Store plastic bags and foil out of reach.
- Don’t allow electrical cords to dangle where your baby could tug on them.
Read the article Prevent burns: All you need to know.
A bathroom is a common place for accidents, with injuries due to falling in the shower or tub being the most frequent. Do the following:
- Keep toilet lid down. Consider installing a latch.
- Use a non-slip bath mat to prevent falls.
- Empty the bathtub after bath time is over to prevent accidental drowning.
- Lock medicine and supplements.
- Keep razors out of reach in the shower.
- Keep soap and shampoo out of reach.
- Place a nonslip mat on the floor next to the tub.
- Set your water heater under 120°F (49°C) to prevent burns.
- Get a spout cover for the bath faucet.
Read the article 12 Tips for bath and bathroom safety.
The nursery/ bedroom
Whether baby is sleeping with you or in the nursery, do the following to make sure the room is safe for your child:
- Keep baby crib free of pillows, bumpers, stuffed animals and blankets. There should be nothing in the crib except a tightly fitted sheet and your child.
- Place baby monitor and electrical cords away from the crib.
- Anchor heavy furniture to prevent tip over.
- Cover exposed electrical outlets.
- Install window stops or guards.
- Retrofit/ replace window blind cords.
- Keep the walls around the crib free of decoration.
- Unplug and store electrical appliances.
- Take mobile down as soon as baby becomes more mobile.
Read the article How to make baby changing safe and clean?
Around the house
Few more things to do around and outside the house:
- Safely store firearms. If possible, don’t keep firearms in your home. If you do keep firearms in your home, keep the unloaded gun and ammunition in separate locked cabinets.
- Babyproof door handles to protect your baby from door accidents.
- Put purses and briefcases out of reach. They might seem innocent, but they contain lots of potential hazards from medicines, toiletries…
- Install a fence around pool or hot tub. Install a pool alarm. Remember babyproofing doesn’t just stop at your front door.
- Put nonslip pads under the rugs to prevent slips.
- Ask older siblings to pick up their toys carefully after playing. Double check the area.
- Cover or block access to radiators and floor heaters.
6 Tidy up! It’s the most important babyproofing tip of all
When we embark on the mission of babyproofing our house, we tend to forget the most important task of all, tidying up! This is different than installing gates or window guards for example, as it’s not a one-time thing. It’s a way of living, but that can save your baby’s life. Here are a few tips to stay on top of organization and tidiness:
Keep an eye out for tiny objects that your baby could choke on
Pick up any coins, buttons, batteries, marbles, beads, paper clips, rings, bottle tops, marker caps, and other small objects off of all floors and surfaces. Don’t forget the low drawers or cupboards. Watch this slideshow on what you should know about swallowed objects.
Beware of batteries and especially button batteries
Did you know that button batteries are one of the most damaging and dangerous things your child could swallow? If ever ingested, these small disc-shaped batteries react with the saliva and gastric fluid , causing a deadly poisoning. Read all about their danger here.
Keep surfaces clear
The more clutter on your flat surfaces, the more your baby will be drawn to explore them.
7 In a Nutshell
It might seem as if everything in your home and around poses a potential threat to your baby. Don’t stress. You can do lots of babyproofing in one single day. As your baby grows, continue to be on the look-out for new hazards. Be alert when visiting new places. If your child is going to be spending a lot of time at her grandparents, you might consider asking them to do some childproofing too.
Finally, how you approach childproofing is really down to you as a parent. Some parents will go all out; others will just take care of the essentials. Our babyproofing checklist is a good starting point.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you did, please give it a like below and don’t forget to share it with family and friends. The safety of our children always comes first.