Babyproofing your home is something you can and should do before your baby starts to crawl and walk. You can then celebrate their first steps, and you don’t have to worry about what they will find! Your job is to prevent injury so take your time and do it right.
- Get down at “baby’s eye view” by crawling around on the floors of your house. Not only will you find plenty of areas you need to clean up (and perhaps some lost items!) you will be able to see exactly what your child could touch or explore that could be dangerous.
- Go room by room and ask yourself “what could potentially hurt my child in this room?”
- Keep a list for each room (number of outlets, locks or other areas of risk that need to be addressed).
- Secure furniture that could easily fall over if the baby is using it to pull up on (see furniture locks in shopping list).
- Secure cords, loose cords, reconfigure as needed in busy areas.
- Clear off breakable items from tables and bookcases. We put very fragile items in storage for a while; they can always come out later.
- Look at your window covering cords. Be sure the cords for all window treatments are secure up high and not hanging down low where a child could get into trouble.
Essential Baby proofing items:
- Outlet covers for every outlet at lower levels.
- Baby locks for all cabinets with any breakable or dangerous items or chemicals inside. Lock for a fireplace door. Note: It’s helpful to leave at least one cabinet that has no lock and is filled with baby safe items to play with (lightweight bowls, cups, wooden spoons to play with and have fun in the kitchen) This will reduce the child’s frustration if they have their own space.
- Furniture locks for large bookcases or other unstable pieces of furniture (they secure the furniture to the wall)
- Bumper pad to cover the edges of a hard edged coffee table or around fireplaces or hearth areas.
- Additional corner and edge cushions you can cut the length to fit for other hard edges around tables, stairs, etc.
- TV/DVD/VCR cover: this handy plastic cover keeps all of the buttons on your entertainment gear from being pushed repeatedly!
- Flat screen TV’s you should consider investing in a secure system to keep this from tipping over onto your child. We found a good one from Safety 1st:
- Stove Knob and door locks. Stoves can tip over.
- Baby gates: we invested in a very study lock gate at the top of our wooden staircase. We had another expandable gate for the base of the stairs that was easy to move around to other areas of the house.
- Pack n Play: a great safe place for your child to play while you are baby-proofing.
- Move all cleaning products and dangerous chemicals well out of a child’s reach indefinitely. Even hand sanitizers can be dangerous to a child if ingested.
- Consider switching to “green” cleaning products, there are some that are also non-toxic. Because active crawlers are exploring on hands and knees over your floors and carpets, it’s important to keep those areas especially clean. Our family moved to a non-toxic, green cleaning products for cleaning floors and carpet; it’s so nice to know that their little hands are not touching chemical-laden cleaning product residue. If we do need to use a harsh bleach or chemical product, we always make sure to do a water rinse after, before the child is back on there!
- Window Stoppers: Kids are curious and once they figure our windows can open, you need to take action. Consider adding window stopper locks and securing cords well.
Everyone’s safety needs vary by home, so please use this list as an initial guide. Other helpful resources: www.babiesrus.com www.onestepahead.com www.safety1st.com Babyproofing only takes us so far, we can do everything right and we still need to be aware that accidents happen that we did not expect. However, by doing a thorough safety check in your house you will feel more at ease as your little ones explore their new surroundings!