Two baby hands touching an outlet that's made safe by a cover. This is to represent baby proofing your house.

12 baby-proofing must-dos

Even before Baby begins crawling around and putting his fingers where they don’t belong, it’s important to ensure his safety around the house by baby proofing it.

Tips for baby proofing your house or living space

It can be hard to predict which household items could harm Baby, so try taking a “crawling tour” to look for potential hazards. He will be out and moving around before long, and these 12 tips can help keep him safe as he explores the wilds of your living room.

  1. Bathroom
    While you know never to leave Baby unattended in the tub, you might not be prepared for other bathroom hazards such as scalding water, slippery surfaces, and faucet dangers. Cover your faucet head with a soft cover, set your water heater to 120 F or 49 C (this just means it’s the hottest the water can get – the bath water shouldn’t be nearly this hot, and should stay somewhere around 100 F or about 38 C – you can test the temperature with you elbow or inner wrist, just like when you’re checking to see if formula or reheated breast milk isn’t too hot), and lay down nonskid mats to prevent Baby from hurting himself. When Baby is young, it’s also important to remember to always keep a hand on him, so he doesn&;t slip.
  2. Cabinets
    These everyday items can cause Baby serious trouble – or what’s inside of them can. Make sure to purchase baby locks and move all hazardous substances to higher or locked cabinets, especially those in kitchens and bathrooms. Most cleaning products, even some marketed as more natural, can be a danger to Baby before he learns that cleaning products are some of the things that really shouldn’t go in his mouth, but most cleaning products, especially anything with bleach in it, are especially good bets for things that shouldn’t be anywhere Baby could possibly reach them.
  3. Cribs
    Before you know it, Baby will be able to pull himself up enough to grab at mobiles and even climb out of the crib. Move the crib to its lowest position and remove any objects he could use to climb when the time comes. The crib should also not be placed underneath shelving or other types of storage, windows with curtains or blind cords, or anything on the wall that could fall into the crib. It’s important to make sure cribs meet all current safety standards, and older, hand-me-down cribs may not meet current standards about things like the distance between slats, or including a drop-side, so it’s important to look up older models of crib, to make sure they haven’t been recalled or recommended against.
  4. Drawers
    Consider securing drawers that Baby could reach with drawer-locking-devices, and make sure any open drawers are closed when you are finished using them.
  5. Electrical cords and outlets
    All electrical devices can be harmful to young children, so secure all cords and move them away from your child’s reach to prevent chewing or giving him the chance to pull, and send appliances flying. Close outlets with safety plugs to prevent electrocution.
  6. Flooring
    For parents with rugs and tiles floors, secure rugs with non-skid backing to prevent slipping and repair any broken tiles to avoid injury.
  7. Gates
    These are essential to prevent babies from falling down stairs in homes with more than one floor. They can also be used to prevent your child from accessing certain rooms like offices or studies.
  8. Furniture
    All heavy furniture should be secured to prevent anything from falling. Have any old pieces of furniture repaired, and consider corner covers to prevent accidents with coffee tables or other sharp furniture. If it’s possible, move swivel-chairs and furniture with wheels out of Baby‘s reach. If that’s not possible, make sure they’re in a locked position. It’s also a good idea to take a close look at decorations – artwork, photos, or anything else that might be in a frame should be fully secured to the wall, and anything that hangs should be tucked up out of reach of Baby‘s little hands.
  9. Kitchen
    Kitchens are often full of potentially dangerous situations for babies and toddlers, especially as they get older and want to explore everything in sight. Make sure you secure the garbage can to avoid ingestion, and remove poisonous cleaners or secure them with a lock. It’s also a good idea to make sure all stove knobs are covered or removed, and to use the back burners rather than the front. You should also make sure the stove is secured so that it can’t be made to tip over.
  10. Windows
    These present one of the biggest hazards in most houses. Make sure you tie up drapery and blind cords to prevent strangulation, and install window guards because insect screens are not enough to prevent all accidents.
  11. Small objects
    Do a full sweep-through your home to make sure there are no small objects on the floor or anywhere Baby could reach, since these could pose a choking hazard. A good rule of thumb is that any object that can be passed through a toilet-paper tube counts as a small object. In particular the small, flat batteries that go in watches, hearing aids, and other devices, can be deadly. Other objects to take particular care to keep out of Baby‘s reach include batteries of all kinds, coins, keys, and magnets.
  12. Allergens
    If your child has a known severe allergy to a type of food or medication, it’s a good idea to do a final check to make sure that allergen is removed from your home as much as possible, and that if there is some form of it that’s needed in your home, it’s stored somewhere securely out of reach. Ingredient labels will generally let you know if a product has even trace amounts of an allergen, though for less common allergies, checking may require a call to the manufacturer in some cases. It’s also a good idea to let any family or friends who visit your home or spend time with Baby know about an allergy, so that they can be as vigilant as you about keeping allergens out of Baby‘s reach.

When you have a young baby or toddler, it’s also prudent to make sure, as much as you can, that the places you and Baby visit or spend a lot of time follow the same safety and baby-proofing standards as your home as much as possible. That doesn’t mean that friends and family whose homes don’t follow baby-proofing guidelines need to get cut out of your visiting routine, it just means that visits to these homes will be a little more distracted, since you’ll have to keep a little extra attention on Baby to make sure he doesn&;t find any trouble to get into.


Sources
  • Kyla Boyse. “Childproofing and Safety at Home.” Michigan Medicine. Regents of the University of Michigan, August 2009. Retrieved October 25 2017. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/safehome.htm.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Burn safety: Protect your child from burns.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, February 25 2017. Retrieved October 25 2017. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/child-safety/art-20044027.
  • “Childproofing Your Home.” HealthyChildren. American Academy of Pediatrics, November 21 2015. Retrieved October 25 2017. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Childproofing-Your-Home.aspx. 

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