Imagine you just learned how to crawl and all of the wondrous things your parents have laying around the house are about to become your buffet. You spot a piece of stale bread on the floor and Mommy’s sharp pencil. You now find loose change that fell out of Daddy’s pocket and your brother’s missing toy car wheel. You are in delight but in reality you are in danger. This is the mindset of most infants and toddlers who begin their exploration of life. A parent’s lovely home can now be their child’s booby trap if not baby proofed properly. That is why it is so important that we as parent’s understand the risks that are associated with not baby proofing the house properly. Here is a guide to help baby proof your house effectively and minimize the dangerous risks your baby may encounter during their exploration.
It is very important that you begin to change your own habits. You may be used to emptying the change out of your pockets on to the living room table or leaving an iron or radio with the cords dangling from a high place; however, now is the time to start changing your habits. You have to start realizing that your baby is no longer immobile and they are bound to get into everything that they can get their hands on. You have to start putting your loose change into jars or piggy banks and start wrapping those cords up and putting appliances away. It would be a tragedy if your little one pulls on one of those cords and the appliance falls on their head; or if your little one finds all of your loose change and decide to have a feast. Simple habit changes can help to benefit your child and help save their life.
Pay attention to what your baby is doing. You may have your house completely baby proofed, but no matter how hard you try you cannot 100% accident proof your home. Make sure the baby is in your sight at all times and try not to let your attention be diverted away from them for long intervals.
You can no longer leave out any cleaning products, medicines, electrical appliances or any other dangerous object. You have to start putting things away so that baby doesn’t get to them before you have the chance to.
Be careful about stress and stressful times of the day. The reason being is that if you are stressed out then you are more likely not to be aware of potential dangers for your baby. Try to calm down and focus so that your stress doesn’t place your baby into harms way.
Never ever leave your child alone in your home, in a room, in your car. If you do leave them alone then make sure that you have them in an enclosed area (i.e. playpen or crib) You can leave them alone too if they are sleeping. You should also be careful not to leave your baby alone with a toddler or preschooler because they may not know their own strength and they may end up hurting the baby.
It is very important that you have emergency numbers on hand in remote places. Placing safety stickers on the refrigerator or fire, police, and hospital numbers on or near the phone will come in handy if anything should happen to the baby at any given time.
Avoid putting clothing on the baby that can have the potential to strangle or harm the child. You should use flame-retardant clothing and make sure that pajama feet are not too floppy and that pants aren’t too long. You should also make sure that socks or slippers are not too slippery.
Making sure that you change your home in order to provide efficient safety to your baby is a very good start to officially baby proofing your home. You should pay close attention and try to change certain elements in your home. Here is a list of items you should try to baby proof:
1. Windows. Make sure that you don’t open windows that are low enough for baby to reach no more than six inches. This way the baby can’t try to crawl out of it or throw anything out. Also make sure that the window will not close and smash the baby’s fingers. You also want to make sure that blinds and cords associated with the draperies are tied up and are not close to the crib or playpen. You also want to make sure that they are not anywhere that the baby could reach and wrap around their neck. You can call 1-800-506-4636.
2. Electrical cords. Move them behind furniture or place them out of reach of baby. You want to avoid any potential risks of shock or strangling. You also don’t want baby to pull on a heavy item such as a lamp or a television and have it fall on them.
3. Electrical Outlets. You can always buy the little plastic covers for electrical outlets. These work great and baby’s little fingers can’t pull them out. You should also consider moving furniture in front of the outlets so the baby doesn’t have easy access to any of them.
4. Furniture that may be unstable. All chairs, tables, or other furniture that is unstable should be thrown out or far out of reach of baby. The last thing you want to happen to your 20-year-old chair is for it to fall on your little one. Put it away or throw it out.
5. Ashtrays need to be far out of baby’s reach. You don’t want your baby picking up a hot butt and risk being seriously burned by it, so it is best to keep them out of reach. The best option in this case would be smoking outdoors so that baby doesn’t inhale your second hand smoke.
