5 Things to Remember When Baby-proofing Your Home
By: Justin Havre
Babies start crawling between the ages of about 6-10 months. Once your baby is mobile, they will have access to a variety of objects that can cause harm. Baby-proofing the house is the best way to protect your child from household items and surfaces that can cause serious injury.
Stay One Step Ahead of Baby
Babies grow so quickly that it can be hard to keep up. First they roll, then they crawl, finally they start pulling themselves up on the furniture. You may not be with your baby when all of these milestones occur, so you’ll want to be sure your home is ready even before your baby becomes mobile.
Babyproof your house before your baby is able to move on their own. This ensures that your house will be ready when your baby can move independently, and it will also put you in the mindset of baby safety well in advance. By the time that your baby is able to crawl and walk, you’ll be fully ready.
Lay on the Floor for Some Perspective
Babies grab what they can and put everything in their mouths. Pennies, buttons, paper clips and other small objects are all dangerous for babies, and often these items can be found on the floor, under furniture and in corners.
To keep these things out of your child’s arm reach, try lying on the floor and looking at the world from your baby’s perspective. Lay in the places where your baby spends the most time and look at the world as your baby sees it. This is especially important when you’ve just bought a new place with the baby in mind and may not have as deep of an understanding of the nooks and crannies as you would in a home you’ve lived in for years. What do you see under the furniture? What’s in the corners? What can your baby grab from the floor?
It’s Not Just About What Your Baby Can Fit in His Mouth
Babyproofing involves protecting your baby from all dangers in the house, not just the chemicals under the sink. Knowing the full extent of the danger in your house can help you protect your baby more fully. Below are some of the other dangers that babies face in normal households:
- Sharp corners. Babies can be seriously injured by hitting their head on the corner of the coffee table and on other sharp, low corners in the house. Covering sharp corners with padding can help prevent accidents.
- Buttons and on/off switches. Toddlers like to turn knobs, turn on and off appliances and so on. For example, when your baby is old enough to reach the knobs on the oven, this could lead to a serious safety hazard. Covering the knobs that turn on accessible appliances is a good way to prevent this from happening.
- Hot water. Hot water scalds babies every year. To protect your baby from a serious or potentially fatal injury, keep your water heater turned to 120 degrees or lower, and consider installing a safety device on the bathtub knobs that will prevent your child from ever turning on the water.
Don’t Forget the Fireplace
Some parents assume that their children are safe from the fireplace if they close the glass doors, but children who touch the glass can suffer serious burns. The best way to protect your baby from a fireplace is install a baby gate that prevents the baby from accessing the hearth, or to avoid using the fireplace altogether. Parents who do use the fireplace must remember to keep matches, lighters and other accessories away from their children.
Babyproof at the Relative’s House
If your baby spends a lot of time with grandparents, aunts and uncles, or other relatives and friends, these homes must also be baby-proofed. This can be a less burdensome process if your child stays mainly in only one or two rooms of the house when they visit. Work with your relatives and loved ones to develop a baby-proofing plan to make the home safe when baby comes over!