New Baby? New Ideas for Baby-Proofing
The best time to begin baby-proofing is while you are pregnant rather than frantically running around securing furniture and installing gates when your child begins crawling and potential danger is at hand. Start off on the right foot-from a child's point of view. Here's how:
- You must get down on your hands and knees to look at the world from your child's perspective. The first thing you will begin to notice are all of the items she can pull down onto herself. Once your little one begins crawling, that table cloth could look like a blanket and she certainly doesn't know the difference between table linens that have hot food or coffee on them and blankets that seem warm and cuddly. This is the time to remove all unnecessary objects from easy-to-reach tables and counters.
- While you are on your hands and knees look for drawers that can be easily opened and shelves or dressers that could be toppled. Fasten them with safety straps, because your bookshelf or TV unit looks like a jungle gym to a toddler. And if you store your little one's toys, books or favorite DVDs there, she sees you taking those things down and will want to do the same.
- Consider finger guards for the doors, which prevent a door from closing on your child's fingers. It only takes a split-second for this to happen. These are easy to install on doorframes.
Securing the Next Level
If you are still crawling around down there you are really beginning to see the world from your child's angle. It may have seemed ridiculous at first, but no doubt this new view is enlightening you. Keep in mind that small items can be just as problematic as big ones. Here are some things to consider:
- Do you see that wastebasket across the room? What do you think is in there? How about the one in the bathroom where you throw away your razors and other sharp objects? You don't want your little one rummaging around in there, so lock each trashcan safely away under a cabinet.
- While you're at it, add some locks and latches on drawers and cabinets. Move sharp items like razors and nail clippers to the locked medicine cabinet. If you are in the kitchen, lock the drawers with knives and other sharp objects.
- Also add a lock to the cabinet where you store household cleaners. While you're here, dispose of anything without a label. And don't transfer anything from one type of bottle to another, as you need those labels in case of accidental ingestion.
Explore Some More
Let's continue the tour of your house. How do those stairs look to you? Of course gates are a must (make sure they're fastened to two flat surfaces). As your child gets older and is mastering the staircase, don't let her go down the stairs unless you are there monitoring her and are within reach. Here are some other things to secure:
- Secure your play area. Shelving units need to be fastened to the walls. And large containers for toys need to be secured so that your little one doesn't tumble in and injure herself.
- All toys must be age appropriate and free of choking hazards. If a baby is playing in the same room as a toddler, the toddler's toys must be kept out of your baby's reach. The same is true for toddlers who are sharing a playroom with an older child. You are kidding yourself if you think those inappropriate toys and gear are going to remain in the box. I know from personal experience that you have to keep an eye on everything!
- Beware of kiddie capers in the kitchen. As your child starts crawling, she creeps closer to potential trouble here. Keep her away from the stove and stovetop. Make it a habit to use the back burners and turn the handles so they are out of reach of your little one's hands. And don't think that the dishwasher is safe once the knives and forks are removed. A dishwasher is full of spikes and is just as dangerous empty as it is when full, so keep the door closed securely.