Baby proofing your home

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Preparing your house for the arrival of your baby can seem like a daunting task. You only need to crawl around on your hands and knees for a few minutes to see all the potential dangers that exist.  We cannot possibly protect our kids from every bump and bruise, despite our best efforts, but thoroughly baby proofing our house can greatly reduce the risk of serious injury. While your eagle-eyes are by far the best baby proofing you can do, don’t underestimate how tired you are likely to feel the first year and how quickly things can happen. What should you do before baby arrives and what can wait until they show signs they are ready to crawl? Here is a list of ideas to get you started.

Things to consider before your baby arrives

General

  • Have a working carbon monoxide detector
     
  • Ensure all fire detectors are operating
     
  • Stock your first aid kit
     
  • Have emergency numbers easily accessible
     
  • Remove all poisonous plants or keep them out of reach
     
  • Make sure small choking hazards are out of reach (you'd be surprised what babies can grab and put in their mouths - as a general rule, anything that can fit inside a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard!)

Baby room

  • Ensure your crib meets federal safety standards
     
  • Have a firm mattress that fits the frame  
     
  • Do not place crib in front of window, heat register, decorations, or anything that baby can grab 
     
  • Avoid bumper pads on crib
     
  • Do not leave toys, puffy blankets or pillows in the child’s crib (consider putting baby to sleep in a secure swaddle or sleep sack)
     
  • If using a change table, ensure it has raised edges and a safety strap (note - the safest place to change a baby is on the floor)
     
  • Consider a baby monitor, preferably with video, so you can check on them regularly but make sure the cord is secure and out of baby’s reach 

Bathroom

  • Have an anti-slip bath mat (do not use a bath seat to prop baby up)
     
  • Adjust thermostat to monitor hot water temperature, below 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.89 degrees Celsius), to avoid scalding 

Preparing for movement (on average between 6-10 months) 

Baby room

  • Ensure all large furniture pieces that can topple are bolted to the wall with furniture straps
     
  • Avoid placing furniture that a child can climb in front of a window or ledge
     
  • Do not trust that a screen will protect your child from a fall! If you do want to open the window, consider window stops or guards that restrict how far it can open (these apparatuses should be strong enough to prevent your toddler from removing but easy for you to remove in the event of a fire)
     
  • Keep baby toiletries out of reach, including baby wipes
     
  • Cover all electrical outlets that are not kid safe and remove all wires or appliances that plug in

Bathroom

  • Remove water as soon as bath is done
     
  • Ensure all vitamins, medications and other poisonous items are secure in medicine cabinet
     
  • Keep all makeup, razors, pins, perfume, mouthwash, nail polish and remover, scissors or other harmful objects out of reach
     
  • Keep the toilet seat down or latched (or keep the bathroom door shut)
     
  • Invest in a bathtub spout
     
  • Clean bath toys regularly with vinegar and warm water to avoid mildew and mold, especially inside squeeze toys

Kitchen

  • When you can, cook on the back burners with pot handles facing the back of stove
     
  • Secure oven door with a clamp
     
  • Put a latch on drawers containing knives or other sharp objects
     
  • Household cleaning items (including dishwasher tabs) should be placed out of reach
     
  • Unplug kitchen appliances that sit on the counter and don’t keep cords dangling
     
  • Be aware of food in the fridge or pantry that your child may have access to and place out of reach
     
  • Keep hot food and drink away from table/counter edges and refrain from holding while baby is in your arms
     
  • Avoid table cloths or runners that can be pulled down
     
  • Have a safe and sturdy highchair with a working safety belt, and if you transition to a booster seat when your baby is older, make sure it also has a working seat belt

Various other rooms

  • Remove small choking hazards (as a general rule, anything that can fit inside a toilet paper roll is a choking hazard)
     
  • Secure all large furniture pieces, like bookshelves and televisions, to the wall
     
  • Install baby gates to keep child away from hazardous areas
     
  • Cover all sharp corners with edge guards
     
  • Tie, bind or remove all dangling cords on window covers 
     
  • Tie up all electrical wires or keep out of reach
     
  • Remove lamps that can topple and secure all cords
     
  • Cover all electrical outlets that are not kid safe
     
  • Avoid placing breakable items within reach, including picture frames 
     
  • Use door stops to protect fingers
     
  • Use door knob covers to keep selected rooms off limits
     
  • Blow out the pilot light to your electrical fireplace or install a fireplace grill
     
  • Use child-resistant covers if you have accessible garbage cans
     
  • Safely store all plastic bags and balloons
     
  • Safely store batteries, matches and lighters
     
  • All guns and ammunition should be removed from the house or locked in a safe place

Don’t forget to check your backyard, garage and vehicle for safety hazards as well, including making sure your child safety door and window locks are on when driving!

Read this post for tips about toddler proofing your home.

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