How to Baby Proof Your Home: An Overview
Baby proofing is an almost endless task. As your infant begins to gain some movement, you might find that any object within grabbing distance will find its way into your little one's mouth (lint, Christmas tree needles, leaves tracked inside on shoes, etc.). If it is small and you see it on the ground, it is bound to end up in your little one's mouth. As your baby acquires more movement skills, it becomes more and more important that you baby proof your home.
This article discusses many things that you can do for baby proofing your home. For starters, it may be helpful to get down on your hands and knees and "look through the eyes of your baby." Look around for things you think may be of interest to your curious little creature.
Staying one step ahead of your infant at all times is crucial. Let's break the baby proofing down room by room to make this daunting task a bit easier for you and safer for your little explorer:
Baby Proofing All Rooms
Things to do in general around the house:
- Install outlet covers in all electrical outlets.
- If you have outlets in constant use, make sure to use outlet covers to prevent cords from being pulled out and exposing the outlet.
- For outlets that are frequently used, install sliding outlet plates. These have sliding panels that cover the outlet as soon as an item is unplugged.
- For outlets that are rarely used, install outlet plugs that are specifically designed to be difficult for small hands to remove, large enough to be difficult to swallow, and have air holes that comply with pacifier anti-choking regulations. Inevitably, these plugs tend to be small and enticing for the curious young folk -- be selective when choosing these plugs.
- Install and/or inspect smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure to change the batteries regularly.
- Make sure toys, furniture, and walls are finished with lead-free paint.
- Use corner and table edge cushions to pad sharp edges of tables, especially if your little one is just starting to cruise or walk. They are not yet steady on their feet, making every edge a potential disaster.
- Household plants should be moved out of children's reach -- keep in mind that poinsettias, used as decoration during the holidays, are actually poisonous.
- Cut the cords on all drapes and blinds (so that they do not reach the floor) and attach safety tassels to the ends. Keep continuous looping drapery cords anchored to the floor and keep the cords tight.
- Install childproof latches on all cabinets and drawers containing dangerous items (i.e., sharp objects, heavy items, small pieces, toxic products, etc.).
- Place small and fragile items up high.
- Put childproof handle covers on rooms that you do not want your baby venturing into, as well as doors that lead to the outside. The last thing you need is your neighbor calling you, saying that your baby has found his way over to their house.
- Use childproofing window guards (these prevent windows from opening more than a couple of inches) on second story and higher windows.
- Install baby safety gates at the top and bottom of stairways. Pressure mounted or tension rod-type baby gates are not recommended for the top of the stairs, as they can be pushed over given enough strength. This will prevent unnecessary tumbles. At the same time, once your baby is old enough to scooch, teach him to go backwards down the stairs on his tummy -- this will also help prevent tumbles. This will also ease the nerves when visiting homes that have not been baby proofed.