Now that you have received the wonderful news that you are expecting a little bundle of joy, it is time to start making arrangements for their arrival, including babyproofing your home and surroundings, so here are some babyproofing tips to help you do just that.
Although most parents worry about their children getting hurt outside of the home, according to research most accidents happen right inside the home, and research shows that a child between the ages of 1 and 4 is more likely to die from drowning, burns, fire, poisoning, choking or a fall in the home than violence from a stranger. Every year in excess of 2,500 children die and more than 2.5 million are injured as a result of something in their own home and surrounds, according to research done by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Babyproofing Tips For Before Your Infant Arrives
It is never too early to start babyproofing your home, and the sooner you start the better. By using this checklist of babyproofing tips as your guide you can make sure that your infant will be safe from the moment they arrive home.
Around The House
These babyproofing tips are important and cove many things that we never think of but which are vital to cover as they are responsible for thousands of accidents and deaths each year:
- Ensure that if you use gas or oil heat in the home, or have an attached garage, you install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors; check the batteries twice a year
- Install smoke detectors throughout your home and check them monthly to ensure that they are working; change the batteries regularly.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy and have it checked annually.
- Plan a fire escape route and ensure that everyone knows it.
- Do not place night-lights near curtains and bedding; use cool nightlights that do not get hot.
- Put together a first-aid kit especially for babies.
- Post a list of emergency numbers next to your telephone
- Poison control
- Childproof all cabinets that contain poisons, glass, and sharp objects by putting locks on them
- Check all painted surfaces in and around your home, and if the paint is flaking or peeling, have it removed or sealed by a professional
- Cover those sharp furniture edges with bumpers or padding
- Make sure that all rugs are non-slip by adding nonslip pads those that do not have nonslip backs
- Ensure that your water heater is set at a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius)
- Invest in an infant bathtub with slip-proof features
The nursery is the place where your infant will spend most of his or her time, and these babyproofing tips are things that you can easily check and which will give you peace of mind in the nursery:
- Ensure that it has a sturdy bottom and a wide, stable base
- Surfaces must be smooth with no sharp protrusions
- Legs must lock securely
- The mattress must be firm and fit snugly
- Avoid soft, fluffy bedding in a bassinet such as pillows, comforters, or sheepskin as they could allow baby to suffocate
- It must meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission standards issued in June 2011
- Make sure that the changing table is sturdy and has a safety strap
- A 2-inch guardrail on all four sides is a good idea
- One of the best babyproofing tips here is to ensure that there is a place to keep baby supplies within your reach but out of baby’s.
- Place a carpet or rug below the bassinet in case of a fall.
- Install window stops or window guards so that baby cannot open the window and possibly fall out
- Cut looped window blind cords and rather invest in safety tassels and inner cord stops
- Installing plates that slide closed over outlets is one of those babyproofing tips that one dare not ignore, as even though they may only be necessary once baby begins to crawl, it is too easy to forget later
Away From Home
There are also many important babyproofing tips that we should take heed of for outside our home, especially regarding transport:
- Purchase a car seat for infants; many hospitals will not let you take your infant home unless you have one installed
- Install it properly, in the middle of the back seat, in the rear-facing position
- Keep some clean towels in the car, which can be handy for many things, including rolling them up and using them to position baby or wedge under the car seat
- Window shades to block the sun are also a good idea
Now that you have taken heed of all the babyproofing tips to babyproof your home and it is ready for the arrival of your infant you can relax a bit, but just for a while, mind you. Before you know it your baby will be crawling and then walking, and that will present a completely new set of problems and headaches, as they will get into everything.
Time flies when you have a new baby in the house and you will find that you are kept busy most of the time, so even though the following babyproofing tips are only for when your baby is a bit older, if you have the time to sort out these problems now it would be better so that you need not worry later when you have baby there.
Get Down To Baby’s Level
One of the best babyproofing tips is to get down to baby’s level so that you can clearly see all the hazards that you would not normally see as a walking adult. Getting down on your hands and knees in every room in your house, and in the surrounding areas such as the front porch or garage will allow you to see many dangerous areas that you would otherwise miss.
Check for sharp corners that could potentially harm your baby, and look for any objects that could be pulled over and either remove or secure them. Remember that when baby begins to crawl they will also soon start to pull themselves up on various items of furniture in an attempt to stand and then walk, so make sure that anything that they may use will not cause them any harm.
The Toilet Paper Roll Rule
The toilet paper roll rule is one of those simple babyproofing tips that help to make us aware of things that we may not think about otherwise. Babies love to put anything and everything in their mouths, and thousands of babies and toddlers die every year from choking because of this.
The toilet paper roll rule means that any item that is small enough to fit through the cardboard tube of a toilet paper roll must be removed from the floor and lower areas that baby could reach. This includes items such as toys, knick-knacks, jewellery, small guest soaps, batteries, fridge magnets, medication, small tools and appliances.
Limit Access To Certain Areas
There are certain rooms that should be no-go areas for a baby, and this can be achieved by placing gates in the doorways, similar to the gates placed at the top of any stairs. A wall-mounted type of gate is better than a pressure-mount gate, as they will be able to loosen a pressure-mount gate once they start to pull on things in an attempt to stand. These areas could include the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, gym, crafts room, garage, terrace, and also an older sibling’s bedroom as children are notoriously messy and there could be small toys lying about.
Crawling toddlers cannot be watched every minute of the day, and because they are so curious at that age they will get into everything to see what it is. Installing child-guard latches on all drawers and cupboards that they can reach is one of those babyproofing tips that you dare not disregard, as this could lead to a very dangerous situation. Babies love exploring, and if your toddler pulls open a drawer that contains sharp objects such as knives or scissors, or a cupboard containing toxic cleaning chemicals, it could lead to a tragedy. Apart from installing latches, it is a good idea to keep all chemicals on higher shelves, just to be on the safe side.
Whilst paying heed to the above babyproofing tips is important and should be done, one area where parents usually err is that they assume that their child is too young to be taught the meaning of the word “no” so do not bother to try to teach their infants to stay away from potentially harmful situations.
According to a professional babyproofing specialist, “babyproofing is not just the installation of devices.” One of her top babyproofing tips is that parents need to discipline and use words such as “no touching,” “danger,” or something like “that’s Mommy’s property” whilst steering the little one away from the hazard.