6. Keep dresser drawers closed at all times. Babies love to pull on these things especially when they just learn how to walk or crawl. You don’t want a dresser drawer or anything on top of the dresser to fall on the baby so keep them close.
7. Loose knobs on furniture. If you have any furniture that has small removable pieces then it is a must that you secure or dispose of them. You definitely want to make sure that the pieces are not small enough for baby to choke on.
8. Radiators. You should make sure that the radiator is not in baby’s reach. If you must place a radiator on the floor then please make sure to put a secure barrier around it or put a radiator cover over it. Also be weary of grills, stoves, fireplaces and other hot surfaces. Keep baby far away from them or set up protective barriers to keep baby safely away.
9. Stairs are a very dangerous part of any home. However, you can’t get rid of them so the best thing to do is to put a gate up so that baby cannot fall down them. Make sure that the gate is secure.
10. Take table clothes off of the table. If the tablecloth is too long and baby is tall enough to tug on it then you risk having dishes, table designs and other belongings falling on the baby’s head. It is best to take them off of your table or place a very short tablecloth on the table so that the baby can’t reach.
11. Sharp edges on corners of tables and other furnishings. You should try to cover these areas with cushioned strips and corner guards. This way if the baby bumps into them then they will not be seriously injured, God willing.
12. Place the baby’s mattress in their crib at the lowest level. Many parents underestimate their infant and it is not long that they are jumping head first out of their crib. It is very important that you set the baby’s crib to the lowest level.
13. Try to keep your home clean. Clutter and messes on the floor will be a definite baby attraction. You don’t want the baby picking up something bacteria infested or small enough to choke off of so the best option is to keep messes and clutter to a bare minimum.
14. Breakable objects should be kept far out of baby’s reach. Glass and breakable plastics should not be where the baby can get them. You don’t want to risk having the baby break and object and then be seriously cut by it. Put them up.
Not only are hazardous areas of your house important to secure but it is also critical that you be aware of all hazardous objects too. Here is a list of things that you should watch out for and be sure to place them where baby can’t get them.
1. Sharp objects such as pencils, pens, knives, scissors, letter openers, razors and blades. Put these items up and don’t let the baby get to them.
2. Small objects that baby can swallow such as, marbles, coins, safety pins, bottle tops, and anything else that is small enough for baby to swallow.
3. Lead based objects such as pencils or paint.
4. Sewing materials such as, needles, knitting supplies, pins, scissors, and buttons.
5. Plastic bags
6. Flammable items such as lighters, matches, cigarette butts, and matchbooks.
7. Toys that are for older children. Doll shoes or accessories can be very hazardous for small babies not to mention small car toy parts. Have your older children put their toys away and keep them out of baby’s reach.
8. Batteries of all shapes and sizes. Small watch batteries can be easy for baby to swallow. Bigger batteries can be very dangerous. Keep them in a drawer and out of baby’s reach.
9. Cleaning materials have to be put away where baby won’t reach them. The best option is to get locks for the cabinets so the baby can’t get into them.
10. Glass or other breakables.
11. Light bulbs especially the ones that are in night-lights.
12. Jewelry especially rings, beads or other tiny stones that baby can choke on.
13. Mothballs or other bug poisons.
14. Shoe or nail polish. All of these items need to be kept in a high cabinet away from baby.
15. Perfume and other sprays.
16. Toy whistles and balloons that baby can choke on.
17. Hard foods like peanuts, popcorn, hard candy ect.
18. Guns and other weapons that you may have.
19. Alcoholic beverages or empty alcoholic containers.
20. Cords and strings from shoes or clothing. You want to be careful that the baby doesn’t even get into tape cassettes or other strings that can strangle them.
God willing, I hope that this guide will be of assistance to you and your baby. Please take precautions on making your home baby proof.