toddlers reaching for door
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Keeping your home safe for a toddler

So you’ve already baby-proofed, sure, but now that Baby is starting to toddle into toddler-hood, it’s time to build up those defenses that you’ll need to keep Baby and your home safe from each other now that they are a little bit less little. You may already have electric outlets covered and window-blind cords up and out of the way, but now that Baby is growing more and more mobile every day, those first precautions aren’t going to be quite enough.

One of the biggest part of toddler-proofing is putting yourself right into Baby’s tiny, skid-proof socks. Not literally, because the chances more than a few of your toes would fit into their socks aren’t good, but not totally figuratively, either – try putting yourself down on approximately their eye level and doing a tour around your home that way.

As you’re crawling around your living room, keep in mind that Baby is going to be figuring out the mechanics of this whole ‘walking’ deal for a while longer, and as they figure it out, there’s going to be a while where they are a little unsteady on their feet, and could reach out and grab onto anything at hand-level to steady themself. That means that while they are still in this period of learning to walk, everything grabbable at their level should be well-secured enough not to send them tumbling, or to pull anything down on top of them, if they make a grab for it.

A few things to watch out for

  • Keep walls from tumbling down: In case of a little mountain climber, big pieces of furniture like bookshelves and cabinets should be secured to walls, and so should bulky things on top of them, like TVs. If you live in an area where earthquakes are a concern, your furniture may already be set up this way.
  • Love is a closed door: At least, it is when it comes to your newly-mobile toddler who you’re trying to keep out of sticky situations. Unfortunately though, closing doors to danger-rooms won’t always do the trick for too long – Baby is smart, which means they are going to be figuring out things like doorknobs any week now. Doorknob covers exist to keep curious little hands from opening most types of doorknobs, and if you want a more DIY, or just more immediate answer, you can make your own either by putting socks over the doorknobs and securing them around the stem using rubber bands, or by wrapping them in taped-on cardboard. The purpose of doorknob covers is just to make them unwieldy and too slippery for Baby’s hands to get enough of a grip on to turn, so they don’t have to be too sophisticated.
  • Baby don’t need no education: Or does they You may already have any dangerous chemicals – things like prescription drugs and cleaning products – locked up and out of the way, but part of having kids is knowing that even though you can’t imagine how they could possibly do something – like climb onto the bathroom counter and disable the child-lock on the medicine cabinet – you’re half expecting them to do it anyway. There’s no chance Baby can reach that jug of bleach, but just in case they do, it’s a good idea to start labeling the things they should never, under any circumstance, eat in a way that they can recognize. If you start talking to them about it now, they may not understand exactly what you mean quite yet, but you’re setting them up to understand it later. The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s program to label hazardous chemicals with stickers featuring their ‘Mr. Yuk’ character is one option – you can send away for the stickers – but marking out, say, an ‘X’ in duct tape, or a stripe down the side in red tape can do about the same thing, as long as you tell Baby what it’s supposed to mean.
  • Water baby: Standing water, and by extension, drowning, isn’t generally a concern inside the home, except for supervised bathtimes. There’s one pretty big exception, though, and that’s the toilet. Toilet locks are reasonably cheap and easy to use though, and are a good idea right up until it’s time for Baby to start potty training.

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