Baby Proofing Your HomeTeresa Shaw |25, February 2008
Before your little one begins to crawl, it is important to baby proof your home. Babies and toddlers learn by touching and tasting everything in the world around them, so making your home safe from hazards is crucial.
First, get down to your baby's level. By crawling and lying on the floor, you can spot potential dangers before your child can, and correct them. Here is a room-by-room guide to baby proofing your home.
Baby Proofing Your Living Areas
In the living area, be sure that rugs are secure to avoid slipping hazards. Repair any loose tile or linoleum, or fraying carpet, so that they are not a hazard. Electrical cords should be tied together and secured so that baby cannot tug on them and pull down objects, or chew them. Also, be sure to use protective covers on all outlets so that little fingers (or other objects) cannot be inserted into them.
Look around at the furniture. Is it sturdy, or will it easily topple over if baby pulls up on it? Repair wobbly furniture or put it aside in a room baby does not enter. Also, be sure to clear the surfaces from any potentially hazardous items. Store small items or items that could be dangerous inside drawers or high enough that they are out of baby's reach. Keys, coins, rings, loose buttons, and other small items are potential choking hazards. Even your purse left out can seem like a fun toy for an infant or toddler to play with, and is full of potentially dangerous items. Keep purses and wallets out of baby's reach.
If you have pets, keep their toys out of your child's reach as well—not only can they be a choking hazard, but a health hazard as well. Dogs' saliva is full of germs and should be kept away from baby.
Never store children's toys or other items on or near the television—your baby may be tempted by them and may accidentally end up causing the TV to fall.
Baby Proofing Your Kitchen
In the kitchen, keep cabinet doors and drawers closed, and install locking mechanisms so that baby cannot open the cabinets or pull open the drawers. In addition, be sure to store any hazardous items, such as cleaning supplies or alcohol, in a cabinet high out of your child's reach. Only things that are safe for little ones—like plastic food storage containers, pots and pans, etc., should be stored in low cabinets. Keep small items up off the floor, including pet feeding dishes, and try to keep shoes put away and out of reach. Refrigerator magnets should be removed or moved up and out of reach.
Also, be sure to keep the dishwasher, oven, and other appliance doors closed.
Baby Proofing the Bathroom
Babies can drown in just a few inches of water, so it is important never to leave little ones alone in the bathroom. In the tub, be sure to use a thermometer to ensure accurate and safe bathwater temperature, and never leave baby alone. The National Safety Council recommends that baby's bathwater should be 100°F. Always check bathwater temperature with your wrist or elbow before putting a baby in to bathe. Keep shampoos, soaps, and razors off the bathtub ledge and out of reach.
In the bathroom, keep the lid to the toilet seat down and consider installing a locking mechanism. Make sure all electrical appliances are stored out of reach.
Baby Proofing Around the House
Use child safety gates at the top and bottom of all staircases, and be sure they are installed correctly. Avoid accordion-style safety gates with large openings that children can fit their heads through.
Drapery and blind cords pose a strangulation hazard, since babies can become tangled up in them. Tie them up so that they are out of baby's reach.
Vacuum regularly to pick up any loose items that may be on the floor. Remember that a baby can choke on any small item. A good rule of thumb: if the item will fit inside an empty toilet-paper roll cardboard, it can be a choking hazard. Put it away or toss it.Teresa Shaw is a professional editor and freelance writer with a degree in English and journalism. She writes about motherhood, travel, and cooking, among other topics, for a variety of print and online markets. She enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, two cats, and dog.
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