How to Babyproof Your Home
When you first bring your newborn home it is hard to imagine anything beyond the present moment. However, babies grow and change daily and in just a few short weeks that kicking newborn becomes a rolling infant, and then a crawling one. Making sure that you have systems in place to protect your baby once he starts to explore the world is one of the most important parts of parenting.
Babyproofing your home is a process that involves looking at life from the perspective of a tiny explorer with developing balance and an insatiable curiosity. By going from room to room with the eye of an infant, you can successfully protect your baby from the most common hazards while still encouraging growth and development.
IN THE NURSERY
While designing a room made just for a baby may seem like it would be baby-proof unto itself, sometimes parents get a little too caught up in the aesthetic aspect of a nursery and neglect some basic safety measures. However, the changes you need to make are usually minor. Make sure you have done all of the following:
- Anchor the dresser and changing table to the wall – every 24 minutes a child is injured by falling furniture or televisions.
- Remove blankets, bumpers, pillows and stuffed animals from the crib – they all increase the risk of SIDS.
- Add a rug or thick carpet to wood floors, which helps cushion falls as baby begins to explore.
- Find a safe toy box with either an open bin or a locking mechanism – babies can easily get their fingers trapped.
- Add finger pinch guards to door hinges – this is a good addition to any room of the house.
IN THE LIVING ROOM
Unlike the nursery, the living room is not inherently made for small people. Many decorative items and architectural details that make a living room nice actually present a hazard for small children. Be on the lookout for any of the following and make sure to babyproof them accordingly.
- Cords on blinds – either purchase protectors that contain the cords or swap them out for cordless.
- Precarious wall hangings – invest in heavy weight picture hooks to attach any art or photos to the wall. These are less likely to fail and send an item crashing down.
- Stray electric cords – these present a choking and shock hazard. Secure all cords with electrical tape or use a plastic holder mounted to the floor or wall.
- Open sockets – locate every electrical outlet in the area and place a protector in each hole, including open sockets on power strips. Hide plugs behind heavy furniture so baby cannot pull them out.
IN THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is the hub of many homes, and it is also one of the rooms where adults are most likely to be distracted when baby is around. Between cooking, cleaning and serving others, making sure that the major hazards of the kitchen are contained and off limits to baby is essential for peace of mind. Consider these common kitchen babyproofing strategies.
- Lock all cabinets and drawers – keeping small hands away from chemicals and glass bowls makes a lot of sense, but as baby gets bigger and needs to explore, leaving one “safe” cabinet with towels or plastic food containers open for exploration gives something to distract him from all the other fun stuff hidden in the room.
- Cover stove knobs – even baby-proof stoves can be easy for young toddlers to turn on. Simply invest in stove knob covers to avoid a potentially dangerous accident later on.
- Skid-proof rugs – as babies develop their balance they often get carried away and can easily trip or get their legs tangled. Keeping rugs anchored to the floor helps to alleviate some of this and to cushion a fall.
TIPS FOR THE REST OF THE HOME
While the nursery, living room and kitchen are probably the most frequented areas for babies, eventually your little one will be ready to branch out. So, use methods from Pottery Barn Kids such as outlet covering, cordless blinds, heavy picture hoods and cabinet locks throughout the home.
It is important to keep in mind that babyproofing also means containment. If baby can’t get somewhere, he can’t get hurt. Measures like baby gates, especially at both the top and bottom of stairways, and playpens can help you keep baby contained and safe. Finally, stay alert. As your baby grows, you will discover what sort of areas and potential hazards she specifically finds enticing. This allows you to babyproof more as you go.